How To Become A Leasing Agent And Start Your Career Right

Being a leasing agent can be an extremely fulfilling career. At a glance, their job is to act on behalf of the leasing company to help bring in tenants to occupy properties. If you’ve ever considered being a leasing agent but have questions about what the job entails, we’ve broken down everything you need to know below. From a step-by-step guide on how to become a leasing agent to what a leasing agent does and how much they make – Everything you need to know about the career choice is below!

What Is A Leasing Agent?

A leasing agent is someone who works on behalf of a leasing company or a property owner to help them occupy their properties. These properties can range from a hundred unit skyrise apartment complex, or it can consist of helping a few property owners across the city fill their duplexes and homes.

Sometimes a leasing agent is interchangeably referred to as a leasing consultant. Though similar, the two titles have different job roles as well. A leasing consultant focuses more on the needs of the person coming to them for help rather than the organization they represent. So while a leasing agent is working to sell their units, a leasing consultant is not worried about a sale but instead the well-being of clients they’re helping. That’s not to say leasing agents are evil and money hungry, but rather the two roles have different purposes.

One of the leasing agent’s main duties is finding suitable candidates, meaning candidates who will pay their rent on time, be respectful and courteous neighbors, and maintain the property’s condition.

In addition, depending on the company, a leasing agent may be responsible for touring properties with potential residents, helping residents to sign leases and advertising vacancies. Overall there are many duties for leasing agents to carry out, and it will vary day-to-day.

Step-by-Step Guide On How to Become a Leasing Agent or Leasing Consultant

1. Research the Field

In order to become a leasing agent, you’ll first need to effectively research the field. Thorough research is the case in any career path to ensure it’s right for you. You’ll want to make sure that you are satisfied with your career choice when you become a leasing agent and happy to work daily, so take time to look into the ups and downs of the business.

For example, bonuses and the potential to move up the ladder are positives, but what about the negatives? Are you prepared and able to handle the emotional stress that can come with hearing problems from residents all day long? Can you handle pressure from people above you to constantly meet quotas?

Some people will thrive under this sort of pressure and won’t mind a little emotional strain, while others will suffer to the point of performing ineffectively. However, this dichotomy will come with any career choice. This is a simple reminder to consider all aspects before making a choice.

2. Create a Strong Resume

The next step is to create a resume that will win over potential employers. Even if you do not have direct experience in the role of a licensing agent, you can still embellish the resume with other similar roles, such as customer service positions.

Because the licensing world offers many different leveled positions for licensing agents, there may be a place for you to stick your foot in the door, even as someone with no previous experience.

To ensure you’re presenting yourself in the best light, you might consider hiring someone to perfect your resume. Alternatively, spend some extra time researching what an ideal licensing agent resume looks like, at the very least.

If the application does not explicitly ask that you do not submit cover letters, try crafting one that explains your lack of experience and what you hope to accomplish in the space moving forward.

Though not always included in job applications, a cover letter can be a great way to win over employers. You will be able to explain all of the things a plain resume does not. In this case, you will be able to elaborate on why you’re making a career jump and what you hope to accomplish in the leasing world.

3. Reach out to Local Apartments

Even if they’re not actively hiring or advertising that they’re hiring, it may be worth it to reach out to local apartments. Inquire about soon-to-be positions, if they would be willing to hire someone with no prior leasing experience, or if they offer any sort of mentoring program.

If they’re not hiring, it is still good experience to speak with the complex or local management company and gain a better understanding of industry standards. Speaking with a few local companies will be a good indication of whether leasing agencies near you are willing to hire new talent, and they may point you in the right direction for future success.

4. Get Certified by the NALP.

The National Apartment Association supplies a certification titles National Apartment Leasing Professionals. With it, you can get certified in the best practices for a leasing professional and are positioned to continue advancing in the leasing world.

If you’re struggling to find work as a new leasing agent, adding this certification to your belt may be just the push that leasing agencies need to trust your abilities. However, certification is not required. Check out the qualification parameters outlined on the employer’s website and make sure you’re not opting for positions that are outside of your abilities.

How Much Do Leasing Agents Make An Hour?

The amount a leasing agent makes per hour will depend on experience, the state, and the individual company they are employed by. However, based on national averages, you can expect to make $37,816 as a leasing agent. Hourly, this figure equates to roughly $19.

What Skills Do You Need To Be A Leasing Agent?

Leasing agents have a unique job description, which means they will need a special set of skills to pull from in unpredictable scenarios. The number one skill a leasing agent will need to have is customer service. Because leasing agents act as representatives for the management company, they will want to reflect positively on who they represent.

Another important skill is closing. Similar to a real estate agent, they’ll want to have a strong ability to close deals and get vacant units rented out. Prospecting skills, which is the ability to find new tenants via online marketing, through referrals, or other methods that prompt more suitable tenants to live at their property, is a crucial skill to have as a leasing agent.

Negotiation and relationship maintenance are also nice skills to have as they can argue better terms to benefit the leasing company while maintain a good tenant-landlord relationship.

