If the property is multiple listed, and represented by a brokerage, then the landlord's brokerage is responsible for the paying of your agent's commission per the listing agreement.
If there is no other agent, then you'd want to check with the landlord to see if he/she will pay an agent to represent you. It is unlikely that they will, but it certainly doesn't hurt you to ask.
If the property isn't listed with a brokerage, and the landlord won't pay for an agent to represent you, you'd be responsible for paying the agent yourself. That commission is negotiable. Don't expect an agent to represent you for peanuts, but do expect to have a frank conversation with your agent about what it fair, and what their expectations are. This is one of those instances in which you'll get what you pay for, so don't be afraid to pay for good representation from a Realtor.
Are you actively searching NOW for a realtor? If so, we (Chris & Shris) would be happy to help you with your search.
Feel free to shoot us an email, and we'll establish what you are looking for and go from there.
Have you considered buying a place instead of renting? Often the price you pay for a rental will find you a fairly nice place to buy, if you financially qualify. Now is certainly the time to buy with LOW interest rates.
If you have a dog (depending on size), as a renter, it can be hard to find places that accept dogs over 40lbs. Buying a townhome, or single family home allows you to choose where you want to go -- a condo will restrict pet size.
Give us a call if this might be something that will interest you. In the least, we can get you pre-qualified and see if you actually qualify for a mortgage loan VS. just renting.
Chris Dudley - Realtor
Cell: (202) 297-3047
Tysons, VA Office: (703) 556-8600
Bethesda, MD & DC Office: (301) 907-7600
Long and Foster Realtors, Inc.
Licensed in VA, MD & DC.
We work at All Price Points, with Buyers & Sellers, Investors & Renters.
However, you might also want to check-out Craig's List, the WashingtonPost and a few other sites, sometimes there is more on Craig's List than we can pull-up in MRIS (the local MLS system).
It doesn't cost anything to meet with an agent. You might want to meet with an agent to help you identify the area that you want to be in and then to look at the options there. For instance you can look in the MLS and in that case it will be a Realtor that works with you and shows you the property. If it's in the MLS the Realtor working with you is paid by the listing broker, who has the listing for the landlord/owner. I oftentime also help renters search on Craigslist, since there you will find apartment complex's and private owners who advertise. Some of the apt complex's pay the Realtor working with you as long as he/she accompanies you to the property. Some of them don't. Private owners don't normally want to work with Realtors, but some will if we bring them a good tenant. In some cases the Realtor may ask the potential tenant to sign a Right To Represent the Tenant and get a deposit check to cover their time should you rent a place not listed in the MLS. You would then be responsible for paying for the time and effort the agent did on your behalf. Most real estate offices here and the agents don't charge the tenants for rental assistance. But ask.
Keep in mind that renting from a private owner and mostly through MLS or Craigslist they are going to require a security deposit equal to 1 months rent. Plus your application fee. If you use an apartment complex they usually only charge a few hundred dollars for the security deposit and many don't require a one year lease like private owners do. Some you can do as little as 6 months.
Get a Realtor who knows the areas where you want to be and have him/her help you with identifying properties that might work for you and be prepared for the application (bring your checkbook), have copies of your 2 latest pay stubs or LES statement if you are govenment, and reference letters from your past 2 landlords if you have them.
Hope that helps.
Tenants should be prepared to pay one month security deposit, rental app fee and the first month's rent.