Learn about the pros and cons of being a leasing agent here. If you want to work in the real estate industry, this job is a good way to start.
There is no doubt that apartment rentals are a big part of the real estate industry. Because there will always be a demand for rental properties, you will also have an easier time finding a job in this field. The one role that can get you started is a leasing agent job.
Similar to real estate agents, leasing agents help people find properties to rent, handle all of the paperwork involving the lease, and provide customer service. But unlike real estate agents, they usually work for one leasing company or one apartment complex. And because they are always present in the residential area where they work, leasing agents often have to build rapport with the residents and offer personalized service.
In this article, you will read everything there is to know about becoming a leasing agent, including:
- What a leasing agent does
- How much does a leasing agent earn
- Perks of a leasing agent job
- The pros and cons of being a leasing agent
- How to become a leasing agent
What a Leasing Agent Does
The leasing agent profession is a junior role that can grow into a full-blown real estate career. Property management firms and corporate apartment complexes are often hiring leasing agents who deal with potential new tenants who inquire about a unit. An ideal leasing agent has the following qualities:
- A good judge of character
Aside from touring prospective renters, they must also make sure to get quality tenants who would make great long-term residents and pay their rent on time.
A leasing agent often works for one company or building, but there are some who work as leasing specialists in real estate agencies who act like real estate agents. They work on commission and do not represent the properties that they are showing. They also prioritize making money for themselves.
Those who are stressed out from the hustle of working as a real estate agent but would like to stay in the industry might be curious about the pros and cons of being a leasing agent. Those who want to start their career in real estate but do not want to be a real estate agent can also consider applying for this job.
How Much Does a Leasing Agent Make?
The main difference between a leasing agent and a real estate agent is how much they make. A real estate agent gets paid on a commission basis. The amount they earn is usually around 5% to 6% depending on where they work.
Meanwhile, a leasing agent is paid a salary. Their starting pay is around $12 to $17 per hour or $30,000 per year, according to Glassdoor. But as you climb the career ladder and earn bonuses, your annual salary could climb to $75,000 or more, depending on where you work.
Here is a sample leasing professional job description at the entry level:
- Answering inquiries over phone and email
- Setting appointments to view available units
- Showing apartments to prospective tenants
- Collecting lease applications
One of the pros and cons of being a leasing agent is that from the start, it looks like a standard 9-5 job. But as you gain more experience, you may be able to take on more responsibilities like:
- Handling the marketing and social media
- Maintaining relationships with brokers
- Processing lease applications
- Running background and credit checks
- Processing lease paperwork and deposits
- Supervising move-ins and move-outs
Perks of Being a Leasing Agent
The perks of working as a leasing agent may vary depending on the company and state. They may not get to live rent-free, but they could get reduced rent as part of their compensation. Some employers also offer incentives like one-month free rent whenever they reach their monthly target. Other benefits they may enjoy include:
- Fuel discount
- Paid time off
- Family leave
- Vision insurance
- Dental insurance
- Health insurance
- Life insurance
- Disability insurance
- Referral program
- 401(k) matching
Aside from these, the pros and cons of being a leasing agent involve the job itself. If you are a people person, you will get to interact with many people when showing the apartments. Because prospective renters may come from all walks of life, you will get to meet people from different backgrounds and may get to hear interesting stories.
While the job sounds like a standard 9-5 gig, you do not have to sit at your desk all day. You may have to go help potential and current tenants with their concerns. Every day will be filled with a challenge for you to solve. If you do not like having a predictable schedule, maybe working as a leasing agent is for you.
Pros and Cons of Being a Leasing Agent
If you are interested in applying to become a leasing agent but are not sure what to expect, here are six major pros about this role:
A Lot of In-Person Interactions
When you start working as a leasing agent, two of your main responsibilities involve responding to inquiries over the phone and email and touring prospective tenants to available apartments. So you can expect to talk to not just your co-workers, but also with people who are interested in renting the apartment where you are working.
Nice Working Environment
Because of your role in touring prospective tenants, your desk is usually at the front office. Depending on where you work, your desk might be facing beautiful landscaping, which can be relaxing to look at when you need to take a quick break.
