When renting a property reviews by others can be most helpful in deciding what's right for you but unfortunately finding reliable reviews about rental agencies isn't so easy.
Most find their rental experience go without indecent but if things go wrong and your agency offers little support it can be expensive. Some agencies will support the property owner no matter what. Agencies fight for properties to list so it's in their interest to back owners. So it pays to ask around when considering an agency, the quality of support can vary and big name agencies aren't always any better than others.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN RENTING.
1. Ask if bedrooms face the street. On an upper floor this might be fine but often bedrooms are on lower floors where a good nights rest might be impossible.
2. Ask if there's an elevator, many older buildings do not.
3. Ask about beds and bedding, renters often offer all sorts of fancy touches but skimp on mattresses.
4. Check out the area, some places can be busy and noisy, Google Maps Street View can be helpful.
5. Most agencies charge a fee which can add $10 or more per night to the price. If you're staying a week or so that can add up, check the fees.
BEFORE YOU ACCEPT
Check the apartment carefully, some property owners can be casual about things you expect to work. We have found kitchens with no lighting to cook by, no hot water in a bathroom sink, nowhere to dry cloths etc. Others so damp and musty anyone with allergies couldn't stay there, blinds that don't work, no bathroom supplies...
If there are problems that are unacceptable or can't be fixed you should refuse to take possession. Now is the time you will find out just how much support you can expect from your agency but most claim you are covered if a place is unacceptable.
There will always be some risk renting but if you're careful you have every chance of finding what you want.
Some apartments are perfect at first sight but…look a little closer, try the lights where they're needed, like the kitchen cooking area. If you don't plan to cook you might not care.
It's nice to find a well appointed apartment but if you can't sleep because you're next to a front door that bangs every time someone arrives you might not enjoy the stay at all.
This apartment in Madrid got good reviews but few seemed to be bothered by the scruffy entrance and late night noise. Often reviewers don't mention problems that might be regarded as unacceptable by others.