I live in Milwaukee,WI and I'm seriously thinking about starting a rental finder company. What are the steps in starting a venture like this one?

Asked by Mrcorp83, Milwaukee, WI Thu Feb 3, 2011

Do I need a license?How do I go about getting a rental data base together? How do I profit from both sides the renter and rental owner? Any and all details are welcome. Thank you for your time and advice.

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Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Thu Feb 3, 2011
BEST ANSWER
You might need a license. It depends on the regulations in Milwaukee on what types of businesses need licenses.

Also, while you could form an exchange sort of business, make sure you aren't representing renters or landlords in the way a real estate agent does. Otherwise, you could find yourself charged with practicing real estate without a license.

As for a rental data base--unfortunately for you, you'd already be competing against your local MLS. However, basically, you'd have to find rental properties. You could monitor Craigslist and similar online services. You also could post on Craigslist looking for landlords. You could set up a web site where landlords (and renters) could sign up. You could try flyers in supermarkets and other stores. And look for flyers with landlords advertising properties.

How do you profit? Charge 'em. I don't know if/how much renters would pay. I'd probably start by charging landlords a fee to be listed in your database.

Look for niches. For instance, rentals around colleges and universities. Or maybe short-term rentals. Or some other angle or angles.

Hope that helps.
1 vote
Belinda Spil…, Agent, Denver, CO
Thu Feb 3, 2011
To start a property management company, you should get your real estate license first. There are many specific laws regarding security deposits and other aspects of property management. We have a fellow in our office who only does property management. He gets quite a bit of referral business from us (real estate agents) and does a great job. He basically meets with the clients, gives a rent recommendation, charges a sign up fee ($350-500) and then advertises the property to rent. Once he gets a renter in, he gets 15% of the rental income each month. He advises the owners when repairs are needed and coordinates with service people to handle the work. Hope this helps.
1 vote
James Gordon…, Agent, Hamilton, OH
Thu Feb 3, 2011
Be careful and check with your state on what you need to do. Here is an example of what happens in Ohio.

MATTHEW FAIRFIELD, Cleveland, Ohio, was found by the Commission to have violated
Revised Code 4735.02, unlicensed activity, and was assessed a civil penalty in the amount of
$384,000.00. The Commission found that Matthew Fairfield, when for another, for a fee,
commission, or other valuable compensation or the expectation of a fee, commission, or other
compensation; rented, or leased or negotiated the rental or lease of real estate; managed or
offered, or attempted to operate or manage real estate; held himself out as engaged in the
selling, exchanging, purchasing, renting, or leasing of real estate without first being licensed
under Revised Code Chapter 4735.
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