Looking for a rental agent in San Francisco
January 18, 2013 4:57 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for a rental agent in San Francisco, but I'm confused about how they work. I am looking for the equivalent of a realtor -- someone who has access to all the listings, and will show me various properties (regardless of who owns them) until I find one I like. Does this exist for renting, and do you have any recommendations for someone who does this work?

I don't want for example this type of guy, who seems to represent only a few properties whose owners have asked him to get them rented. Or this firm, which seems like it just does property management.

You can help me by explaining how rental agents work (how do they make their money?), and/or by pointing me towards any good ones in San Francisco. A SOMA specialist would be particularly great. Thanks.
posted by Susan PG to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Are you moving from New York or somewhere with this is common? This isn't a typical thing in San Francisco like it is in some other places.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 4:59 PM on January 18, 2013

Yeah in San Francisco this is usually called craigslist and a prayer.
posted by magnetsphere at 5:05 PM on January 18, 2013 [4 favorites]

Have you tried looking for relocation specialists? They do, in fact, exist in SF (I used one when my company moved me here in 1999 - old info, I know) although I don't know of any current names. IIRC, my company paid the person a flat fee (not cheap!) to help me figure out neighborhoods, find an apartment (I had a big dog which made it nigh impossible to find a place on my own), move all my crap from KC, etc. etc. If money's not an issue it might be worth a shot.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 5:23 PM on January 18, 2013

I'm a former SF realtor who used to do help relo clients find apartments. As mentioned above, rental agents don't exist in SF like in other cities. My fees were paid by my client's employer. I used craigslist, my relationships with property management companies, my knowledge of the city and particular properties.

Craigslist is the single best resource for most individuals looking for a place on their own. If you need the name of someone, memail me.
posted by shoesietart at 7:20 PM on January 18, 2013

I don't know anyone in SF who has used one. Craigslist is pretty much it here. Padmapper helps although it can be buggy.

Are you sure you want to live in SoMa? It's a popular area for work but I don't know a ton of people who live there, it's pretty dead on the weekends, and I think the only non-awful places are very expensive.
posted by radioamy at 10:46 PM on January 18, 2013

When I first moved here during the dotcom boom, there were services you could pay to get listings, but they still wouldn't show you around.
posted by wintersweet at 11:34 PM on January 18, 2013

I don't have a specific recommendation, but since the real estate bust and the phenomenon of investors paying cash for listings, a lot of realtors have gotten into the business of property management to make it easier for their investor clients.

My suggestion would be to call a few well-established realtors about rentals. If they don't manage rental properties themselves, they'll know someone who does.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 4:36 AM on January 19, 2013

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