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3 Reasons to Pay a Broker’s Fee

When you’re on the hunt for a rental, it can be tempting to jump on a unit designated as a “no-fee” apartment. Who wants to pay extra money for a broker’s services? After all, you already have to worry about paying for your rent and security deposit. As it turns out, there are some reasons why it might make sense to pay a broker’s fee to lock down your next place.

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1. The Cost Doesn’t Disappear

If you don’t pay a broker’s fee, it doesn’t just go away. The building or landlord is then responsible for the cost, meaning it could be added onto your monthly rent. So if you stay for more than one year, you could essentially be paying the equivalent of a broker’s fee multiple times.

To find out if a no-fee option is actually saving you money, you can look up the prices of similar apartments nearby that require a broker’s fee and do the math. Sometimes, a listing price can be cut down if there’s a required fee, so a no-fee arrangement may not offer the savings you think it does. It all depends on whether you’d prefer to pay the fee upfront or over the course of your stay.

Related Article: How to Find the Right Rental on a Budget

2. Brokers Have Knowledge and Access to Units

3 Reasons to Pay a Broker’s Fee

There’s a reason why these people charge a fee for their services. Finding an apartment on your own can be a real headache that sucks up all your free time. Brokers know a thing or two about the market you’re renting in and understand how the rental process works. They also have access to apartments you might not be able to find on DIY Internet searches.

Brokers can schedule appointments so you don’t have to communicate with landlords yourself. They can go with you to look at apartments and (hopefully) get a sense of what you like and don’t like so they can better tailor your search. Their expertise can also come in handy when it comes to completing all the pesky paperwork you’ll face once you find a new spot.

A broker can act as your expert advocate every step of the way. They can tell you what financial information you’ll need and guide you through the application signing process. If you find a good one and you’re transparent about your needs and priorities, a broker can be a big help.

Find out now: How much house can I afford?

3. You Can Negotiate

3 Reasons to Pay a Broker’s Fee

What you see is not always what you have to pay. The rental game involves a series of negotiations and the broker’s fee is no exception. Although some more established agencies list set costs, there may be some wiggle room since the amounts aren’t set by law. It might be worth it to try to get a lower price.

You could get lucky if you’re an attractive tenant (financially and from past experiences) or a rental has been on the market for a while. Remember what you have on your side because you can use it to your advantage. If you’ve got a good poker face or you’re not known to back down from a challenge, you might be able compromise or stop the discussion before the broker collects commission.

Bottom line: While it may seem backward, paying a broker’s fee can save you money and lots of stress (and probably tears).

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/shironosov, ©iStock.com/DragonImages, ©iStock.com/laflor

Liz Smith Liz Smith is a graduate of New York University and has been passionate about helping people make better financial decisions since her college days. Liz has been writing for SmartAsset for more than four years. Her areas of expertise include retirement, credit cards and savings. She also focuses on all money issues for millennials. Liz's articles have been featured across the web, including on AOL Finance, Business Insider and WNBC. The biggest personal finance mistake she sees people making: not contributing to retirement early in their careers.
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