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Learn About Being a Leasing Agent

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What does a leasing agent do?

Leasing agents find new tenants for their properties, handle the signing of leases and provide customer service for existing tenants. They establish a rapport with existing tenants and provide them with personalized service. They may also follow up with prospective tenants. Specific responsibilities may vary based on the type of company the leasing agents works for, but typically include: 

  • Meet with prospective tenants, take them on tours of the units they are interested in and highlight the benefits of the units and property.

  • Prepare and execute lease documents according to property standards and regulations. 

  • Conduct credit and background checks to qualify potential tenants. 

  • Confirm information and references provided by potential tenants on the application. 

  • Collect application fees and security deposits from potential tenants and monthly rental payments from existing tenants. 

  • Coordinate any necessary property maintenance. 

  • Inform residents of any changes to their rental agreement or upcoming events or issues associated with the property. 

  • Create marketing and promotional materials to advertise vacant units on their property.

  • Monitor the use of community facilities and common areas including the office, pool, laundry, mail and fitness centers. 

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Average salary

Leasing agents may be full-time, part-time or seasonal employees. Salaries for leasing agents vary depending on their level of relevant work experience, the geographical location of the job and whether they are working in residential or commercial leasing. Leasing agents may also earn additional compensation in the form of commissions and bonuses. 

  • Common wage in the U.S.: $14.14 per hour
  • Some wages range from $7.25 – $30.35 per hour

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Leasing agent requirements

Securing a position as a leasing agent may involve certain requirements depending on the property type, size of the property and geographic location, including:

Education

Leasing agents should have a minimum of a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate. Many properties prefer some level of completed post-secondary education such as an associate degree. Relevant coursework includes real estate, sales and business. Some properties also favor candidates who have completed leasing certification courses and have a leasing license.

Training

Many leasing agents receive additional on-the-job training to learn the specific skills, systems and technology they will need to use in their role. This training is often part of the leasing agent’s on-boarding process at a new job. On-the-job training may last for a period of a few weeks to a few months. Training often includes a period of shadowing current leasing agents and performing duties in your role under direct supervision until you are comfortable enough to complete your responsibilities on your own.

Certifications

Certifications allow you to prove your skills and qualifications to current and potential employers. Some states require leasing agents to get licensed or certified. Leasing agents can also earn certifications to gain additional knowledge about their responsibilities and further their career advancement opportunities. Popular certifications for leasing agents include: 

  • State leasing licenses: Certain states require leasing agents to get licensed through the state before working as a leasing agent. In states where licensing is a requirement, candidates typically must complete an approved leasing agent course and/or examination and pay a licensing fee. 

  • National Apartment Association (NAA) certification:  The National Apartment Association (NAA) offers the National Apartment Leasing Professional (NALP) certification. This certification requires you to have worked as a leasing agent for a minimum of six months to become certified, although you can begin taking the course before you have gained this experience. 

  • Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) certifications: The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) offers a variety of courses and certifications relevant to commercial leasing agents. Some of these courses require leasing agents and property managers to have at least 3-5 years experience. 

Skills

Leasing agents need a combination of several hard and soft skills to succeed in their role. Some of the most common skills required for a role as a leasing agent include:

  • Communication skills: Communication skills involve the ability to communicate both verbally and non-verbally with active listening, observing, speaking and empathizing. Leasing agents must have excellent verbal and written communication skills so that they can provide a high level of customer service to their tenants and create professional leasing documents. 

  • Detail-oriented: Being detail-oriented means having a strong attention to detail. Leasing agents need to be detail-oriented to ensure they incorporate the proper details within leasing agreements and recognize urgent action items within their properties. 

  • Time management skills: Time-management skills involve the ability to balance projects in a manner that helps you complete your duties in a timely manner while also maintaining a work-life balance. Leasing agents spend most of their day multi-tasking and prioritizing tasks and tenant needs. 

  • Computer skills: Computer skills include a combination of typing, system and software knowledge. Leasing agents must have strong computer skills as their job responsibilities include typing, using Microsoft Office to create leasing contacts and marketing materials. They also must know how to navigate property management software. 

  • Sales and marketing skills: Leasing agents must be able to compare a potential tenant’s desires to what the property has to offer. They must also be able to explain the details of a leasing contract to potential tenants in a clear manner. Successful leasing agents often paint a picture of a potential tenant’s life on their property during the tour. Leasing agents must also create advertising and promotional materials to attract potential tenants to vacant units. 

  • Critical thinking and problem solving skills: Leasing agents serve as the customer service representatives of their community and need to address tenant issues and concerns. Leasing agents must use critical thinking and problem solving skills to create a solution to the tenants’ problems and organize the resolution of those problems. 

  • Language skills: Depending on the demographic of the area, properties may prefer candidates who are bilingual.

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Leasing agent work environment

Leasing agents typically work full-time, but they may also work as part-time or seasonal employees. Leasing agents perform many of their job duties within the community’s leasing office, however leasing agents are also responsible for giving potential renters on-site property tours. It is common for leasing agents to need a flexible schedule open to weekends and evenings, as these are often peak times for potential renter visits.

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How to become a leasing agent

Here are the steps you should take to become a leasing agent: 

  1. Complete education: Although not required, many employers prefer candidates who have a college degree or some level of post-secondary education. Recommended coursework includes areas related to real estate and business. Candidates should also have a strong understanding of sales, contracts and fair housing regulations. 

  2. Get relevant work experience: Many communities prefer candidates who have prior work experience in sales, hospitality and customer service positions. Each of these industries require similar skills to be successful as a leasing agent position does. 

  3. Research state requirements: Some states require you to get a license to work as a leasing agent. Licensing requirements vary by state, so you will need to research the requirements for your area. 

  4. Complete a leasing license course and examination, if needed: If your state requires you to get a license to work as a leasing agent, you can prepare for the licensing examination by completing a leasing course or by using self-study materials to prepare. Typical topics covered by leasing licensing exams include local real estate laws, human resources and financial management. 

  5. Get certifications: Although not required, certifications such as the National Apartment Leasing Professional (NALP) certification will help you prove your experience and qualifications and stand out to hiring managers. 

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Leasing agent job description example

Our multi-family apartment community is seeking a full-time Leasing Agent to join our dynamic team. We operate a 500-unit property in an excellent location. We’re looking for someone who is friendly, organized and has excellent communication skills. The ideal candidate will have a minimum of 2 years customer service and sales experience, a strong attention to detail and excellent office and time-management skills. As a Leasing Agent, you will become the public face of our property and will serve as the key liaison between management and our current and prospective renters. You will work with several other leasing agents on a rotating schedule and answer directly to the assistant property manager. We offer a competitive salary and an excellent benefits package, including reduced rent if you choose to live on our property.

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Related careers

Skills and experience gained as a leasing agent often transfer to other industry related positions and can help you advance to higher-level leadership and management positions. Common related careers include:

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