In Virginia, tenants can hire real estate agents to help them find and negotiate for a rental…. There is a written agreement that must be signed to create this type of relationship. If you do not have a written agreement, you do not have a tenant agent, even if you are working with an agent.
A TENANT AGENT:
DON’T HIRE A TENANT AGENT:
DO HIRE A TENANT AGENT:
HOW DOES A TENANT AGENT GET PAID?
TYPICALLY, if you hire a tenant agent, you will not have to pay for the assistance! You really can’t beat that for value, can you? We usually get paid by the landlord for helping to secure a new tenant for them. But that is not always true.
SOMETIMES you’ll find a rental where the landlord is not offering to pay for the tenant agent’s fee. This is fairly common when you’re renting at rental communities (I’d estimate about 50% of the time), or sometimes when you find a landlord through a private listing like Craigslist or a friend. In these cases, if you’re unsuccessful getting the landlord to pay the fee (I would always attempt to negotiate that) the tenant will be required to pay the fee, which is usually 25-50% of one month’s rent.
ADDITIONAL FEES…Even if you find a rental where the tenant agent commission is being paid by the landlord, there could be additional fees called “additional commission”, “administrative fees” or “transaction fees”. I NEVER CHARGE THESE FEES, but if you are using anyone else, especially someone with a large regional or national brokerage, they are be common so be sure to ask.
YOU MIGHT NEED TO PAY A RETAINER… Owners pay agents once the tenants move in. So, sometimes a retainer is required by the agent up front. In those cases, the tenant pays the commission up front and then once the brokerage is paid from the owner, that retainer is refunded to the tenant. A retainer is not always required, but when hiring a tenant agent, this should be something that is discussed early in the process.
DO ALL REAL ESTATE AGENTS OFFER TENANT AGENCY?
No. But I do! So be sure to reach out to me if you’re looking for a home in the Dulles area (anywhere in Loudoun County-including Leesburg, Ashburn, Sterling, Potomac Falls, Brambleton, Purcellville, Hamilton, Round Hill; and also parts of Fairfax County – including Reston, Herndon, Chantilly and Centerville).