As you can probably guess, this is my favorite tip. So while I have this as tip #7, it actually is the first thing taht you should do before you do anything else. Don't contact any landlord, not even your current landlord, before selecting and engaging a tenant rep.
The rental rates landlords quote already include a fee for your representative. So if you don’t use one, it’s like paying for a service that you don’t receive. The landlord may offer to reduce the rent by the amount they would have paid a broker, but if the landlord is so willing to do this, you have ask yourself, why? Why doesn't the landlord want a tenant rep involved? This list is long and includes all of the tips I write about, but here are two biggies.
Market dynamics change daily. A veteran tenant rep is equipped to use market information and conditions to the tenant’s financial advantage. All landlords negotiate and strategize to their financial advantage...and they should. Tenants need to do the same thing, but they are often "out-gunned" because they aren't in the real estate business. The tenant rep levels the playing field for the tenant.
Be sure that your tenant rep is exclusive. He should only represent tenants. If he represents landlords too, it could create a major conflict of interest. An exclusive tenant representation firm never wears the landlord hat. He is solely focused on negotiating the best terms for tenants at every building in the local market.