Condensed Version: Should you hire Poker Refugees to find your next rental property abroad?

One of the most important things that poker players worldwide need when they travel or relocate is accommodations. Short term, long term, houses, apartments, condos, roommates - this is the foundation of being able to travel and live abroad. 

Sit back & relax - We got this #Rosarito

We have helped nearly 500 poker players with this to-date. In the years pre-Black Friday, we helped thousands of Americans, Europeans and other citizens rent or purchase property in Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, Mexico etc. 

The main inquiry we receive on email is "Can you show me some rental properties?" The answer is that we can, but we charge a fee for this because we are a consulting and relocation company - not a real estate company. It's a completely different approach and different service. Instead of having a website full of properties passively sitting online, we go out and do a proactive, customized search for each player. The next question we receive is "Why should I pay Poker Refugees when a realtor will work for free?" Here is the answer: 

1. Representation & Conflict of Interest: The structure of the real estate and rental industry is completely flawed we think you'd agree. Realtors, rental agents, etc all work on commission and the owners pay commission. That means they work for the owners. It's completely illogical that these agents should also represent the person looking for a property. So the buyer/renter/tenant hires a realtor "for free" to find him a property that meets his needs. The only problem is, you get what you pay for (in this case, nothing). The realtor will only show a client properties that s/he can earn money on and direct commission on. This limits the inventory that the renter/buyer will see. For the renter to get a comprehensive view of the market, he would have to go to 10, 20, 100 realtors and also pore over classifieds and countless other online sources to get an accurate picture of what is realistically available. The current model is backwards and results in tenants always getting a limited selection of properties to choose from and puts upward pressure on prices. The more realtors involved, the higher the commission because they all want a piece. This is the only industry we can think of that is set up this way. It's utter insanity. 

Have you ever told a rental agent your budget then they showed you a ton of properties that were above it? Maybe they even said there was nothing available in your price range? That's because they want to make more money. The more expensive the property, the better, although that's not in your best interest; it's in theirs. 

How is Poker Refugees different? We don't represent owners. We don't rely on commission. We work for our clients like a Renter Agent. We represent one side of the deal. We charge our clients a fee to cover our time searching. We are able to find lower-priced properties without any commission added on top most of the time. We find good deals and fairly priced rental options that are not intentionally inflated.

2. No Licensing Requirements in Developing Countries: Anyone can decide to be a realtor or rental agent in places like Costa Rica, Mexico and pretty much any developing country. There are no restrictions or licensing requirements. Is it really safe to fork your hard earned money over to an unknown local or foreign agent and hope for the best? This is a major problem that results in: 

How is Poker Refugees different? With over 10 years of experience in this market, we know who to work with and who to avoid. We became licensed voluntarily back in 2006. We also have a history and accountability with firms and individuals that foreigners wouldn't have. Many firms are black listed and we refuse to work with them due to our knowledge of their poor reputations. We know how to vet new sources and follow detailed internal procedures to drastically reduce or eliminate the possibility of scams, theft, or any negative experiences for our clients. We are also accountable to our clients and during very isolated, rare situations in the past, we have reimbursed players for any hardships they faced that were preventable by us in any way.  

If we weren't doing a good job, you would know about it because the poker industry is so small. Poker Refugees is the only global relocation company for poker players so if a client is upset for any reason, he will blog or post about it in a forum. Meanwhile, there are millions of shady realtors on the planet and there are simply too many to keep track of and publicly denounce. So they keep getting away with it. 

3. Limited Selection of Properties: This goes back to point #1 and the inherent conflict of interest. An agent may know of some perfect properties to fit your needs, but if they don't have direct access to those owners, they have to share their commission 50/50 or possibly earn no commission. Your dream home is probably out there, but you'll never see it unless the agent you went through represents it and has a commission agreement with the owner. An agent will never show you a property they can't earn money on, or they really are working for free. The only way for renters and buyers to view a large volume of properties is to manually search on their own or go to many different agents. This is extremely time consuming and unrealistic for most people. 

How is Poker Refugees different? 

4. Misleading Photos: Have you ever rented a property based on photos then showed up and found something totally different? If you are renting properties online, this is a very probable scenario. By the time you show up, you've already paid a non-refundable deposit at a minimum so there's very little you can do. Or - maybe you found the perfect property and price only to contact the agent and realize it was already booked? It was likely a fake property to generate inquiries so they can rent you something else. The proverbial carrot on a stick/fish on the line. 

How is Poker Refugees different? We know many agents and even more properties so we've probably already vetted a property by the time we show it to you, but if there is ever a question, we will send one of our reps to view the property on your behalf and make sure it's legit. Because we spend all day every day searching for properties, we even know which ads are fake, recognize photos or can tell simply from the listing content or from talking to the owner or rep. Our clients have never been exposed to this risk because we protect them from it. 

5. Stolen Rent Funds & Security Deposits: If you've ever had a security deposit stolen, you know this is a costly situation. The deposit is usually equivalent to 1 month's rent, which can be a pretty hefty loss. Deposits are stolen all the time for a variety of reasons, but usually because you are dealing with unethical people, realtors who don't care or because the proper precautions weren't taken in advance. Other times, rent deposits are stolen from fraudulent property reps or listings. 

See below for tips on how to get your security deposit back.*

How is Poker Refugees different? Agents usually don't try to steal our clients' deposits without just cause because they know us. Also, we take all the steps possible before you move in to ensure that you can get your deposit back, hassle-free. We also thoroughly check out properties, owners and reps before our clients send money to ensure their funds are never stolen or misplaced. 

6. Inflated Prices: If you've read this far you definitely get it by now - agents are systemically motivated to inflate rent prices because they make more money that way. They don't genuinely want to negotiate the rate down much for you because it takes money out of their own pocket. 

How is Poker Refugees different? Same story - we work on a different model. If you hire us to find a a studio for you in Rosarito for $200/month, we will do it. If you hire us to find a poker mansion for you and 10 of your friends in Playa del Carmen, we can do it. A downtown loft in Vancouver? We got this. If you hire us to find a roommate for you or a room in someone else's poker house, we can also do it. We can find a sublets, flat shares and more that agents can't do because they can't make a living that way. They will gladly find a penthouse or mansion for you but they won't help you source a shared property or anything under $1,000/mo for the most part. 

So there you have it - the most common issues finding a decent rental property, how to overcome them, and why Poker Refugees = saving massive time, money and headaches. 

These situations may be less exaggerated in 1st world countries such as Canada or the UK, but overall the letting and industry structures are still the same, just with more regulation and accountability. 

Our clients can attest that it's +EV to hire Poker Refugees for your search so you get peace of mind and a good outcome every time, while saving yourself a ton of time. 

Want help finding a rental property? Contact

*Security deposit tips:

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