At times, the rental market in Toronto can seem a lot like a rat race. When filling out a rental application, it may feel like you're being asked to offer up your first-born and a lock of your hair in order to be in the running for a shot at the prize. You're being scrutinized from top to bottom, with credit checks and references, employment letters, testimonials singing your praises... You pour your entire heart out on a rental application in hopes that you may be lucky enough to walk away with a signed lease agreement, but even once you’ve got all your documents in order, how much would you know about your new landlord at the end of that rigmarole? You may feel as if you're taking a big risk, but with the choruses of “OMG, will I find anything else?” looping in your head, and the endless competition swarming in around you, the pressure is on to act quickly.
So, why not get yourself an ally in this cut-throat quest and ask a Realtor for help? You might say to yourself, “I'm a renter – why on earth would I hire a real estate agent to help me find a living space when I could just use Craigslist, Kijiji, Pad Mapper, etc.? I've got this!”. But there are some real perks to searching for a rental property with a Realtor that you may not be aware of:
- When working with a Realtor, you have access to MLS (Multiple Listing Service), which is where agents advertise listings to other agents; and not the public version of the site either, which pales in comparison to the MLS your Realtor would be utilizing for you. Did you know that there is a 24 hour delay on the public's version of MLS? This means that folks who are represented by Realtors get an extra advantage – they see new listings the day that they hit the market, allowing them to get in to viewings sooner and to potentially get a deal done faster.
- The vast majority of the time, the landlord pays a Realtor a commission for their services and not the tenant; Landlords hire Realtors to find them A+ tenants and, likewise, tenants can hire agents to find them A+ apartments with reputable landlords. When a landlord hires a Realtor to find them a tenant, it suggests that they are fairly serious about finding a tenant who's not going to cause them any grief. They are spending their own money to have representation, and to advertise their rental on the MLS, so the chances are that it's a higher caliber of rental all together.
- Think of a good Realtor as a curator of the city – someone who handpicks what to showcase to their clients based on each client’s personality, wants and needs. We are match-makers of sorts, and there are many ways in which we can be helpful. For instance, you could be introduced to a neighbourhood that you may not even known about, because you sought out the skills of a city specialist.
- In working with a Realtor, you have a knowledgeable professional at your service, whose job it is to advocate for you and to negotiate on your behalf. Should you run into issues with your tenancy, you have one more person on your side to ask for help from - someone who is familiar with the Tenancy Act. What an asset, right?
So the next time you find yourself submitting your two months notice, drop a line to your Realtor friend and let them do all of the hard work! Keep all that hair on your head, promise your unborn kids to no one but your in-laws, and use the time you saved to throw yourself a party for being so resourceful. Those tears running down your cheeks? Yeah, they're tears of joy. You're welcome.