As times get tougher, many real estate agents are looking for ways to make money and have turned to rental referral fees....so the following is ENTIRELY MY FAULT and I'll put on my "big girl pants" and deal with it.
For many years, I have given a referral fee for property and tenant referrals. My fee is more generous than other local property managers and all totaled I have paid out over $80,000 during the last 15 years.
As of last year; however, I stopped listing my rental properties in our local MLS rental section. It was not an effective use of my marketing time AND agents would call with questions when the answers were in the listing under AGENT REMARKS.......this is a SUCH a BIG DEAL to where our local MLS is now mandating agents attend a class before the end of the year to remain in MLS.
So....I've elected to spend my time creating my online web listings and established an AGGRESSIVE daily routine to post listings on Craigslist and am no longer dealing with the arcane listing form of our MLS.
Unfortunately, this procedure has NOW created another effect that I need to deal with. Because many area property managers also no longer list rental properties in the MLS, rental prospects are now finding our listings on Craigslist. In the instance of my properties, they realize my eLeasing procedure requires a pre-qualification step so they find a Realtor thinking that an agent can get them in to see my listing.....like the agent is the "magic key" to get around my procedure.
Agents may or may not realize that the property is currently occupied * my listing photos show the property vacant * and while a homeowner selling may welcome people coming through their home on short notice, rental residents do not. The pre-qualification step is to allow me to sort through prospects whose moving time-frame might not match the current residents' lease end and property availability; who might have pets that are unsuitable; and, yes, who might have credit issues....I am the GATEKEEPER to my residents' homes and not everyone gets to go inside.
So now I am dealing agents who say they represent rental prospects who, in all likelihood, I have already been in contact with either via e-mail on on the phone and while the agents may or may not even have the rudimentary information on these prospects, they expect a rental referral fee. They have forgotten that my offer of compensation would normally be in the MLS listing * where these things are agreed to per MLS rules * and since my listings are no longer there, there is no compensation offer.
Fortunately, I am leasing 2 to 5 home a week through my process and while agents question my methods and procedures, my client owners are happy to not have ad costs and lost rent and my residents are happy because they do not have strange people coming into their homes.