Renting a place: private party vs. realtor

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Scott L, Dec 16, 2006.

  1. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    I see many good deals on Craigslist for rentals in my area, but I have heard that going through a professional leasing company, such as a realtor who will draw up contracts and such, is ultimately the better decision. Dumb question I know, but will a private party make you sign or agree to anything on paper?

    Thanks for any advice or input.
     
  2. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    First off, you're pretty stupid if you don't get a lease. With rents at record highs across the country, you don't want your landlord telling you to fork out more next month or move out.
    Beyond that, it's probably down to luck and personal circumstance. I like going through a realtor because it's another layer of paper trail and another person to turn to if the shit hits the fan.

    I think, though, if both you and the property manager read carefully and sign a lease, you're both bound to it with or without a realtor.
     
  3. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    You can do it without a realtor, but it would be a good idea to go to a place like uslegalforms.com and spend a few bucks to get a decent contract to use.
     
  4. Elizabeth S

    Elizabeth S Producer

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    I've rented 3 different places and never went through a realtor. 2 were private owners (through newspaper ads), and one was a management company that owned the whole apartment building. All of them used the standard rental agreement form which details things like length of the lease, monthy rent due date, how many keys they gave you, etc. They also usually attach the "House rules" which governs the apartment/building. You absolutely need a lease like this in writing to protect both sides.
     
  5. Bonnie*F

    Bonnie*F Stunt Coordinator

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    Lease - Yes! Definitely. It will not only protect you but the management company/owner of the property.
    Before you sign anything, Read, Read, Read. And then ask questions about ANYTHING you need clarification on - no matter how stupid or "understood". I just rented a new apartment - used an apartment finder magazine, then did some research on the web (have a small dog), did a drive-by and only then make the call to make an appointment to see model apartments.

    Questions I asked where about garbage pickup, recycling, parking spaces, what I could and couldn't put on the walls, use of the washer/dryer and a few dozen others. If it isn't spelled out in the lease and 'complex rules', ask! The only stupid question (IMO) is the one not asked.

    If you don't understand legalese and have a friend who does, ask for a translation.

    If you have the time to do all the research and footwork yourself, I'd say pass on the realtor. If you don't have time or are looking for a studio in Manhattan [​IMG], use the realtor.
     
  6. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    I wish my roommate and I had thought to do this. We didn't ask about trash when we signed the lease and, not seeing any dumpsters, assumed trash pickup wasn't included since it wasn't mentioned in the lease. We used a construction dumpster three or four buildings down from September 1 until late November (none of the threatening fine notices associated with the residential dumpsters) when my roommate happened to run into another tenet in the hall and asked her about it. Turns out there'd been a trash room in the basement the whole time! Questions never hurt anybody, and not asking can have serious consequences!
     
  7. Janna S

    Janna S Second Unit

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    Spend some time on your state or local (county or borough) websites and look for information about landlord/tenant laws in your area. Most states that I am familiar with have good information - pamphlets, web pages, etc. that give solid guidance from both the tenant and the landlord perspective. Or there may be a local legal services agency (legal aid, goes by a variety of names throughout the country) that provides information, forms, support, etc. Educate yourself before you deal with anyone - a realtor, a private landlord, a housing seach service, etc.
     
  8. Paul D G

    Paul D G Screenwriter

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    There's nothing wrong with renting from a private renter (my brother owns a number of apartment buildings). But yes, if you're not offered a lease to sign don't move in. Also read the lease over carefully to make sure the landlord isn't making it contractually legal to arbitrarily raise your rent, etc.

    -paul
     

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