10 Questions To Ask Your Rental Agent


What are the up front costs associated with this unit?

Your first question: So what’s this going to cost me? It’s a fair question – we’d ask it, too. While it won’t always be the same across the board, we can definitely shed some light on what to expect. Some owners will not collect a last month’s rent or security deposit. Ask your agent the exact up front costs of what you need to pay, and when those payments are due so that you can plan and budget accordingly.


Does the owner have a preferred lease length? 

Many assume that 12 months is a preferred lease length. But, did you know that some owners would prefer to get off of the September lease cycle? You can also ask your landlord if the landlord prefers a longer lease, closer to 16 months.


Could you estimate my monthly utility costs? 

Agents can easily obtain a low, average and high quote on monthly payment based on the current tenant’s usage. 


What do you know about the neighbors?  

While your agent has to abide by federal Fair Housing laws, they can talk to you about neighbors they personally may have moved into the building, or any general information of the building population.


How long have you been working with this owner? 

While working with a new owner is not a bad thing, perhaps your agent has a longstanding relationship with the owner and can elaborate on nuances, preferences, and other facts about the owner or property manager.  Metro Realty has the most long standing, exclusive relationships with major property management companies and small landlords of any office in the greater Boston area – giving us a leg up on assisting you to find the perfect fit with a landlord.  


When can I expect my application to be approved?

Most applications responses come within 24-48 hours. If an owner is traveling, or there is an approaching holiday, know that the approval timeframe could be longer than normal, especially if there are multiple channels reading your application paperwork. 


Could you explain this part of the lease?

The common lease is full of legal jargon, most of which is well understood by your agent. While an attorney would give you the best answer, most agents will likely be able to put forms or provisions into layman’s terms for you – we’ll break it down so you feel confident about what you’re signing on for.


How many apartments share the laundry? 

Is your laundry coin operated and shared? Make sure you are aware of the total number of people sharing your washers and dryers.


How far in advance do I have to notify the landlord of my intention to renew?

Some landlord will prefer to get their units on the market as early as 6 months prior. Other only require 30-60 days notice. Check in with your agent for required renewal periods.


How many agencies show this apartment? 

Your agent can likely tell you how much interest he or she has on the unit. Sometimes a landlord may list their unit with 2 or 3+ other agencies to maximize coverage.  By offering the greatest number of exclusive listings in the greater Boston area, Metro Realty is able to minimize the risk of your favorite apartment being rented by another agency before your application has a chance to be considered by the landlord.  Know your competition!