Using a real estate agent to rent my property

14 Replies

We are about to purchase our first rental property and are a little nervous about finding renters during the holiday season. We are wondering if it's worth it to hire a real estate agent to help us get it rented. Does anyone have experience working with an agent rather than listing yourself on Craigslist, Zillow, etc.? Do you know what they typically charge? Thanks!

One months rent is the typical fee for a rental in my market.

If you do need an agent, I'd suggest Dawn Brenegan if she does rentals. I believe she's in your area.

Not doing it yourself is hit and miss, some agents look only for a heart beat other actually know what they are doing when it comes to screening. Unfortunately they are few and far between from what I have heard.

As a new investor you likely have no idea how the screen, if you want to stay in business you had better learn because no one cares about your property except you. Use an agent if you must at your own risk but in the future do it yourself.

@Emily Kessler Instead of a general brokerage RE agent, you should look into hiring a property management company, even if you want to manage it yourself.  Many will do lease ups only. I'm sure the fee for this ranges among companies, but mine charges 1/2 of one month's rent.

As far as I'm concerned that's kind of like hiring a lawyer to walk your dog. It's really not hard.

Maybe your dog has a lot of legal issues every time he goes for walks. Bites someone, jaywalks, then holds up a liquor store.

Finding good tenants is not particularly hard, especially if you've done it a lot. But if you have the money and don't want the hassle then there is nothing wrong with hiring a professional to do their job. Just remember finding a good professional may be as hard or harder than finding a good tenant. But once you find them you don't have to worry about the other part long as you are willing to pay.

I would list it yourself just to give it a shot. You never know. 

Depends how involved you want to be and how much time you want to put in. It is good to personally meet and know your tenant. But that takes time. Are you in. Shot market with your pick of tenants? DYI, if not try a realtor or property manager. I pay between 50-80% of 1 month's rent for a new tenant placement with a 6 month guarantee.

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Hi @Emily Kessler

With all of the free online tools, I recommend finding your own tenant. It really isn't worth paying a realtor. They won't pre-screen as well as you will and it is good to learn how to do it yourself.

1. Do some research on rental sites like Craigslist,, to determine pricing for the area. Renting during the holidays can be a little tougher, but a realtor won't change that. I like to offer 1 month free during slow times. I offer free rent for the 13th month, or even better on try to get an 18-month lease, so you aren't trying to renew during the holidays.

2. Make sure your rental is SPOTLESS and take some good pics or hire someone. I pay a pro photographer $150 to take shots of my rentals. It is worth EVERY penny because I can use them over and over. You can also use a free tool like picmonkey to edit pictures.

3. Put a sign in the yard and list your rental on the free sites and include your rental criteria, so prospects can pre-screen themselves.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Originally posted by @Edward B. :

But if you have the money and don't want the hassle then there is nothing wrong with hiring a professional to do their job.

Actually, there can be a lot of things wrong with that. First of all, if you have a rental house then it is an investment designed to make you money. Hiring an realtor is an really big expense you do not need.

Additionally, many, many times they will find you a bad tenant. They have no motivation to do otherwise. They get paid when they place a tenant in your home. It's not their home - they just take the money and run. They are not responsible for the tenant, and what they might do. They don't bother to find quality tenants or screen them as well as you probably would. They put the first person they can in your house.

This is the exact same reason why when something needs fixed I almost always do it myself. When somebody else does it, who is not the owner and has no vested interest in the property, they usually do a worse job.

"If you want something done right you have to do it yourself".

@Account Closed ,

Alrighty then. Sounds like someone had a bad experience. I'm glad what you have going on is working for you but the reality is that this is not a one size fits all business. For people who do not want to spend all of their time managing and fixing their rental properties and/or plan to scale beyond what one person could possibly manage there are alternatives out there. You are right that PMs can be a lowly bunch, I have employed some of them. I happen to know for a fact though, that there are some pretty awesome ones out there as well, I employ some of them as well. You do need to vet your people as much or more than you vet your tenants, but having good people to work with allows you to accomplish way more than you can by yourself. That's just a fact.

Sure, you can certainly get to a point where you cannot handle it all yourself and need to hire professional help. The OP here is asking about their FIRST rental property, and that is the last place you should be letting somebody else pick your tenant. You're never going to learn anything that way and you're spending all your profit.

Your number one concern should be screening.  Anyone can find tenants.  If you or the person you hire doesn't screen properly, you'll have the property leased in a day and then the fun begins.   

Property Management company or Realtor?

Full service is probably, the property management company and has resources for other than just leasing out the rental and may offer you more services to pick from down the line.

You entered the rental business as a property owner / operator you should make yourself as familiar with state rental laws as possible to know procedures and have a proper lease that covers yourself. 

You can do it yourself many do check the costs as in any purchase so you know how it's going to impact your bottom line. and if you chose an outside service make sure of any automatic extensions and notice required to end service with them and clauses that if you accept their renter and end service with them that your forced to also give tenant notice, which has been disclosed in prior post on BP.

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