Ever want to know what it really costs the average family to rent a house in your area? We get questions all the time about what rental rates are. For apartments they are pretty predictable, but the rents for houses vary quite a bit. It’s supply and demand out there right now, and like houses for sale, the supply of houses for rent in many areas is lagging behind the demand.
Let’s look at some rents. To compare, we decided to look for a 3 bedroom house with 2500 square feet of living space – which is pretty typical for a family of four. These numbers came off Zillow – they have a rental section now and they’re usually a good source for homes on the MLS. Craigslist is another great source for rental houses. On Zillow we chose the closest house to the 2500 square foot target. It’s not scientific by any means, but realistic given the varying number of houses available in each market. For example, there are only a handful of rental houses available total in Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda…
$5500/mo – Lamorinda
$4700/mo – Danville
$4300/mo – Pleasant Hill
$4100/mo – Walnut Creek
$3950/mo – San Ramon
$3950/mo – Pleasanton
$3200/mo – Dublin
$3100/mo – Livermore
The other question that often comes up is should you use a Realtor to lease a house? Our answer is a resounding “yes”! Here are some reasons why. A lot of houses for rent are handled by property management companies which can sometimes be difficult to deal with. You should always have some sort of professional look over the lease to make sure everything you have agreed to is in the lease. And every lease should have an “escape clause” that outlines what it will cost you to break the lease if you have some sort of life change. Finally, Realtors know how to negotiate, whether it is a different minimum term than the landlord wants, fees for pets, the escape clause, utilities etc.
All these items usually aren’t as cast in stone as with an apartment and a Realtor’s help provides a lot of piece of mind for a little money. How much does it cost to use a realtor to rent a house? Much of the time the landlord pays the fee so nothing. Other times the landlord will pay half the fee. The standard fee is usually a month’s rent but if the landlord won’t cover any of it then we won’t charge a client more than half a month’s rent. Rates vary by Realtor so make sure you check this out ahead of time.