When in the rental market one must wonder about the value of using a real estate agent. If you’re a landlord you may ask yourself if it’s worth the commission? You may try to save money and do it yourself however find out the hard way that you don’t have the experience a real estate professional has. Causing you in the end to lose more. Here at RealEstateAgent.com we have seen this far too much. We highly suggest prospective renters that they find a real estate agent who has experience within this real estate niche to help alleviate any uncertainty during this process.
Is it easier to rent or sell a property?
In the current market conditions, we find ourselves in a fairly strange situation. On the one hand, low interest rates are favorable for buying. On the other hand, the housing stock is quite limited, especially for those in need of a reasonably-priced dwelling. Which causes a huge demand within the rental community. The rental market is more lucrative, even though the commissions generated by the transfer of property rights are bigger and brighter. Even if more people are looking to rent than to buy agents can provide valuable information to their clients in regards to the benefits of owning a home compared to renting.
How do real estate agents market rentals? Just like they would advertise a house for sale.
- They’d put it on the multiple listing service (MLS).
- They’d post it on their website.
- They’d share it on social media.
- They’d put an ad in their window display.
The marketing tricks will vary depending on the type of property they have to lease, but also on how far the landlord wants to spread the word.
The three types of landlords
In real estate, rental units are cash cows - some more profitable than others. According to the US Census Bureau, the demand for housing was so high last year that another 400,000 units could have been sold. This means that many aspiring homeowners had to rent. In fact, about 36% of households in the US are renting their primary residence.
While sellers expect to pay a commission to the real estate agent that closes the sale, landlords are less enthusiastic about this practice. They are reluctant to lose a month’s rent for signing a new lease contract. Just like sellers can be divided into two camps - the FSBOs and those who hire a real estate agent - landlords also fall into more categories.
- The first category of landlords, well, they are the ones who understand the benefits of real estate agent’s services. They own rental properties in large metropolitan areas like New York or San Francisco, where finding the right rental unit and the right tenant is not a job for the faint of heart. Or they may own properties out of state and need a local contact. So, unless they hired an agent, not only would the owners be flooded by phone calls, but they would also have to filter all the applicants and decide on the right one. And that’s the hard part. Real estate agents can do all the dirty side of the business and give landlords the peace of mind they deserve.
- Secondly, some landlords would rather find a tenant for their property on their own to avoid any fees or commissions. While they loathe paying a real estate agent’s commission, they completely expose themselves. If they happen to run into a bad tenant, they may end up losing more than a month’s rent or whatever the fee might have been. On top of that, they lose a lot of time and energy showing their property and trying to mimic what an agent would have done in a more professional manner. Besides, most agents have standard agreements that offer maximum protection for the landlord.
- In the third place, some landlords would rather work with a property management company. These are usually seasoned real estate investors with many properties in their portfolios that demand too much time for administrative chores. So, they’d rather pay a flat monthly fee and have everything handled by a third party.
A match made in heaven
What do landlords want from a tenant? To pay the rent on time and to take care of their property as if it were their own. Not all renters are clones of the ideal tenant, though. The screening process eats up a lot of time, but in most cases, the cooperation between landlords and real estate agents pays off.
Most of the times, the first impression speaks volumes about the quality of the tenant and usually weighs more than the figures in their paperwork. When landlords evaluate new tenants themselves, they pay attention to their credit history and may even ask for recommendations from previous landlords. They try to know each other a little before entering a long-term agreement. However, not everybody is intuitive in this process.
Real estate agents also do their best to find good occupants for the landlords who hire them. In fact, since many real estate agents charge the same fee for a listing agreement and a lease agreement, they are equally motivated to do their job. Not to mention the fact that they are good at working with people. After all, every tenant may become a prospective home buyer, while landlords may become home sellers. So every real estate agent sees in rentals a safe source of new leads.
When renting, though, landlords must do everything to reduce the risks. A second opinion from a real estate agent is precious and should not be underestimated. Agents also collect the security deposit for you and make sure that the new tenants understand their obligations under the lease agreement.
Types of renters
What do we know so far? First, we’ve found that not all landlords use the services of a real estate agent even though that’s the best way to go. Secondly, we’ve found that tenants are far from the ideal blueprint, too. So how can investors make sure they’re renting to the right person? By changing their approach to renting. They must be open to work with a qualified professional such as a real estate agent who knows best the housing needs of each generation and can identify the type of renters they’re dealing with.
- Long-term vs. short-term occupants
Vacancy periods are frightening. Five-year-long lease agreements are the best, but as rare as a unicorn. When working with an agent, though, landlords often receive what they are asking for.
- Low-income vs. high-income renters
More than half of the households with annual incomes below $25,000 are renting their homes. Low-income housing is harder and harder to find, and many landlords can’t wait to upgrade their properties to appeal to high-earners. They are more likely to reach out for help and hire a real estate agent.
- Students and singles
According to the State of the Nation Housing 2018 report released by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, about 80% of women under age 35 were living alone in a rented place. Students who don’t qualify for a mortgage are also more likely to rent.
- Newlyweds and families with children
This segment is very likely to rent for short periods as homeownership is more appealing to those who plan on growing their families.
- Seniors and retirees
Seniors are less likely to use the latest technology to find a place to rent, so they will definitely seek out the help of a real estate agent. They might be looking to downsize or move closer to their family. They are usually more responsible and make excellent tenants.
New immigrants or temporary workers who don’t speak English fluently or who don’t know much about the US housing market need assistance, so it is highly recommended that landlords worked with a real estate agent when dealing with this niche.
In the 2019 US Housing Market Outlook released by Pretium, there is an optimistic feeling hovering over the rental market. The low inventory of homes for sale and the affordability crisis create the optimum conditions for those who want to invest in rental properties and for the agents who wish to expand their horizons. Find a real estate agent today and start your own rental business!