Zach Martino - As we continue to examine our 2016 housing report, we return to the focus group we commissioned to learn about their interactions with the Boston renting market. Our conversation with them took an interesting turn when we asked them about previous renting encounters. This is the third part to a multiple part series, catch up on Part 1 and Part 2.

Key Findings

  • When asked if their broker was worth the fee almost everyone responded with either a resounding “No” or never used one.
  • Those in cities like Boston and New York are more likely to not see the value of the broker
  • Overall, tenants feel that brokers are not worth the cost to the benefit.

Distrust Towards Brokers

42% of participants agree that brokers were not worth the fee. 2016 Sumu Housing ReportIn our focus groups, we narrowed down on some frustrations. One thing that became abundantly clear– everyone hates brokers, and not without reason. The longer the conversation went, the more we realized that brokers don’t really fit in with the apartment search in the modern age. When asked if their broker was worth the fee almost everyone responded with either a resounding “No” or said they didn’t even use one. This overwhelming negativity was met with very little positive response from those who used brokers and it’s safe to say that Boston is a microcosm for the entire US.

The root of people’s issues with brokers boils down to the notion that brokers are not properly incentivised to suit renters’ needs. People feel they aren’t entirely trustworthy and find getting a broker more frustrating than helpful. Overall, they felt it is more a cost than a benefit in getting a broker and also, people suggested that landlords who use brokers often charge more for rent. This is why, among other things, people feel more comfortable sticking to their own personal networks, and sites like Craigslist.

We explored that topic and many more in our last post, and if you’re interested in learning more, check out the full report in Sumu’s 2016 Housing Report. ​ Sumu believes finding your next home should be as easy as 🍰. Sign up for Sumu and gain access to hundreds of available rooms and apartments. Savvy renters use Sumu.