Rental Basics in Miami>Question Details

Searching NE…, Renter in North Miami, FL

Is it normal for a rental agent to ask for $200 upfront before he submits an application to a condo owner, in case i change my mind?

Asked by Searching NE.Miami, North Miami, FL Sat Nov 17, 2012

I'm trying to rent a condo in N.Miami and called the agent to show it to me. I meet him at the property and he showed it to me and two others in the same building, he said in case something happens with the one i called about. So afterwards i told him i wanted the first one (the one i called about). Then in the parking lot he starts telling me he's been in the business so long and has a policy to collect $200 before he does any more work. The deal from what i could understand was if i get accepted that money will go toward my deposit, but if i changed my mind he would keep it. My problem is i don't want to change my mind- I'm the one who called him about it. I've lived in the same condo with my ex for the last 20some years and I'm moving out on my own with my 6 year old, so i haven't rented in many many years and i have no idea if this is the SOP now a days!

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absolutely not... move on with a new agent. feel free to call me 305 336 2679
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 27, 2012
Glad you took the time to follow yoiur hunch. I look forward to hearing from you.
I will have a top agaent in the area with Coldwell Banker give you personal, informative attention.
For my personal attention, please call me at 727-439-4400. Good luck.
Sandra Sanna
Coldwell Banker
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 26, 2012
No this is not normal you are not supposed to give any amount of money up front. Is you need further assistance call me at 305-794-8435 or email me at olsfla@hotmail.comp
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 19, 2012
This is not customary. If you find what you like a credit application fee is required. But, a fee of any kind is not customary. Non-refundable if you change your mind sounds fishy. I suggest you deal with a reputable company. If you like send me your contact information, and I will have an agent call you. Be sure you let me know what town you want to be in. Good luck
Sandra Sanna
Coldwell Banker
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 18, 2012
It is not normal at all. It sounds a little shady actually. Find another agent. There are tons of agents who would happily help you get that same condo without charging you anything. You can try calling us among others.

MIA Living
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 18, 2012
I haven't heard of such a thing in this part of the country but it may be SOP for your part. Make sure before you do hand anything over to him that you have something in writing so there aren't any surprises later.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 18, 2012
Agreed - this sounds very odd.

I can't speak for other areas of the country, however $200 for an application fee sounds outrageous. I would ask him what "more work" he'd be doing for you. Generally, if you like a rental, you would apply, and if accepted, you'd sign the lease and submit the agreed upon deposits. The application generally consists of a credit/background check - so owners/agents will sometimes charge a small fee to cover the costs of running these ($40-80 in most cases). Additionally, some will let you submit a recent, previously run report to avoid the fee.

Personally, I wouldn't fork any money over to anyone unless there is an explicit agreement in writing, regardless of what the transaction is. Handing over $200 in a parking lot to an agent to "hold" a property for you seems a little shady to me. If you choose to do this, I would at least get A. a receipt, and B. something in writing from the agent explaining what the deposit is for, and if/how it will be applied/returned.

Hope that helps!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 18, 2012
Usually a "good faith" deposit is collected to present upir WRITTEN offer to the Landlord and then there's the Condo Application for Approval, max $150 by State law ... this is NON-REFUNDABLE whether you're Condo approved or not, it's an application fee to perform your credit, background, refeneceds & emplyment checks etc prior to approving the application for Condo Approval to Lease. So ask what the $200 is for, get it in writing and make it a past of your deposit on the Condo. If you need to discuss this any further please send me your phone nymber we'll talk in the week during normal business hours or call mt Mon - Fri 8AM to 6PM, thanks, Steve E
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 18, 2012
Sounds odd. Is it an application fee? A flat fee cost to you? Never heard of a change your mind fee.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 18, 2012
LOL! What, never heard of a change your mind fee?! Apparently it's the NEW fee, better than the old fee!
Flag Sat Nov 24, 2012
Hi. Agents can charge a flat fee, collect escrow payment or percentage upfront and under certain terms retain the deposit. Whatever the case never conduct business with a licensed real estate agent without terms and conditions of business agreement stipulated in writing and signed by both parties.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 17, 2012
First you need to see if their is a application fee that has to go to a condo association for approval. I myself deal with a lot of rentals and NEVER had I heard a agent take 200.00 upfront for their time. Agents get paid a commission from the seller if they are bringing in a buyer etc. lanlord-tenant. If you need anymore help please feel free to contact, and I hope you made sure he was a realtor as well.

Thank you,
Tamika Moses
Keller Williams Realty Partners SW
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 17, 2012
Thanks for the answers! It's been pretty daunting. And no, i don't know if he was a realtor. He didn't have a card, he gave me his girlfriend's card, whom was waiting in the car while we looked at the apartments. Her card says she's a Broker.
Flag Sat Nov 24, 2012
No you don't have to give any money in advance call me at 305-794-8435
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 14, 2013
Thanks to everyone who answered me. It did seem sort of shady standing in the parking lot with no mention of that 'fee' during the phone calls or text messages the days before. That and we had to wait for a resident to come along and open the door to get inside the building because he didn't have a key or code. And when i asked him for his card he was fresh out, instead he gave me his girlfriend's card.

I'm going to go with one of the fine professionals here.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 24, 2012
Hello, before jumping to any conclusion, ask him what the fee is being used. Sometime you must submit application fee, so just ask him and keep communications open.

Iris I. Romero
Sky-Land Int. Realty
(305) 608-5209
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 18, 2012
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