Rental Basics in 60606>Question Details

Yue, Home Buyer in 60611

The value of Rental Agent

Asked by Yue, 60611 Thu Jan 16, 2014

As a condo owner, what's the value of using a rental agent to rent out the property? I don't see the point of an agent if he's only putting up a listing on MLS and maybe doing the showings (may not even need to show if the renter has an agent)

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I can give you a list of 100 things that are too lengthy to put in this format. How about 2 for now?

1, completely understanding lanadlord tenant ordinance and protecting landlord. My lease for landlords is 9 pages long, and up to date with the ordinance.

2, The MLS alone will not do it alone. Listings need to be on a minimum of 30 websites.


1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 16, 2014
Well, they will also help you draft a lease that is legal in Chicago, get all the check and paperwork. Check the background and credit of the applicants, properly assess market value so you are not sitting vacant for months being over priced. Most importantly, the are a buffer between the landlord and tenant during negotiations.

Make sure you know the rules of handling the security deposit so you don't get sued. Did you know that you have 30 days to notify and document any damage and details of the deposit being withheld and 45 days from the end of the lease to return the balance. If you fail to do it by day 30. Just return the ENTIRE amount with the required interest. If you didn't know that, you need an agent.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 16, 2014
If you really want to do if yourself, there is nothing stopping you. The market will tell you if you did it right, but it could be an expensive education. Did you know about the security deposit rules I told you about?
Flag Thu Jan 16, 2014
The are, but Chicago is VERY specific. A lease that will work in most cities will not work in Chicago. You MUST be sure to use a Chicago lease. Chicago has the strictest rules in Illinois and are very tenant protective. Just get the correct lease. It should also state on the front what bank and account you will put the security deposit in and a summary of the Landlord Tenant Ordinance.
Flag Thu Jan 16, 2014
I thought standard lease forms are available online. what do you mean draft lease? also as far as credit goes, do agent do anything beyond getting a credit report online?
Flag Thu Jan 16, 2014
A lawyer friend of mine posted this on Facebook today. Here is an example of what good agents help prevent:

LANDLORDS!!!! I just got out of court today, evicting a tenant who destroyed the landlord's apartment, tore apart window screens, shattered glass, etc... I can't tell you enough how important it is to KNOW how to screen tenants and KNOW how to prevent THEM from suing you back. Isn't it ironic, to pay a tenant who has not paid rent in months? To pay a tenant who destroys your property? I give seminars on this stuff. Ask me or any lawyer who does this area. Learn or suffer the serious consequences.

LANDLORDS!!! The tenant I evicted today -- is BACK! She broke into the unit with two other guys. The police won't arrest her unless the landlord goes to the property to open the door. She will probably burn the place down. THIS is what happens when you don't know what you are doing. The landlord tenant business will give you a heart attack if you don't do it right.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 17, 2014
I think that Jacqueline's point is that agents do a full background, credit, eviction, employment verification, landlord/tenant and reference check; whereas the average person renting out his/her unit may or may not know to take these and other precautions. That said, I believe that those who are inclined to use agents are best served by them; and those who prefer not to do so, and much less likely to get optimal results, if they are generally opposed to it.
Flag Sun Mar 16, 2014
sounds scary... I would be much more inclined to use an agent if the agent act as an insurance policy against this type of situation.
Flag Fri Jan 24, 2014
So, Jacqueline, what would a rental agent do that a landlord couldn't do to prevent this?
Flag Fri Jan 17, 2014
the value is directly proportional to your time value. Its not some high paying job doing rentals I assure you. You will most likely pay an agent at least 1/2 month of rent for their client. You may pick up a client off craig's list also. The bottom line is this.. people who value time and are normally higher end lifestyles use agents so they pay more money for the privilege. If your renting a college place out go for it...if your renting to professionals they often use agents and agents use the MLS
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 17, 2014
email me at I will discuss this value on a rental I just finished
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 17, 2014
Rental agents know the market and what you can truly get for your monthly rent. I've seen many condo owners under list. I'd strongly advise using an agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 17, 2014
The city of Chicago has certain rules/procedures for rentals so if the owner does not understand them, and does not follow them, the tenant can cause trouble and cost the owner money if 'issues' occur or if the tenant just wants to be a problem. If the owner understands it all.....which they almost always do not, then it is not a potential problem. Otherwise an agent can sometimes find potential tenants in the MLS because not all tenants use the various rental web sites. It kind of depends on whether the market favors the landlord or, but it is true that many times landlords do not need agents. I hate doing rentals and try to avoid them:)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 17, 2014
well, in my area the tenant pays the commission so it is a win-win for the landlord when they list w/ an agent

That being said..........

Do you have the time to show the unit?

Do you know where to advertise it to get the most exposure?

Most importantly, do you know how to do a background check - not only for credit scores and employment verification , but for past evictions ...homeland security list check.....foreclosures, collections etc??

If you can say "yes" to all the above questions, then go for it!

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 16, 2014
Glad to help. Good also to get your input on the East Coast markets.
Flag Fri Jan 17, 2014
thanks for the added used to be that way here, but changed years ago. In NYC the tenant also pays.
Flag Fri Jan 17, 2014
In Chicago the landlord pays.
Flag Thu Jan 16, 2014
I sure hope that realtors aren't drafting lease agreements. They should read this article from the IAR: Look at example 3. Any modification to a standard contract is an unauthorized practice of law in the state of Illinois.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 16, 2014
One more thing I can throw in as a CPA, the time value of money. For example you may be a lawyer and get $400/hour. You may have a yard that needs mowing $10/hour. You could mow the yard yourself, but that time is costing you $390/hour. If you have a full-time job or are self employed, DO THAT, don't cheat on that end to save on the other. You are spending dollars chasing pennies.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 16, 2014
Realtors are not for everyone. If you think you can do it on your own, I would do so.

However, if you want the experience , knowledge, and professionalism to help you get more and make the process less stressful, get a good agent.

Regardless, I wish you the best.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 16, 2014
experience, expertise and knowledge. the fact is there are professionals in this world to do the specialization . everybody doesn't know everything . if you are a landlord who is very experienced who is done this before and know everything, the only thing you may need is someone to show the property and list it on the market . if you do not have the expertise and knowledge in selecting tenants showing the property and ensuring that the leases are written properly and that you are protected as well as complying with laws, you need an expert. the value is to save you money, help protect you from being sued , look after your interests, and get you to your goal as easily as possible.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 16, 2014
Expertise, Exposure, Knowledge of Laws, Screening of Tenants, etc.

If you need some assistance in renting out your condo, let me know.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 16, 2014
priceless. The exposure you get using an agent is superior and will get you top dollar. screening tenants for credit worthiness, running background checks for employment, criminal etc. Pricing. Writing a lease that is legitimate and protects you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 16, 2014
anyone can run background check in 10 mins. and everyone can tell 750 is good, 650 is not so good. what's the value add?
Flag Thu Jan 16, 2014
Hello Yue,

A rental agent should be doing background checks on all your possible tenants, minimizing the risk of leasing to drop dead tenants. They also look out for potential scams that could affect you. Last but not least, they also save you tons of time from showing the unit over and over again. Leaving you with more time to enjoy the rental income.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 16, 2014
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