Good afternoon Natasha,
Iâ€™m no real estate agent, just a humble Mortgage Banker, but I can give you some guidance on your search for the right rental apartment.
In my experience in the real estate trade, Iâ€™ve discovered that the consumer is best served by adopting some simple strategies, whether youâ€™re buying a home, selling one, or renting an apartment.
First: remember that real estate agents work on commission. The better quality agents---and those with the most experience---will be testing you from the initial contact to determine if youâ€™re serious and will commit to using their services. Why? Because real estate is like any other business; you donâ€™t sit at a table in a restaurant to read the menu without actually buying food at some point. Itâ€™s the same concept: the experienced real estate professional has to earn a living by renting apartments to serious and qualified prospective renters.
Therefore, the smart consumer should be well-prepared and committed to respecting the real estate professionalâ€™s time. Prepare yourself with three fundamentals: amenities, location, and price.
Know your requirements for the apartment you wish to rent in terms of amenities (one bedroom versus three bedrooms; elevator building or private house), location (proximity to public transportation or need for parking), and price. If you present yourself as well-prepared youâ€™ll have a better chance of working with an experienced agent who will work hard to find you the right apartment.
Second, start with the internet---especially TRULIA.com---but stay â€œlocal.â€ Donâ€™t think a real estate agent in Brooklyn can find you an apartment in Queens, or vice versa. Here on TRULIA.com you can easily find a local professional by clicking on â€œFIND an AGENTâ€ at the top of this page. There you can hone in on a seasoned professional in exactly the area where you wish to rent your apartment.
TRULIA provides exceptional tools to help you as a consumer understand the quality of the professional youâ€™re working with. Read the agentâ€™s profile; check out the recommendations from previous clients; get to know the level of experience of the agent and the areas that agent covers.
Third, real estate agents are prevented by Federal regulations from answering certain types of questions. They cannot discuss schools or school districts, crime statistics, and a variety of other issues prohibited by Fair Housing regulations. If your agent is vague when you ask certain types of questions, now you know why.
Finally, demonstrate your level of seriousness to your real estate agent. Show up on time for your appointments to view apartments. If youâ€™re required to submit documents for the Landlord to review with your rental application, get them into your agentâ€™s hands pronto. Not only does this help you potentially get one step ahead of a competing renter, but youâ€™ll be viewed by the Landlord as a responsible renter. Landlords prefer responsible renters, donâ€™t they?
I hope that helps you improve the results of your search for an apartment, and helps you with a better quality experience.
*If you thought my answer was helpful, please give me a â€œThumbs Upâ€ or â€œBest Answer.â€ Thanks!