Finding tenants for your rental property can be time-consuming and stressful. Some landlords believe that using a real estate agent can help make the process easier and there are indeed several benefits to be found in hiring a professional to fill a vacancy at your rental property.
They'll Market the Property for You
Creating a good ad for a rental takes time and experience, and realtors have access to certain sources that you wouldn't have if you decided to rent out the property yourself. They have access to other agents. Someone in their office might have a client that would be a perfect fit for your rental.
Realtors also have access to the Multiple Listing Service that's accessed by real estate agents all over the area. Another agent in the next city over might view the listing and contact your real estate agent if they have a client who's been looking for a rental exactly like yours.
A real estate agent will be able to promote your property by posting the list in the window of their office. This can be especially beneficial if there's a lot of foot traffic in the area.
An agent should also be able to promote your property in more traditional ways, such as through online advertising. The real estate agent can reach prospective tenants directly by creating ads for your property on sites like Realtor.com, Trulia, and Craigslist.
An Agent Can Schedule Viewings With Prospective Tenants
Your real estate agent will be the one who is interacting with prospective tenants. They'll manage all the back-and-forth communications and schedule appointments to view the property, things that can be very time-consuming. Having this responsibility off your plate will allow you to use your time on other productive tasks.
They'll Show the Property for You
Another benefit of listing your rental with a real estate agent is that they'll be the one to show the property physically. Their time is wasted, not yours if the prospective tenant doesn't show up or turns out to be unacceptable.
They'll Have a Large Database/Network
A large part of an agent's job involves networking. Real estate agents must continuously find new clients to represent, as well as potential buyers or renters to fill the listings they already have. Their daily actions are consumed by real estate, so it's possible that the agent will come across a prospective tenant simply through her daily interactions.
It's also common for agents to have long lists of contacts to whom they send their new listings.
They'll Know Market Value
A real estate agent can help you accurately price your rental because they should have experience with the rental market in your area.
They'll look at the size and amenities of your property and compare them with three or four others in the area. These comparable properties will form a basis as to what the agent believes your rental is worth. The goal is to get the highest rent possible but not price your property so high that your rental sits on the market for months.
Access to Tenant Screening/Background Checks
Many real estate companies have subscriptions to tenant screening services. The agent will be able to easily screen prospective tenants to determine if the information included in their applications checks out.
They'll Draft the Lease Agreement for You
Most real estate agents have a basic lease agreement that they regularly use. It will include the most basic and necessary clauses of a lease such as duration, amount of monthly rent, when the rent must be paid, the basics of the security deposit, and how the tenant can and can't use the property.
This can be helpful if you've never drafted a lease before and you don't want to pay a lawyer to do it for you.
Agents Only Get Paid If They Fill the Vacancy
An agent will charge a commission in exchange for finding a tenant for your rental. The amount she charges will depend on your agreement with her. It could be a percentage of the yearly rent, such as 8 percent, or it could be the equivalent of one month’s rent. But the agent is only paid this commission if she finds a tenant to fill your vacancy.
It's a Good Idea for High-Priced Rentals
Enlisting the help of a real estate agent is a great option if you're looking to fill a luxury or high-priced rental. Many people who are searching for apartments on sites like Craigslist are not looking to spend $5,000 a month. An agent can help connect you with clientele who are searching for these types of listings.
It's Helpful When You Have a Lot of Units/Vacancies to Fill
Hiring a realtor to fill your vacancies can also be helpful if you have a lot of units to handle or if you have more than one vacancy to fill at a time. That can be a lot for one person to handle on their own unless it's their dedicated profession, and even if it is your profession, it can be a huge relief and stressbuster to hand the baton to someone else.