InsideTRAK FAQ

General

BEFORE SIGNING YOUR LEASE: Should you find a private rental, make sure you or the company representing the rental verifies you are working with the rightful owner and property taxes are up-to-date. This can be done in some areas for a minimal fee at BeenVerified or PropertyShark. Lease reviews are available for purchase at TrakTHREE or when you purchase directly from PorchLight.

NOTE: Because scam artists can also see who the owner of the property is and assume that person’s name, be sure to ask the owner for a photo ID for verification.

In most of the United States, the landlord pays the agent a finders fee to list their property and find a tenant. In Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York City (and it’s Burroughs), Fairfield County in Connecticut and the eastern part of New Jersey, that is not the case. The landlord lists the property with a brokerage, but it is the tenant that pays the fee. That fee is determined by the listing brokerage and it is up to the listing brokerage as to whether they split it with your agent. Most of the times, it is shared except for on “exclusive” listings. The fee is the listing brokerage’s compensation for finding a tenant for the property and compensation for your agent’s brokerage for helping/representing you in finding a home and finalizing a lease to rent the property

You may have received a lump-sum payment where the intent is that money is provided to purchase services needed for moving. If you’re not certain, check with your employer or relocation management company.

This all depends on how much notice a landlord requires to terminate a lease. In most areas, that is 30 days, so it would make sense to start looking about a month in advance. In Seattle, most landlords have a 20-day notice to vacate, and other areas, 60-days-notice is required. Our local rental expert will know how much notice is needed and will be able to coach you appropriately. NOTE: Should you be looking for an apartment, you can visit the area anytime as apartments will always have units coming available; however, if you are looking for a house, it is best to look within 30-45 days of your desired move in (unless that area requires a 60-day notice, then you’d look 60-75 days in advance). In places like New York City, rentals are available immediately, so it is expected you would start paying rent right away or within 1-2 weeks. Be sure to discuss this with the expert BEFORE booking your travel to be sure to use that visitation trip wisely. And try to give your expert enough time to plan a thorough itinerary. Purchasing a tour and giving a week’s notice is very helpful, especially if you would like to receive listings in advance. For more on what takes place to prepare, see “So what happens after I purchase a phone consultation or rental tour?”

We highly recommend preparing a pet resume, and if you have multiple pets or a breed that is on the aggressive breed list, offer to purchase liability insurance. More information on both, as well as sample letters, can be found in the “Navigating the Rental Market” e-book.

Why Local Experts Matter

Compiling a rental list is the most time-consuming part of rental finding. Each area is different and there is not one site that aggregates all rentals, there are several. Under TRAKfree, you’ll find numerous websites for searching rentals. Likewise, most sites do not have the ability to accurately reflect current rental availability. When you find a rental you like, it will require contacting the property to confirm current availability and current pricing. The Navigating the Rental Market” e-Book provides more websites and further instructions on how to search, especially in those remote or difficult areas. The local expert will do that search for you when purchasing a rental tour, and in some areas, the local expert is able to offer you listings from their real estate system along with the phone consultation (located under TRAKone).

TRAKtwo offers you a connection to rental experts specializing in the rental market. They have insight on the rental market and they’ll save you time by managing your rental search. Customers find the rental expert helps them identify the neighborhoods and schools, locating the best rental options, qualifying and helping them make an informed leasing decision quickly (see TRAKtwo and TRAKthree). This creates a faster transition and reduces the expense of lodging during your relocation. Read Success Stories

Commissions are not as prevalent with rentals in 99% of the U.S. The local rental professionals are experts in the rental market and are paid a fee by the customer to represent them in this process finding qualified rentals, setting appointments, accompanying customers to view the properties while assisting through the leasing process.

Much like having your house cleaned or car washed, it is more of a convenience; however, if you’ve never rented before or are new to the area, the expert provides a wealth of knowledge on the area helping you understand the neighborhoods, commute times, and when you should start your search. If you have the time to search, you may only need the phone consultation to ensure what you’re finding is what it seems. If you don’t have the time, InsideTRAK saves time and money.

