When searching for a new rental home you may find yourself interacting with many different types of professionals in the property management industry. You may work with property managers, rental brokers, leasing agents, and landlords, but you should know that each position can have different responsibilities and fees that you may have to pay.
Let’s start by talking about what a rental broker can do for you. A rental broker is the most uncommon type of rental professional that you will work with, at least in the state of Georgia. If you live in New York City or Boston, then you may end up working with a rental broker to help you find the rental home of your dreams. They are responsible for marketing a property, showing the property, and making sure you’re the right fit on the owner’s behalf.
If a rental broker finds you a home, then you will end up paying them a mandatory fee that is usually equal to 15% of the first year’s rent. Yes, we did say the first YEAR! This fee is on top of any deposits and other fees you would have to pay.
In Georgia, you are most likely to work with leasing agents, property managers, or landlords.
A leasing agent is a typical position in multi-family complexes. The owner will hire them to show the property, screen residents, and help with the signing of a lease. Unlike a rental broker, this service doesn’t cost you anything. The owner of the property is responsible for paying for their services.
Here at Compass Property Management, we are property managers. While we have similar duties as a leasing agent, we are usually hired to be a full-service management firm for the owner. This means we handle all marketing, screening, and leasing as well as collecting rent, handling maintenance, and lease issues. Our duty is to let the owners separate themselves from the property so they can focus elsewhere. When you rent with us, we are your landlord. You will communicate with us rather than directly with the owner.
An owner without a full-service management firm would be considered your landlord. A self-managing landlord is responsible for all aspects of the rental from marketing to leasing to maintenance. Sometimes a landlord can hire a property manager to place a tenant, but still manages all other areas of the rental.
No matter where you live, you will end up dealing with one of these individuals if you are renting. There are laws that govern how each position can work and these laws will vary by area. Understanding how your local system works can make it easier to find the rental home you are looking for.
Our final bit of advice is to be cautious when you notice any issues before signing the lease. Once a lease is signed, there is no going back until the terms of the lease are fulfilled.
We pulled some of this information from our friends over at Rentec Direct. Go check out their article and website to learn more about renting.