Your Guide To Finding The Perfect Apartment: Step 3

First things first, if you missed any of the previous steps, check out my articles here to get caught up!

Now, onto step 3!

The timeline for this step is January/February/March!  

How do you know how to locate an apartment?  Sometimes using a realtor is the way to go, however, make sure you know exactly what that means! Using a good realtor is important, so here is how to know you’re working with a good one:

They’re listed on Off Campus Student Service’s website

Everything on their website has been fully vetted, so you don’t need to worry about realtors being unreliable! As a side note, if you go to Emerson, Off Campus Student Services is your one-stop-shop to apartment hunting. They are really great about getting you all the information you need to know. Not only that, but they will really work with you to find you the best possible fit.  Also, if you’re ready to sign a lease but you’re not sure what it means, they will meet with you and walk you through the whole process.

They listen to you and answer your questions

A good realtor wants to help you, and while they might care about the money, you’ll never feel like that's all they’re in it for.  Keep an eye out for realtors who make you feel like they just want to close a deal, not find you the right fit. They should have all the answers you need, and should be attentive and willing to work with you and your schedule!

They explain the fees involved

If they are a good realtor, they won’t leave you in the dark at all.  You’ll know upfront what their fees are going to look like, as well as what they are going to do for you.  In addition, you’ll know when all of the due dates for the fees are; like I said, you won’t be in the dark at all. They will also promote all of the state and local housing codes, so you won’t have to worry about not knowing if something is safe.  Good realtors will also be in good standing with the Better Business Bureau and will have a physical office location. In addition, they will be showing you properties that are actually available for renting.

When using realtors, there are almost always fees involved, but what are the fees involved? Usually, the fee you will have to pay is the Realtor or Broker Fee.  This fee is usually no more than one month’s rent, but you should always negotiate. Some realtors will come down a little bit on the fee so it's not as much for you to pay all at once.  It is important to note that property managers do not have realtor fees, so if a property manager asks for one, they should not be! There is also a form that you will have to sign when viewing an apartment with a realtor, which in short states that you won’t view the apartment with another realtor and that you will pay the fee shown by that specific realtor.

Passes the “gut test”

This one sounds a little weird, but if you don’t have a good feeling about a realtor, don’t work with them!  Obviously if you sign paperwork, you have to work with them, however, if you haven't signed anything and have a bad feeling, it's perfectly fine for your to not want to work with them.  If this is the case, make sure to let Off Campus Student Services know, and they will look into the company to see if they want to work with them further or if they want to take them off their approved realtor list.

Step 3 is in the books!  Tune in next week for step 4 to finding your future apartment!