(i.e. Cincinnati – interested in Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio, Washington DC – interested in Virginia/Maryland/DC, New Jersey – interested in NYC, New Jersey or Rockland/Westchester County NY)

You’ll want to pay close attention to the “Areas Served” to be sure the local rental expert covers all areas of interest to you. Should you find, after purchasing a service, that he/she doesn’t cover that area, the service will be canceled. In these situations, we do recommend purchasing from PorchLight as we can coordinate multiple local rental experts to serve you.

Our local rental experts have been working with PorchLight providing rental assistance for years. Most are real estate agents who assist with renting as well as buying and selling. They know it is your intent to rent and you are hiring them for rental assistance and they are THRILLED to serve you.

This means the rental experts have been part of PorchLight’s rental network for years, serving customers just like you and receiving high satisfaction ratings so we can ensure they qualify for the job. Most of the experts have “Feedback” from the renters they’ve assisted to provide you with confidence on their services. Those without posted ratings just haven’t had customers complete the survey for feedback. All our experts average an 84% rental finding record or higher, so you enjoy peace of mind.

See the Rental Tour section under the expert’s profile. It will indicate if the expert only uses the MLS, only apartments and/or provides an unbiased search of all sites where rentals are listed.

Usually, rentals are sent a few days prior to the rental tour. Should you want to get listings sooner, please just ask. Most times, the expert’s concern is that the rentals sent earlier may be rented by the time of the tour.

If you want to receive listings BEFORE scheduling your tour, you’ll want to at least let the expert know when you’ll be available as rentals go quickly. If he/she sends you listings today and you let her know you’d like to see them tomorrow, she may not be available, so it’s imperative that you and the expert work together to set expectations on when you’re both available. Likewise, if she sends you listings today and you want to wait a week to see them, chances are most will no longer be available.

See the section on So what happens after I purchase a phone consultation or rental tour?”

If the expert is a licensed real estate agent, he/she can provide their company lease if the landlord allows it. If it is listed by another agent, management company or apartment community, they will typically provide the lease, but your expert can let you know if it is a state/board approved lease, assist you with negotiations; however, your expert cannot act as an attorney and modify leases. Lease reviews are available for purchase at TRAKthree.

Most of our experts are licensed real estate agents and legally, they are not permitted to “steer” you to areas. Therefore, they are only able to provide you with published information or guide you to places where you can find that information. If schools are the most important factor, the “Navigating the Rental Market” e-book (provided with all services) has a fantastic section on how to find the best schools. In addition, purchasing the TRAKtwo from PorchLight will allow us to do that research for you.

• If they are moving to a tri-state area – we can ensure we get all the folks on the phone consult to help instead of one that just represents one area.
• Agents also cannot steer, so if schools are important, PorchLight would be a good choice because we can get that information.
• If you want PorchLight’s Rental Success Manager involved to support you by making the agent selection for you, facilitating the service arrangements, checking-in on your satisfaction and stepping-in for additional support with questions or perhaps additional rental listings if you need after your rental tour.

The local rental expert may be newer to InsideTRAK and not have received any reviews. He or she has been vetted and trained by PorchLight. After you speak with him/her or have a rental tour, you’ll receive an email confirming that you are satisfied and asking for your feedback. It is greatly appreciated.

Real estate agents cannot tell you if an area is safe or not. It is against fair housing law; however, a great way to find out is:

1) ***Ask the local expert if they would live there or want their son or daughter to live there.
2) Go to or call the local police department to find out the crime that has happened.
3) neighborhoodscout.com provides crime statistics.

