It is not unusual in Westchester County that a broker charge 10% of the aggregate rental amount, if you sign an Exclusive Right to Represent. In that case, the agent must disclose to the landlord that you are paying their commission. Because I had an Exclusive Right to Represent Contract with a rental client, the client was able to get the apt. he wanted only because the landlord did not have to pay my broker a commission. We were competing against another offer, and that was the deal maker. Sometimes it allows you to negotiate the price as well.
Having an Exclusive with one agent, you should expect that agent to work hard for you. I would not sign an Exclusive with anyone until you've met them, and know you will enjoy working with them, because an Exclusive Right to Represent means you will work only with that agent, for a period of time determined by you.
You do not have to sign an Exclusive Right to Represent, or, you can choose to pay a percentage (usually 50%) of one month's rent commission on the Exclusive form, (not 10% aggregate amount). That way, the agent is guaranteed to be paid for her work if she finds a property for you where the landlord is not offering a commission. You can also search on Craig's List, etc., and if you find something, your agent can get you in, and as Karla said, you will have a real estate professional handling negotiations, and checking on the ownership of the property, in case it's not legitimate.
The majority of the time agents, even Buyers agents are paid by the seller. In essence it all comes from the buyers loan from the bank, paid to the seller, then to the agents involved.
I am an Accredited Buyer Representative, I normally get paid by the seller and when it comes to rentals our office charges 1 months rent paid by the tenant with no additional fees if you extend your lease. It's a one time fee and that's it. Every office has their own way of working. I recommend you speak to a few and work with whoever you feel most comfortable. After all it is your money and should be spent the way you choose to spend it or not. :o)
You can go on websites like Craigslist or ForRentByOwner.com to search listings on your own. Just be careful of scams and also what you tell the landlord, especially if you plan to negotiate. The main reasons for having your own agent is to look out for your best interest, negotiate the best price and terms, and guide you through the paperwork. You might slip up and disclose something that you don't legally have to and hurt yourself in the negotiation.
Licensed Associate Broker
Accredited Buyers Representative
Legends Realty Group
It sounds like you are being asked to pick up the property management expense for the entire year. I have never heard of this; the landlord always pays for that in my experience. Unless of course this is a special Scarsdale thing! But I find this quite...um...peculiar.
I also recommend Craig's List. Do verify that the purported Landlord really owns the place before handing over any funds. There have been press reports of tenants, posing as landlords, collecting cash security deposits and then disappearing into the night. Rare, but not something you need in your life.
Certified Buyer Representative
Senior Real Estate Specialist
Century 21 Princeton Properties
You can be represented by a Broker and their agent and they can set any fee, or you have the option of working with an agent that represents the seller and not pay anything.
Its better to sit with us for a few minutes and we can explain your options.
Actually the agent that wants 10% fees should have explained this to you in greater detail, and since your posting here, my guess is that agent is already just not right for you since the communication is poor.
Please call our offices and let us find the RIGHT home for you!
We look forward to hearing from you.