Hidy Ho wrote:
Why do I get a sense that finding a good and honest real estate agent is as easy as finding a good and honest used car salesmen in USA
If fixed commission is acceptable business practice, then I may consider this route. My main concern is to get someone working for ME and not the LL (which I figured out means LandLord) and get me the best possible rental term, get all the legal stuff squared away and help me to get settled down in a new country with one less thing to worry about.
Hidy Ho <--- drives a BMW and will never buy a Mercedes - and do believe Honda and Toyotas are fine cars
If you have all these misgivings, you can simply choose to work for YOURSELF and not deal through an agent at all. It's that simple. The work that agents do is relatively simple and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to be able to handle it.
If you want an agent who works for YOUR interests, then you have to pay them fees. The current commission structure is based on CUSTOM, not on the hard letter of the law. Because real estate agents are all self employed and the industry is perfectly competitive (with little to differentiate one agent from the other), they usually adopt the same sort of fee structure. There is simply no hard and fast rule stating how much they are allowed to charge, and you are better off asking them about this upfront.
However, you will need to understand that the agents' commission (based on CUSTOM) is pegged to two factors:
1) Monthly Rent
2) Duration of Lease
So it is understandable and perfectly reasonable for them to not be overly enthusiastic about negotiating for a lower rent on your behalf.
What you need to do is tell them upfront that your budget is $XXXX and you will not be prepared to pay even one dollar above that, and if they keep 'recommending' you properties that are above your budget, you will walk. You need to be firm.