Am I a "Realtor Snob"

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Paradise, Satellite Beach, FL

Being a Realtor in Melbourne Florida, you come across very diverse communities, ecosystems and types of housing.  I rarely "do" rentals but I seem to have stumbled across a wave of them this month.  I began helping one single mom that needed assistance getting into a rental she desired.  I help her get into a rental and so far she has sent me three QUALITY referrals.  

I have two other clients that are looking for rentals as well.  As with my buyers, I sat with them and reviewed their desires and created a web-based listing cart tailored to their needs.  I can do that from my iPhone via a LogMeIn Ignition while sitting in their living room or at a Starbucks.

After sitting with the first client, I realized they had the capacity to purchase.  I teach a First-Time Home Buyer Class once a month and they will be attending.  I've connected her with a local reputable lender and I'm certain we can get them at least $7500 in downpayment assistance via US Bank Corp and possible much more with County or the City of Melbourne Purchase Assistance Program.

The last "renter" is completing an app today.  She told me, "I've worked with Realtors before.  They treated me like a second class citizen.  Thanks for not being a Realtor snob."  Six months from now, her credit will be solid and she'll begin looking to purchase a home.  I think she may just call me.

Unless your Real Estate business is focused on property management, you're probably not going to make a killing on rentals.  Yes, my family has to eat as well.  You just may want to consider others that may need assistance.  Good seed sown is good seed reaped.



Since posting I've had questions on my process with renters.  In general, I only show rentals that are advertised on the MLS.  As you know, it would be too difficult to research all non-MLS rental opportunities.  Before I move forward, I educate them on buying vs. renting and see if I can convert them to a buyer.  Our FTHB programs can provide $7k - $25k of downpayment assistance.  If they can convince me that rental is the best route for them, we'll move forward.

The typical rental on our MLS tends to pay around 25% of the first month lease.  I'll meet with the renter first and get a "feel" for whether this person is truly ready to get moving.  I set them up with an automated listing cart through our MLS system where they are magically notified of rentals (meeting their criteria) as they hit the MLS.  The potential renter receives an email each time a new property is added to their listing cart.  At that point I advise the renter to 1) drive by properties they are interested in and 2) narrow the list to 4 homes.  Then we'll schedule the appointment and view the properties.  

We'll pick one and fill out the application together, I scan the pages on the iPhone and email the app on the spot to the listing office.  The client will get a certified check one of us will take it to the office as well.  We'll see what happens from there.

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  Joseph E. Robinson III, GRI, e-Pro Realtor®
Licensed Florida Real Estate Sales Associate
Coldwell Banker Paradise®
232 5th Ave., Indialantic, FL 32903
321-300-6876 - Mobile, Text Message

Comments (123)

Maria Wallace

Joseph, very good information! I've encountered many renters in the Orlando area myself in the past year. It's part of the natural "cleansing" process after the troubles we have had with Foreclosures here. We never know what those relationships will lead to in the future. As our Market improves (and I believe it is happening now) many of these people will be able to buy a home again. Good stuff!

Jul 16, 2011 01:32 PM
Jean Marie Ragus
American Dream Realty - Santa Cruz, CA

Its another service that I now offer. In my area, a rather ordinary 3 bedroom home rents for $2300-2800 a month. With first,last, deposit its far more expensive to get into a rental than a FHA/Homepath loan. Most of the renters that Ihave are those that have either gone from a BK/Short Sale experience. Foe me, its helping my clients through a journey of recovery. There is a small compensation, but its nice to have a stable amount of money one can count on. Also, many tenants will one day be ready to buy a home, and I'll likely be the one they think of.

Jul 16, 2011 01:43 PM
Diane Dames
Broker Associate & Leasing Consultant@ Lions Share Realty - Victorville, CA
The Real Estate Chick

I have always done rentals in addition to buyers and sellers. It should always be about helping people no matter what their needs are not just going after dollar signs. People will always remember what you did to help them and the rewards will be plenty. Kudos to you for not being a "Realtor Snob".

Jul 16, 2011 04:22 PM
Logan Payne
Orlando Financial Cenetr, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Hello Joe! I have to ask; how do you scan a document, in the field with your iPhone?
Jul 16, 2011 11:17 PM

Very good Post, Joseph.  My  first experience with a rental became such a challenge that I would not let it go until I placed my client.  The challenges were small budget, recent bancruptcy, and a dog!  Because I stayed with it until everyone was satisfied,  That client became a GREATreferral source!  "From little acorns mighty oaks grow"

Jul 17, 2011 12:23 AM
Susan Lehmkuhl
Buy and Sell Smart Realty, LLC - Phoenix, AZ
Associate Broker

I've always done rentals....both sides.  My philosophy is that landlords will hopefully be repeat customers.  When tenants move out they'll call me to help find new ones and if the landlord wants more investment properties, they'll call me too. 

Tenants, too, can be repeat customers and sometimes you can convert them to buyers. 

The commission on rentals is usually small and that's why our brokerage charges a retainer fee to tenants for agent assistance.  8 times out of 10, the tenants pay it with no questions asked. 

Jul 17, 2011 03:25 AM
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY


You rock. 