What Is The Average Commission For A Leasing Agent?

Some leasing agents will receive a commission on top of their base pay. Bonuses will depend on the leasing company’s parameters, but an average bonus may be anywhere from $50-200 per unit rented. Other companies offer a percentage-based commission, such as 2% per unit rented out and lease price.

Do You Need To Be A Real Estate Agent To Be A Leasing Agent?

If you’re curious about whether you need a real estate license to be a leasing agent, you’ll be happy to know that in most cases, you don’t need one. In fact, not having a real estate license is the standard for most leasing agents. This is because real estate agents are focused on the permanent sale or purchase of a property (though most times it’s not permanent).

At the same time, leasing agents are focused on merely filling a vacant unit for a period of time, usually a year. Because a leasing agent does not deal with the buying and selling of a property and all of the processes associated, they will not need to be certified via a real estate license or education.

When you sell a home, an agent will need to take care of all the paperwork, including deed transfer, errors & omissions insurance, signing contracts, arranging an appraiser to value the property, and more. As such, real estate agents have different titles, job duties, and significantly higher salaries.

If you still want to become an agent, learn how to become a real estate agent.

Do Leasing Agents Get Free Rent?

A major benefit for some leasing agents is that they receive free or discounted rent at the property they represent. If it’s a chain of properties all managed by the same company, they may have a choice in the property they live at.

If the free rent is not included in the compensation package, some companies will offer an incentive package for free or heavily reduced rent. They typically utilize a model that is adaptable to their company needs, such as every 20 leases signed is a free month of rent for the leasing agent.

Each company has the liberty to choose what they offer, and some may not offer much, if any, benefits at all. If reduced or free rent is one of the main reasons you would like to be a leasing agent, be sure to find a company that is happy to offer the benefit.

What Makes A Great Leasing Agent?

A great leasing agent will have a positive attitude with customer service at their core. They will be hardworking and want the best for the company and the building, not just themselves if their work is incentivized. In addition to leasing, a leasing agent will also need to solve problems amongst residents, and sometimes that means getting creative.

They will also need to be tech-savvy as much of the leasing business has moved to the online space. As such, leasing agents are expected to market vacancies online and engage with potential residents there too. Most rentals have adopted an online portal which means the days of in-person applications and payments are rapidly disappearing.

As the market continues to shift and leasing agents come into contact with all types of people, they will need to be resilient and adaptable. Sometimes people can be rude, and this is when a great customer service-based-personality makes all of the difference. When your success is tied into incentives, you will need to continue pushing forward regardless of the circumstances.

What Should A Leasing Agent Put On A Resume?

A leasing agent should put all relevant information that supports the skills required of an agent on their application. Most leasing companies want to see some sort of experience related to the job description. This can include education, work history, skills, references, and similar aspects usually on a job application.

Also, be sure to include any past customer service roles, instances of problem-solving, language capabilities, and certification in leasing from the National Apartment Leasing Professional if applicable. The hiring party will want to know you’ve got what it takes to represent the company well, so any evidence proving that will go a long way.

What Is The Most Important Part Of Being A Leasing Agent?

Perhaps the most important part of being a leasing agent is the ability to fill vacancies. Filling empty units is the main reason for an agent’s hiring and completing that ultimate goal day in and day out is what will matter most in the end.

On the other hand, a leasing agent should want to perform that job to the best of their ability. This means having good interpersonal and customer service skills that make leasers feel valued and happy to interact with the leasing agency. A great leasing agent will be able to combine the two effectively.

What Is The Most Important Role Of A Leasing Agent?

The most important role of a leasing agent is to work toward filling vacancies. This can be done via a referral program at the complex in which residents are offered a sum of money for recommending their friends to move into the complex. It can also be done via online marketing and ads, such as on Craigslist or Facebook. Regardless of the method, a leasing agent’s most important role will be the one which they were hired for, finding new, qualified residents for their units.

What Does An Apartment Leasing Agent Do?

An apartment leasing agent is responsible for filling vacancies in a property. Sometimes a leasing agent will work for a smaller-scale property management company. Other times they can work for major buildings in dense cities. Depending on the location and the type of building, the difficulty of their job will range greatly.

A leasing agent is also responsible for overseeing the operations of the units on a local scale. This means they may need to facilitate maintenance requests or deal with problems between residents, such as noise complaints.

Do You Need Experience To Be A Leasing Agent?

In general, experience will always help, never hurt when it comes to any career. In the case of a leasing agent, experience in customer service, at the very least, may help give you a competitive edge.

Additionally, leasing agent careers are usually structured in levels or tiers. There is plenty of room to move up and advance your career, but it also means there are entry-level positions. Breaking into the industry is a bit easier when there are roles customized for beginners.

You may be able to become a leasing agent with little to no experience, especially if looking at a complex outside of major cities. Make sure when you shop around for potential employers that you look carefully at job descriptions as the level desired will often be stated there. As an entry-level leasing agent, you will begin with lower base pay but usually have the same opportunity for bonuses.

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