Before, During, & After Purchase

1. You will receive an email with the local rental expert’s phone and email, as well as when he/she will contact you (i.e. within 24 hours or next business day). You are also welcome to contact the expert.
2. He/she will call you and review your needs assessment, timing for viewing rentals vs. actual move and answer any questions you may have. If you purchased a rental tour, your expert will confirm the date, time and place to pick you up and cover any details on documents you’ll need to bring. Please take note of the expert’s cancellation policy. If you only purchased a phone consultation, the expert will send you an email after the call to rate your experience and your credit card will be charged within 24 hours. ADD GRAPHIC: STAY ON TRAK: YOU ONLY PAY FOR SERVICES YOU USE.
3. If you purchased a rental tour (TRAKtwo), the expert may send you some rentals currently on the market. This will all depend on how soon you plan on visiting/moving. Some areas, rentals are listed in the real estate database (MLS), in other areas, they are found with individual property management companies, Craigslist, etc. You will receive listings 2-3 days before your visit so you can have a sense of what appointments are being made. Should you want to get listings sooner, please just ask. Most times, the expert’s concern is that the rentals sent earlier may be rented by the time of the tour.
4. Depending on the area, the rental expert will begin researching and preparing for your tour 3-5 days prior to your arrival. The expert’s profile will indicate if the expert only uses the MLS, only apartments and/or provides an unbiased search of all sites where rentals are listed. He/she will ensure the properties meet your requirements and make the appointments with the goal being you find your home on the tour. The inquiry and planning take several hours.
5. Your expert will meet you and acquaint you to the area as you drive from property to property. Should you not find a property on your tour, see the expert’s policy “After the property visits, if a rental is not found…”
6. Once you find the property (we recommend trying to have 2 top choices), the expert will counsel you on completing the application, negotiations and putting down the required funds.
7. The expert will send you a follow-up email confirming completion of the rental tour and a link to rate their service. Your credit card is charged within 24 hours of receiving this email.

You are always provided with the local rental expert’s contact information, as well as when he/she will contact you. You are welcome to call also, especially if you have limited time. Should you not hear back, please contact PorchLight to remedy the situation at ra@porchlightrental.com.

In some cases, the expert will prepare the lease. When it is an apartment community, the leasing staff normally handles the lease, reviewing it with you and the lease signing. If the rental is privately owned or listed by another company, they may prepare the lease, but the expert should be able to tell you if it is a state/real estate board approved lease. The expert CANNOT legally act as an attorney and modify leases. Should you need a formal lease review, it is available for purchase TRAKthree. In addition, should you find a private rental, make sure you or the company representing the rental verifies you are working with the rightful owner and property taxes are up-to-date. This can be done in some areas for a minimal fee at www.beenverified.com or www.propertyshark.com.

Absolutely! You will receive an email with the local rental expert’s phone and email, as well as when he/she will contact you (i.e. within 24 hours or next business day). You are also welcome to contact the expert. He/she will call you and review your needs assessment, timing for viewing rentals vs. actual move and answer any questions you may have. Based on your move in date and when you are prepared to sign a lease/pay for a rental, you and the expert will determine when the rental search should start. The expert will:
• Send listings (links) and detailed information to you.
• Allow you to select your top choice properties.
• Call the listings you would like to see to verify each one meet’s all criteria and make appointments. The expert will go to those properties and take pictures and email to you, as well as verbally or in writing communicate the pros and cons.
• Assistance through lease signing.
REMEMBER, should you find a private rental, make sure you or the company representing the rental verifies you are working with the rightful owner and property taxes are up-to-date. This can be done in some areas for a minimal fee at www.beenverified.com or www.propertyshark.com.

You will have direct communication with the local rental expert and can modify your needs and dates. Just be sure to abide by the expert’s cancellation policy.

This is up to the local expert and normally you are charged only for the time together. There are times when that’s not the case: if listings were provided and you went to them prior to the tour, if the lease negotiation and lease signing takes a lot of time, and/or if the preparation for the tour was very time-consuming.

Absolutely; however, it is your responsibility to ensure you have a car seat if your children are under 50 lbs. In addition, you’ll want to discuss with the expert if his/her car will accommodate everyone. One of the benefits of the rental tour is having the expert drive so you can take in the area and ask questions, so if possible, going in the expert’s car is the best experience.

This is up to you; however, I would send the listing to the expert so he/she has an idea of what you like.

No, this is something you must do to make sure the roommate is a good personality fit for you. However, the local rental expert can take you to rentals if you’ve found a roommate who doesn’t already have an apartment. For more information on how to find a roommate and roommate agreements, see the “Navigating the Rental Market” e-book.

Yes, depending on your situation, it may be best for your expert to just contact landlords directly instead of those represented by property management companies or real estate agents. The best thing you can do is to write an explanation letter (see the “Navigating the Rental Market” e-book for prewritten letters) and to provide references and your offer letter and offer additional rent or security deposit.