Most renters attempt the do-it-yourself method of looking for a rental property. While there are some benefits to this method, such as getting better acquainted with local areas, a huge time commitment is required. Most do-it-yourself rental seekers soon find out that searching the rental advertisements or more predominately, online listings and having to set up appointments to view your choices with the respective landlords is a daunting task.
Finding a rental property on your own, especially in a competitive market like the GTA is not a straight forward venture, but there are advantages to using a real estate professional to help you find a rental.
The process of using a registered real estate salesperson to find a rental is similar to that for buying a home. In fact, you could look at it as a practice run for when the time comes that you decide it is time to become a first time homeowner.
You’ll be asked to sign a representation agreement that commits you to working with the brokerage for a specified length of time. By doing so, you’ll benefit from the same protections available to home buyers and sellers (for example, their education and knowledge of the real estate sector and the area you are considering; professional standards that emphasize fairness, honesty and integrity; and insurance that can protect your deposit for the rental).
Commissions for the services of a real estate professional in a rental situation are typically paid by the landlord. The downside is that because the landlord is paying the commission, there may be less negotiation room on the rent.
Once the working arrangement is formalized, it’s important to clearly tell your real estate professional about what you are looking for in the rental (for example, location, price — with or without utilities, number of bedrooms, amenities) as well as what isn’t acceptable (for example, you may not want to live by a school or busy highway). The more information you give, the better he or she will be able to find the property of choice. They will then search for rentals that meet your criteria, provide you with a list for you to consider and arrange for you to see the units you’re interested in.
When you find a place, your realtor will help negotiate more favorable terms on rent, deposit or the length of the lease. This is a big plus, as the rental market in the GTA is extremely competitive and a realtor will work to protect your interests.