Unlike a real estate agent who only earns from commissions, a leasing agent earns an hourly wage plus sales commissions. So the amount of money you work is relative to how hard you work. The better your sales skills are, the better you will be at leasing apartments and therefore earning commissions and bonuses.
As part of your compensation package, your employer could also let you rent an apartment where you work and pay a reduced fee. They may also offer you incentives like one-month free rent when you sign a certain number of leases in that period. Even if your employer gives you a few hundred dollars discount, you can use those savings on other important things.
College Education or Specialized Training Is Not Always Necessary
Some employers may not require a college degree for you to work as a leasing agent, especially if it is an entry-level role. Instead, they are looking for sales skills and work experience in interacting with people on a regular basis. You must also be friendly and have a can-do attitude.
Can Be a Part-Time Job
If you are just looking for a second job and are willing to come in during the evenings and weekends, you might be able to work part-time as a leasing agent.
Given how competitive rentals can be, leasing companies would want to be available for tours and signing as much as possible. And usually, prospective tenants would want to look at apartments when they are off work. So you will still be busy during these short periods, but you are also likely to sign new leases.
Of course, there are cons to doing this job as well.
In-Person Interaction Can Be Stressful
Being a leasing agent is a customer service role, so aside from meeting people from different backgrounds, you will also encounter people with different personalities. Not all of them will be nice. Some can be demanding, and a few might just be downright mean. Remember to stay level-headed when dealing with difficult people and learn when to escalate an issue to your supervisor.
You Need to Respond to Inquiries Immediately
Rental properties are always in high demand and can be competitive. As the person in charge of answering phone and email inquiries from prospective tenants, you need to be on top of your response time. This might require you to reply to messages even during your lunch break, but doing this can help you get closer to reaching your targets.
Low Base Pay
Depending on where you want to work and how much experience you have, you might start working with low hourly pay. But if you calculate your entire compensation package, which may also include commissions, performance bonuses, reduced rent, etc., you might end up earning more. You just have to do a great job.
Need to Be On-Site to Greet Walk-In Prospects and Give Tours
Unlike real estate agents who may work from anywhere, leasing agents must be at the apartment complex to show prospective tenants to available units. This might not be appealing to those who would want to work remotely, but it is perfect for those who are not into traveling around for work.
A Lot of Standing and Walking Around the Apartment Complex
Because you will be giving tours to prospects and helping current tenants, you will not be at your desk all day. In fact, there might be times when you will be going around the complex a lot. Make sure that you wear comfortable clothing and footwear so you do not end your day having sore feet.
Working Evenings and Weekends Are Often Required
Unless your employer hires a part-time agent to take over during the evenings and weekends, you might have to work outside of your usual 9-5 schedule. This may happen if a prospect schedules an appointment outside of your work hours, or if you have to help a resident move into or move out of their apartment during the weekend.
How to Become a Leasing Agent
If you still want to try this out after learning about the pros and cons of being a leasing agent, here is how you can be one.
You do not need to have any special training or degree to become a leasing agent, though some companies may have more strict requirements. If you want to take this job as a way to enter the real estate industry, you can look for part-time or support-level roles where you will be working with more experienced agents.
Once you start working, though, you will get on-the-job training to learn about the tech, skills, and systems that you need for your role. And if your boss thinks that you are ready to move up the ladder, they may encourage you to undergo some specialized training and even become certified. To qualify for a managerial role, you must first need to be certified by the National Apartment Association.
Kickstart Your Real Estate Career
Becoming a leasing agent is a great way to test whether the real estate industry is for you. You will be working for a leasing company or apartment complex, and you will spend the day talking with prospective tenants and current residents. While your starting pay may be low, the total value of your compensation package may end up helping you earn more depending on your performance. Looking at the pros and cons of being a leasing agent, it is not that different from a standard 9-5 job. As long as you have the right skills and attitude, you are going to thrive in this field.
Once you start working, you would want to get your name out there as soon as possible. Whether you are a real estate agent or a leasing agent, the best way to network and gain exposure to potential clients is by creating an online profile. Mashvisor offers this for free. Choose which zip codes you are targeting, and your profile will appear as users looking for a new home explore the different properties on our platform.
We also offer amazing features for agents like easy-to-read property reports in PDF format, which you can download and share with your clients. Click here to learn more about how our platform can help agents like you.