It is not necessary to use a real estate broker to find and rent a house, according to Tim Houghten for RealEstate.com. Renters can find homes on their own by exploring a neighborhood, reading newspaper classifieds and viewing online listings. However, brokers may make the rental process easier, reports Lew Sichelman for the Los Angeles Times.
While a real estate agent is not necessary to find a rental home, an agent is often used in larger cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, explains Sichelman. Even in smaller cities, real estate agents can make the search easier, and they may have connections with landlords and information on properties that are not available elsewhere.
Because they view houses every day, real estate agents have a familiarity and expertise with rental properties that most renters do not, claims Sichelman. They are also in a position to learn of vacancies before they are listed giving their clients an advantage over other prospective tenants. Agents can save renters time by pre-screening properties, filling out rental applications and preparing other documents on the renter's behalf. Real estate brokers charge a commission for finding rental properties. However, landlords may pay a portion of the agent's fee.