Whether you are looking for a rental property or a house to buy, beginning the search online is standard practice today. After that, though, when an agent gets involved, we tend to think that homebuyers have a leg up on renters. But that’s not necessarily the case. Many agents are eager to represent renters. In fact, searching for a rental property without an agent carries certain risks. So consider these 5 risks of finding a rental property on your own in Los Angeles.
1. Loss of Extensive Professional Experience and Knowledge
“By enlisting the help of an agent, you get all the benefits available to a homebuyer: professional experience, local knowledge and an understanding of your budgetary constraints.” But if you try finding a rental property on your own in Los Angeles, you miss out on all that.
You also lose the personal touch a good agent can provide, especially when you’re searching out of town and don’t even know where to start. Some apartment rental companies report that nearly half of their clientele is out-of-town people. Seattle Rental Group, for example, “an apartment-finding service that specializes in employment relocations,” helps “people with a crash course of the area,” familiarizing them with, say, the nearest grocery stores and the kind of people who live there. Without an agent, you will have to take care of all those things on your own – while living in a distant city.
2. The Prospect of Keen Competition with Shortages
Another of the risks of finding a rental property on your own in Los Angeles is that you’ll be facing keen competition in a market where shortages of inventory are becoming more common. You’ll be doing it all on your own and, consequently, from a disadvantaged position. Housing shortages aren’t found in just the buy-and-sell market. Today, there is a high demand for rental properties across the country, and both apartments and homes are snatched up quick. And, on top of that, rents are rapidly rising.
Here’s an illustrative example: “In the state of Washington, the legally required notice to move out is just 20 days, where most places require between 30 and 90 days. Short notice combined with a fast-moving market means renters have to act fast and be strategic to find the right apartment or house.”
Using an agent will help you streamline the process so you can act faster and be more competitive. In fact, because your agent will have access to the key box, you can dispense with the formal appointment process and just show up to view likely properties.
3. Missing Out on a Valuable Free Service
Do you really want to miss out on a valuable – perhaps indispensable –service. That’s a risk you run when finding a rental property on your own in Los Angeles. In most cases, real estate agents working with rentals and lease deals collect their commission from the landlord (typically about the equivalent of a month’s rent). Is there any good reason to forgo the services of an agent when, most of the time, it won’t cost you anything?
4. Huge Loss of Time and Labor
Finding a rental property on your own in Los Angeles means investing an enormous amount of time and effort searching for and inspecting prospective rental properties. And your time and labor investment only gets bigger when you’re looking out of town because you have to add in more driving time (not to mention the cost of the extra gas). That’s why you’re better off calling “in a pro,” the experts maintain, “who spends their days scouring neighborhoods for available homes and apartments.” For this reason, “[s]ome employers also include agent representation as part of their relocation packages.”
5. More Challenges Finding Single-Family Homes
Apartments are tough enough, but you’ll encounter even more challenges with single-family homes when finding a rental property on your own in Los Angeles. For listings are more difficult to find, there’s no on-site property manager, and, as a result, it’s harder to schedule tours and viewings. But a good local “real estate agent will have access to the local multiple listing service and will know which houses are for rent, and should be able to get you access in a timely manner.” That burden is lifted from you because it’s your agent’s job to make these connections. And with the help of an agent, it becomes far easier to schedule after-hours showings, which may be the only kind you can manage.
Today, with more people choosing to rent, available properties are getting fewer and the competition is getting tougher. Finding a rental property on your own in Los Angeles just isn’t a wise move in this environment – which you can now see after considering all the risks involved.