What is a Broker?

We’ll dive into what an apartment broker does and exactly how they can help you find your dream apartment.

A broker helps ease the pain of finding your ideal rental

We all have busy lives – sometimes so busy that they don’t allow us the amount of time we need for things like apartment hunting. That’s where an apartment broker comes into play. A broker is a professional that you can hire to handle that process for you.

This is especially helpful in rental markets that are highly competitive. To find the perfect apartment in places like Los Angeles and New York City is quite an undertaking. Brokers are trained to find rentals that closest match your ideal location, price range and amenities you’re looking for.

Can anyone use a broker?

You might have the notion that brokers are only useful for certain renting situations. Maybe you think they can only be hired if you’re looking for a luxury, $3,000+ per month apartment. That’s a misconception.

Real estate brokers are hired professionals. As such, you have the option to hire one at your discretion. While some of the primary markets for rental brokers are in places where inventory is scarce and rates are high, you can take advantage of one anytime your situation requires it.

For example, if you find yourself short on time to track down landlords or you’re looking for an apartment with highly specific amenities or features, you may want to consider hiring a broker.

Brokers can help you find a home from a distance

We don’t always have the luxury of apartment hunting in person. If you need to find an apartment in a city you don’t live in and don’t have the time or access to search for rentals, a broker can help.

Typically, they’ll compile a list of potential rentals that you can narrow down to a shortlist. You can then visit those rentals in person and make your final decision. Or if you can’t attend any showings in person, you can rely solely on a broker to find your next home.

They can also prevent you from making a mistake in your choice of neighborhood. You might find an apartment you like, but your research may not give you information on the area. A broker can help you gain essential insight into the dynamics of any given suburb or neighborhood.

Are there any cons to using a broker?

Using a broker to find your next rental probably sounds fantastic. You get your dream home and don’t have to do any work. Why would anyone in their right mind choose to do it on their own? Well, there are some cons to apartment hunting with a broker.

Brokers will require that you pay a fee for their services, which can vary depending on location. But a couple of common charges are a full month of rent or between 12 and 15 percent of the annual rental rate.

You’re also at the mercy of the style ideals of the broker. If that idea makes you nervous or you have very specific, hard-to-identify taste, you may want to do your own apartment hunting.

How do you hire a broker?

If you’ve decided you’d like to hire a broker, you may be at a loss about how to actually find one. A quick Google search will probably reveal a laundry list of potential brokers. You could always take your chance with a highly-rated broker from the internet, but there are other ways to make sure you hire the right broker.

One of the best ways to find a broker that you know you can trust is to ask for reviews from friends or family members. If you know anyone who has rented recently, check to see if they used a broker. If they had a positive experience, you can get connected to a quality broker that way.

When hiring a broker, you should be sure that your communication style aligns with theirs. If you’re mostly reachable by text message and you have a broker leaving multiple voicemails throughout the day, you’ll have a hard time ever finding a rental.

Be cautious of brokers that ask you to sign an exclusive agreement to work with them. When purchasing residential real estate, this is a fairly common practice. But when renting, it can be detrimental. You want to keep your options completely open in terms of area and apartments available for you to view. Working exclusively with one broker could limit those options.


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