Renter Nation: Help This Poor Family Find a Home to Rent, Richardson ISD

Is Dallas getting to be a city of more renters than home-owners? And why is it harder to find homes to rent than to buy? A friend,  a high-profile Dallas photographer, emailed me this very question. When it comes to finding real estate, there are more sites than stars out there where you can search for real estate. Of course, it didn’t use to be this way. Once upon a time before the Internet, the real estate market was a totally different puppy. You relied on Realtors to check out giant MLS books of listings, all updated weekly. There’s the key: the Realtors guarded the information, they controlled it. 

Then the world changed.

Now you have Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, Movoto, Active Rain, HotPads, hundreds of sites out there not to mention brokers and individual agents’ sites so you can shop for a home to buy in multiple places.

But when it comes to leasing, where are the rental sites? For some reason, they just don’t seem as thorough.

My suspicion is that because buying and selling homes is more lucrative for Realtors, many don’t want to mess with rentals. In California, for example, most Realtors will not even touch a rental transaction.

What really gave a kick in the pants to getting real estate listings on line, and what “gently urged” most Realtors to share listing information by a  virtual office Web site, was a 2008 settlement between the Justice Department and the National Association of Realtors. DOJ forced brokerages to share listing data with their rivals, including Internet-based firms that offer rebates or other discounts to buyers willing to do most of the legwork to find a home. DOJ was concerned that agents had a monopoly on sales information. DOJ is also the reason why you are required to register when you are searching on agents’ websites — that was part of the settlement. Of course, that is also capture for the agents.

In most parts of the country, and here in Dallas, brokers share information about properties through the MLS (multiple listing service). It’s a database of property sales histories operated by a group (or groups) on behalf of its members. In Texas, of course, we do not have to disclose sales prices. New York City remains an MLS hold-out: though Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx each have a multiple listing service, many agents in New York City are not members. Rather, they participate in the Real Estate Board of New York, called R.L.S. To rent, you contract with a leasing broker who’s fee is usually one month’s rent, which is pretty standard and also negotiable.

But back to our Dallas family of four seeking a nice house to lease in the Richardson School District: does anyone have a three bedroom, two and a half bath, beautiful home with a leafy back yard and room for kiddos to grow up?

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  • I was recently in the market for a rental home and I can tell you that they are flying off the market. I emailed a number of listings to my realtor on Sunday evening and almost all of them were gone by Tuesday when we went to look. Their realtor should be able to find something for them, but it never hurts to help look as well. A lot of people are listing their home on their own, so I'd suggest driving the neighborhoods they like. Realtor.com also has a great mobile app that can tell you what's available near you (useful when driving the neighborhood). Good luck!

  • I was recently in the market for a rental home and I can tell you that they are flying off the market. I emailed a number of listings to my realtor on Sunday evening and almost all of them were gone by Tuesday when we went to look. Their realtor should be able to find something for them, but it never hurts to help look as well. A lot of people are listing their home on their own, so I'd suggest driving the neighborhoods they like. Realtor.com also has a great mobile app that can tell you what's available near you (useful when driving the neighborhood). Good luck!

  • Try Rentals.com or RentalHouses.com. It will also pull listings that people put there, but not on MLS.

  • Try Rentals.com or RentalHouses.com. It will also pull listings that people put there, but not on MLS.

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  • I have 2 homes I just sold to clients in Richardson Heights with the intentions of renting them out. Both are super clean and on great streets. Only problem is that they are 3 bedrooms/1.1 baths. One is 1300 sq ft and the other is 1700 sq ft (JJ Pearce HS)If they are looking in the $1300 to $1450 range please email me. We do not plan on putting them on MLS because the lease market is doing very well there and since I representing them on the buyer side of the transaction I would rather see them lease it without paying commission.

    Bryan Crawford
    bcrawfordgroup@gmail.com

  • I have 2 homes I just sold to clients in Richardson Heights with the intentions of renting them out. Both are super clean and on great streets. Only problem is that they are 3 bedrooms/1.1 baths. One is 1300 sq ft and the other is 1700 sq ft (JJ Pearce HS)If they are looking in the $1300 to $1450 range please email me. We do not plan on putting them on MLS because the lease market is doing very well there and since I representing them on the buyer side of the transaction I would rather see them lease it without paying commission.

    Bryan Crawford
    bcrawfordgroup@gmail.com