8 Pros and Cons of Renting Your House Without a Real Estate Agent

Do you ever wonder if it’s worth putting your rental property on the market yourself without using a realtor? Here are 8 pros and cons to renting your home without an agent.

Home for rent
photo credit: Thirdman / Pexels

1. Pro: You’ll save money

Saving money is the most obvious pro in favor of renting your property without a real estate agent. Anytime you avoid hiring third parties, you automatically save money. If you skip the realtor you’ll save on commission fees.

However, the benefits of working with an experienced agent usually outweigh the cons, so keep that in mind.

2. Con: You might not have proper documentation

Proper and thorough paperwork mitigates legal issues with tenants. For example, if a tenant decides to sue you for wrongful eviction, you’ll need strong paperwork to prove that you did everything by the book.

Although your real estate agent won’t be helping you with evictions, they will be marketing your property, connecting with prospective tenants, and getting their paperwork in order. If a tenant sues you for any reason and your original lease agreement or other paperwork was never properly completed, it can work against you in court.

3. Pro: You might rent your property faster

A real estate agent will be extremely thorough when helping you rent your property. This isn’t a bad thing, but it can make the process take longer. For example, you might feel comfortable renting to someone you meet at your local bakery, draw up a lease the same day, and let them move in that same week. A real estate agent will gather their information, run a background check and credit report, and scrutinize their source of income.

4. Con: You might not charge the right rent

Determining proper rent is easier said than done. Even when comparing your place to others in the same area, you’re going to see major differences in price. A real estate agent will know what specific factors determine the right price for rent. If you don’t have that experience, you’ll either end up charging way too much or not enough rent.

Real estate marketing

5. Pro: You know your property best

There are some realtors who will do their research before working to rent your property, but not all will make the effort. Since you know your property best, if you rent it yourself you can tell prospects everything they might want to know about the house, including all the amenities, enticing features, property taxes, and average utility bills. You can also tell tenants about nearby attractions, parks, restaurants, public transportation, and more.

6. Con: You might make a rookie mistake

Everyone makes mistakes, but when it comes to renting your property, you can’t afford to make the wrong mistakes. For example, if you advertise your rental unit with discriminatory preferences, you could be held liable under the Fair Housing Act. When working with a real estate agent, they won’t make this mistake because they will know what’s considered legal and your ads will comply with local, state, and federal landlord-tenant laws.

7. Pro: You can ask questions

Provided you follow the Fair Housing rules, when you skip using a realtor, you can ask prospective tenants questions and get a feel for them in person. For instance, you might want to ask them why they’re moving, how many people will live in the home, how long they’ve held their current job, and any other questions that will help you make your decision.

When you meet with tenants in person, you can spot red flags that a realtor might not catch. After all, it’s your property and you have a financial stake in how its maintained. You’re automatically more invested in the outcome.

8. Con: You have to do all the work

Does sifting through applications, interviewing prospective tenants, and running credit/background checks sound like something you want to do? If not, you won’t enjoy the process of renting your property. Although it’s a great idea to connect personally with your applicants, it’s also time-consuming and can be frustrating if you have other things to do, like take care of a family or work another job.

Real estate business meeting with buyers

Should you use a realtor to rent your home?

As you can see, the benefits of using a realtor outweigh the cons. Even though using a real estate agent will cost you commission fees, having peace of mind and knowing your property has been rented properly is well worth the cost.