Knowledge and Learning

Do it yourself?  Or get help?

If you’re looking to rent a property in the next few months, you generally have two ways you can do it:  either you search completely on your own, or you can enlist the help of a real estate agent to assist you.

Over the years, we’ve helped a LOT of people find places in Milton.  This article is designed to explain exactly how renting a property works, and what our role can be in the process of finding the right property to lease.

Be prepared… in today’s tight rental market, it can be frustrating, expensive and competitive to find the right place to live.  Why make it even harder by doing it on your own… especially when there’s no additional cost!  Sounds too good to be true?  Keep reading…


How much does it cost to get help?

Absolutely nothing.  When you find a property listed on the MLS system, the Landlords have already agreed to pay us.  Generally, our compensation is one half month’s rent, paid by the Landlord via the brokerage who has listed the property.

Prior to starting the process, you’ll be asked to sign an agreement that you understand we’ll get paid that way, but that you understand our obligation is to protect your interests as a Tenant.


What benefits does the Tenant receive?

Here are just a few of the ways you can benefit from having a licensed real estate agent with you through the leasing process:



We can help you identify the right areas and styles of homes that will fit your needs that are listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

Properties not listed with an agent, like purpose-built rental buildings and Landlords advertising for their own Tenants are outside of our normal inventory, since they have not agreed to pay an agent upfront like an MLS listing.  There’s an increasing number of cases of fraud with listings on sites like Kijiji, so renting through licensed real estate agents provides you some level of assurance that the transaction is legal and not a scam.


We will accompany you on all showings

Once we’ve identified the properties that fit your needs, we will be right there with you on showings.  Our goal is to help you understand the pros and cons of each home you see.


We will negotiate the offer and take care of the paperwork

Most Tenants find it uncomfortable to negotiate a lease, so leave it up to us.  We’ll structure an offer that’s fair for everybody, and we’ll make sure the right clauses are added in the offer to protect your interests.


We will help you understand the next steps

From arranging utilities and insurance, to knowing when and where to pick up the keys, our job doesn’t stop when the paperwork is done.  It’s important that all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed, all the way until you get your keys and move in.

As you can see, it’s like having your own personal concierge from the beginning right until the end (and beyond).


What do we need to get started?

Landlords listed with real estate agents on the MLS generally have higher expectations than Landlords advertising directly.  In order to be successful, you’ll want to have the following prepared BEFORE you start looking at properties:



Credit report

Typically ordered through Equifax or TransUnion, you want this to be a recent report ordered in the last 30 days.  Landlords generally look for credit scores above 650, but are willing to listen to reasonable explanations if credit is bruised.


Verification of income

Some Tenants will provide copies of paystubs, or employment letters, or both.  In some cases, support payments or additional income like worker’s compensation may be required.  A Landlord will want to see some kind of proof that you can pay the bills.  A general guideline is that most Landlords like to see proof that your gross monthly income (before tax) is at least 3x the rental amount.


Rental application

The most common form used is the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) Rental Application.  You’ll include phone numbers for references and previous landlords, along with some basic information like who will be living in the home, and other financial commitments.


First and last month rent

This is generally provided within 24 hours of your accepted offer to lease, and with most MLS listings a bank draft, money order or certified cheque is required.  A Tenant who is not working, or who is new to Canada may voluntarily choose to offer more than first and last month to make a Landlord feel more comfortable with their financial situation, but it can never ever be forced upon a Tenant to provide more than first and last month.


Generally speaking, in Milton and most of Halton region, condos rent for $2,000 to $3,000, and houses from $2,500 to $4,000+, depending on features.    Even basic basement apartments are getting harder to find for less than $1,500 to $1,600.  Be realistic about budget up front, and your agent will be able to guide you to your best options.

It’s also suggested that you disclose any information to your agent about whether you smoke, whether you have pets, or any other information that might affect your ability to rent a property.

Tenants are also responsible for the cost of heating, electricity and water usage, which are paid above and beyond the monthly rent, unless otherwise indicated.

We say this all the time – surprises are great for birthdays, but not for real estate transactions.


Help is just around the corner…

Just contact us if you’d like some help, and we’ll do our best to make sure you have a FIVE-STAR real estate leasing experience that you’ll love talking about.

No transaction is too big or too small for us.  We believe in making your journey memorable, with the ultimate hope that you find us our next client, if we’ve earned your trust along the way.