Do I need an agent?
A good agent can save you time and trouble. Because agents have advanced access to more available apartments, they can help you land a better deal than if you search on your own. The tradeoff is price. Paying a fee equal to 8 to 15 percent of a full year's lease can alter what you can afford. No one likes that.
A good agent offers choices
The apartment a renter eventually decides on is generally not the one he or she first inquired about. More often, it is one the agent matched to the renter's needs and expectations. So again, find and work with an agent (or agents) you feel you can trust.
A good agent listens and knows their neighborhoods
Is the agent showing you apartments that match your stated needs? Is the agent helpful in describing the neighborhood, the rental building, the transportation concerns, the noise issues, etc.? If your agent is experienced, he or she will be full of useful information. If not, that agent isn't the right one for you.