C Tann-Starr's Outside Blog

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A Renter’s Perspective

One of the lovely things about surfing on the Internet is that people can use the search engines of their choice to find just about anything they desire. A significant number of people use the World Wide Web to search for their potential home. As a Realtor, if you do not have an on-line presence, you are doing your firm and yourself a disservice because you may be missing the opportunity to help someone find what he or she needs in your neighborhood. Someone looking to relocate into a new area can find millions of apartments for rent within the blink of an eye, but at some point, they are going to need help to narrow their focus down to a few viable candidates. They will seek out a real estate professional.

I had an interesting call yesterday from a young woman who discovered my new construction listing from my video listing advertisement on Active Rain, but she wanted to rent one of the apartments rather than buy a new home. She was very sad to discover it was unavailable as a rental, but I am in the process of helping her find somewhere new to reside with her children. You never know what may induce a prospect to call you, but when opportunity knocks, it is always helpful to have a pre-packaged presentation for your potential customer to help educate the seller/buyer/renter on what you can and cannot do for them.

Besides my usual stop in the Multiple Listing Service, I find Apartments.com, ApartmentFinder.com, and CraigsList.com to be very useful supplements in my hunt for rental housing. I always hope that my customers and clients can find what they are looking for in my Resource Center at TannStarr.com, but that is not always the case and as a cooperating broker, I am more than happy to go wherever I need to be to secure a home for the person I am representing.  

Here are a few tips for prospects who want to rent an apartment, townhouse or home in New York City:

  1. Do your preliminary research into the areas where you believe it is that you wish to reside.
  2. Contact a Realtor to represent your best interests and decide if you would like to enter into a brokerage agreement and become a client for a specified negotiated interim (e.g. think thirty day intervals like 60 days, 90 days, 120 days, 180 days, or a year/365 days…).
  3. How have you managed your debt? Do you have reserves in case something bad happens? You will need to be honest with yourself about where you are and where you are going. Most renters would like to be homeowners someday. If this move is the last rental before you buy, your credit history with your property owner will be very important when the bank checks to see if you have paid your rent on time.
  4. Having three to six month living expenses saved and being prepared to pay the expenditures for renting (e.g. fees, security deposit, moving personnel, truck rental, fuel and utilities, etc.) is a good idea. Save as much money as you can, no matter the amount.  
  5. Purchase and use as many Energy Star compliant light bulbs, consumer electronics and appliances as possible to save on your energy bills.
  6. Buy power strips to use as a turn off switch for electronics that continue to draw power while you are sleeping. (You would be surprised at just how many watts standby power consumption actually consumes while your gadgets are supposedly “off.”)
  7. Try to select a residence where you have access to public transportation (in case your vehicle becomes inoperable or you have visitors who do not drive, etc.)
  8. Make the move a smooth one by not waiting until the last minute to search for housing.  

BTW, Kelly Willey has a cool post on Real Estate lingo that you can read here.

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Comment balloon 10 commentsC Tann-Starr • September 28 2008 12:44PM

Comments

Carolyn, the whole rental market is sometimes vastly ignored by some Realtors who only want to specialize in buyers that want to "own" a home. Glad you see the broad perspective of this other category of need for shelter paying for it in rent vs. a mortgage. Good post.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) about 10 years ago

Thank you, Gary. What you say is very true and we need to highlight more information for the rental market.

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) about 10 years ago

Carolyn,

This is excellent advice and a sure footing for the groundwork leading to home ownership!!! Thanks,   Fran

Posted by Fran Gaspari, "The Title Man" - Title Insurance - PA & NJ (Patriot Land Transfer, Inc.) about 10 years ago

We don't have any cohesive way of rentals in our market.  Maybe we should but it is quite expensive to show rentals.

Posted by Gene Allen, Realty Consultant for Cary Real Estate (Fathom Realty) about 10 years ago

Hi C ... Good info for renters; I hope it drives them to you.  I know renters do not always anticipate the hidden costs of renting, i.e., the fees. 

Posted by Marie Meyer, Orange County New York Realtor (Keller Williams Realty) about 10 years ago

Great advice for renters, carolyn...I know renting in NY can be a challenge.  My step-daughter lived there for two years and moved twice because she did not investigate the area the first time.

Posted by Sidney Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula, Realty Works Temecula (Realty Works Temecula) about 10 years ago

Carolyn...

Rentals don't work in our market because most agents offer a hundred dollar co-op. By the time you buy gas and split with the broker you might as well have stayed home.

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) about 10 years ago

C-Wow-you really did your homework on this one. You are right too. I have sold homes to past tenants and if I had not helped them, they probably would have found another Agent. Great Blog.

Posted by Laura Watts (Positive Properties, LLC) about 10 years ago

Thank you, Fran. :-)

Gene, I am sorry to hear that. Seems everything is becoming quite expensive nowadays...

Thank you, Marie. Some do seem shocked because they have been living somewhere for so long and the idea of having to possibly lay out the equivalent of three or four months rent to move is unnerving. Having to place items in storage can also be a daunting task.

Jane, that really whomps. It's tough getting a spot that supplies everything one is looking for. I always advocate doing a drive by and hanging out in a prospective neighborhood for a little while before making a decision. I usually like to eat at the local spots to learn about what an area has to offer. I moved to Briarwood because of the neat transportation available and all of the foodie paradise spots. I have 35 great restaurants that deliver. I can get food from 5:30AM to 2 AM. Very cool! :-)

Richard, I have observed brokerages split the fee 50-50 between brokerage houses and/or the listing house will set a flat fee for the tenant's agent. Everything is negotiable, there is no set structure, however, I have never seen a $100 co-op on NY. I certainly will be keeping my eyes open for one. There is a lot of work involved with rentals so I find that fascinating...

 

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) about 10 years ago

Thank you, Laura. It will be very interesting to see how many people change their business model to service more tenants in the near future. With everything that has been happening with the current market, I find myself thinking I need to balance my resources and time with other pursuits. There are more renters than homeowners in New York City, yet I spent my first year working almost exclusively with buyers and sellers. I'd like to spend more time with renters...

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) about 10 years ago

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