Rental Basics in Chicago>Question Details

Jocomom, Both Buyer and Seller in Johnson County, KS

Why would I need an agent to rent a condo or townhome?

Asked by Jocomom, Johnson County, KS Wed Apr 29, 2009

Ever since I requested more information on-line on two rental units (one condo and one town-home) in the Chicago area, I've had real estate agents contacting me to work as a buyers agent for me. I simply want the listing agent to give me more information about the property, answer a few questions. What's in it for the buyer's agent? What could they do for me that I can't do myself? We're relocating from Kansas City and I've just never heard of this.

We will be looking to buy and are only renting temporarily until our home sells so we will need a buyers agent at some point. Should I just get one now to help with the rental and purchase?

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Dear Jocomom,

You're certainly not required to use an agent to help you with your rental (or purchase in fact). While it might be very useful to have the expertise of a real estate agent to help you avoid some of the most obvious pitfalls of leasing in Chicago, you can also attempt to study Chicago's Landlord Tenant Ordinance to try to represent yourself. If you are hiring an agent, then I'd suggest trying to find one who specializes in leasing and/or rentals rather than purchase transactions.

You can also check at for more information on leasing in Chicago.

Also a lot of agents have automated email programs that begin sending you information as soon as you request information from them, so don't take it personally or feel too pressured by agents contacting you.

Good luck.

Christopher Thomas
Broker Associate, Sudler Sotheby's International Realty
773-418-0640 (cell) 773-293-1200 (off) 312-577-0985 (fax)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 30, 2009
They are all looking for a comission which is paid to them by the landlord. This does not come out of your pocket but they usually collect about a months worth of rent from the landlord for the qualified referal.

I have several rentals in the Schaumburg area but do not use a Realtor for my source of renters. They find me through or

You do not need to work with anyone if you don't want to but if you are looking for information from the MLS then you have to go through a Realtor.

Their are several other avenues to search for rentals in the Chicago market.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 29, 2009
Do you want to save yourself an enormous amount of time and frustration? Do you want to find the best possible property for your needs? Do you potentially want to save yourself substantial amounts of cash?

If so, put an agent to work for YOU. If there's only one agent in a leasing transaction, chances are he's working hard to please the landlord (to bring them the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time). Your agent still gets paid by the landlord/broker, but should ultimately have your best interests in mind. There's no conflict of interest.

You don't necessarily have to work with ONE agent, but you should work only with those that are working for you. I can promise you that. If you want some help, email or call me. You'll be glad you did!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 29, 2009
This agent can supply a hand full of rentals that match your requirements at no expense to you.
That is one reason. Second, moving out of state is stressful, in fact moving in general is stressful.
By using an agent it simplifies your life. I specialize in residential real estate in Chicago for 15 years.
I also have years of experience in Buyer and seller representation. If you would like to work with me,
simply email me at or visit my web at

Maria Clark
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 29, 2009
Much like a buyer's agent protects your best interests, a rental agent does the same thing. Here are some thoughts:

You're moving from Kansas City. Do you know the differences in tenant and landlord rights between here and there? If you lose your job and can't pay your rent do you know what your options are? If your landlord does something you think is illegal who will you turn to? Do you know a good real estate attorney in Chicago you can count on if need be? Are you knowledgeable and comfortable with the standard chicago lease used in most cases enough to really feel comfortable signing it with no one there to answer your questions?

Landlord can be very ignorant of the laws and I have heard horror stories. My personal opinion is that if you go with a property that is listed by a Realtor and have a Realtor working for you then you have several people who know the business looking out to make sure the rules are followed- not just for your sake but their own. You have someone to ask questions, and more importantly a professional who is accountable to the transaction.

In terms of payment, the landlord pays the listing agent who offers a co-op to a buyer's agent just like if it were for sale. Sometimes a landlord will pay a commission directly to an agent who is able to bring him a buyer as well.

I hope this helps and welcome to Chicago!!!

Scott Newman
Newman Realty

P.S. if you want to search the renal inventory by price and zip code to get an idea of what's out there you can do so on our site
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 29, 2009
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