Jul 17, 2011 04:56 AM
Deb Espinoza
Stage Presence Homes, San Diego Real Estate - Ramona, CA
GRI, Broker, SRS,ABR ePro, SFR, CNE

Joseph- Very smart decision. Just because they SAY they want to find a rental doesn't mean renting is their only option and you are helping to educate and assist people who may have never thought they could own. You are going to OWN the world! ! LOL

Jul 17, 2011 10:07 AM
Bruce Fecteau
Century21 Beachside MV - Mission Viejo, CA

I make "no distinction" between clients, regardless of their economic standing. We treat "everyone" with the utmost respect and assitance until "they" prove that they don't respect our efforts.

All of the clients we work with are opportunities for future business...period.

Best of luck this year.

Jul 17, 2011 01:19 PM
Jill Mitchell
Joseph, If I knew the compensation on rentals was normally 25%, I would consider assisting renters too. I belong to two local realtor boards. One usually offers only 10% of first month's rent as compensation so at best one could 'make' $100-$125. I have a real estate partner and we split 50-50 so i do not feel working with a renter for $50 or so is worth it. The other board clarifies that NO compensation may be offered on rentals so I do not even attempt to assist rental prospects with that board. Who would blame us? I love being a realtor but can only do so many hours as a volunteer.
Jul 17, 2011 11:40 PM
Tara Wolfe Salas
Exit Realty NE Houston - Kingwood, TX

I am interested in how you scan the docs into your iphone. Also I am assuming the app you are using to set up a cart or search for properties is specific to your mls? I rarely do rentals and we get 50% of the first month. They just so often don't pan out and can be very time-consuming since most are credit challenged.

Jul 18, 2011 11:27 AM
Cindy Billman, CDPE, SFR
SIlver Keys Realty - Grapevine, TX

Great post! Don't overlook those renters - they are future business!!

Jul 18, 2011 02:23 PM
Debra Gould
Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc. - Toronto, ON
The Staging Diva

Joseph, you've surely set yourself apart in my mind with your recent blog posts. If anyone ever needs an agent in your area, I know who I'll recommend!

Jul 18, 2011 05:52 PM
Karen Hunt, Skyline - Seattle, WA
Seattle Real Estate Broker | Hunt Seattle Homes, Skyline Properties

I'm impressed by your business and client interaction Joseph! I have chosen not to do rentals because I don't feel I am able to give a comprehensive list of rentals off the MLS and it's a lot of time and energy for very little return. Given that I love your approach and kudos to you for making it work for you!

Jul 19, 2011 07:22 AM
Steven Zimmerman
Belloise Realty Tropical - New Port Richey, FL
Husband & Father, @Gulf_Harbors Resident Realtor


Great feature on such a fruitful subject. Its nice doing good deeds, after all I was raised to hold a door for a Woman and the such, and even to hope in the back of ones mind that our good efforts will pay off here or beyond, but ours is a business and everyone has their place - professionally speaking.

Yes, I've done my fair share of Rentals, in and around my Coastal Boating Community durring the decade-plus that I represented the local Waterfront Developer, also for those investor-buyers that purchsed Canal Homes as Income Producing that I would list.

I am a Waterfront Specialist, and have spent well over a decade becoming as some call me 'Florida's Waterfront Poster Boy' but just because my Family owned Commercial property [and I have the knowledge], doesn't mean I mix apples with oranges.

Clearly you are providing a great Service ! ...and as long as it works for you - God Bless ! 

Steven Zimmerman Realtor ABR GRI / GULF HARBORS Resident & Specialist / Belloise Tropical Realty

Living-in and Selling Florida's all year Waterfront Lifestyle on the Gulf of Mexico



Jul 20, 2011 05:46 AM
Joy Carter & Jeff Booker Brother and Sister Team
Keller Williams Parkland/Coral Springs Realty-GreatFloridaHomes Team - Coral Springs, FL
Trust Your Family's Move To Our Expertise!

We've experienced the same surprise from people, when we have helped them with rentals.  I have no clue where they got the idea that I only sell homes.

I am constantly saying if it has walls, a roof and sits on a piece of land - I handle it!!  Joy

Jul 20, 2011 04:00 PM
Marsha Cash
RE/MAX Advantage - Stockbridge, GA

I'm going to implement the drive by first, pick four and then we will go see procedure!

Jul 21, 2011 08:42 AM
Kathleen Gallagher McIver CRS, SRES
RE/MAX Central Realty - Orlando, FL
A lifetime of local knowledge and experience

Thank you for the post!  I too "do" rentals for my clients and it has paid off - BIG time!  Other agents think I am crazy and wasting my time.  I am the one laughing all the way to the bank!  My clients are grateful I am willing to spend my time helping them anyway I can.

Keep up the good work - it is appreciated out there!

Congrats on your feature.

Jul 21, 2011 11:43 AM
Matt Robinson
Professional Investors Guild - Pensacola, FL

I am certainly glad you are getting long term business by working with renters, but if not working with them makes me a snob, then so be it.  I know you can get future business from renters, but there's also a lot of people who are renters for a reason....because they can't get financed.  You ALSO get future business from BUYERS, in the form of referrals and repeat business, so I'd prefer to focus my time on people who have already proven they can be financed, as opposed to those who hope they can. 

I think Realtors who will work with renters are fantastic though, and they are definitely a segment of our population that needs our professional help and advice. 

Jan 13, 2012 04:34 AM
Matt Robinson
Professional Investors Guild - Pensacola, FL

By the way, my nephew's name is Joseph Robinson....cute little hispanic boy who lives in Brownsville, TX.  You should see people's reactions when I show them pictures....because I'm as white as white can be, but my brother met a nice Mexican girl, and the rest is history. 

Jan 13, 2012 04:35 AM