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Leasing Agent Career Guide

What is a leasing agent?

Despite the term “agent,” a leasing agent will typically work for property management companies or landlords. Their primary job is to rent out properties like apartments, houses, and business spaces. They act as a connection point between the property owner and potential renters. These professionals create a win-win situation by finding appropriate renters who meet the owner’s criteria and providing renters with suitable rental opportunities.

Agents are key revenue generators as they fill vacancies in rental properties. They help in effective communication between tenants and landlords, creating a smooth and efficient operation of properties. Their role ensures that both parties – the renter and the owner – are satisfied with the lease agreement and terms.

Duties and responsibilities

The leasing agent is task-driven. Much of their work involves advertising readily available properties, attracting potential tenants, and convincing them to sign lease agreements. They are also responsible for performing background checks on prospective tenants. This process includes reviewing the applicants’ rental history and credit reports to evaluate their potential as responsible tenants. It’s also part of their duties to ensure that tenants understand and agree to the lease terms.

These professionals usually handle administrative tasks related to property rents. This duty includes collecting deposits, processing lease applications, preparing lease contracts, and managing monthly rental payments. When tenants move out, they are also responsible for inspecting the property for any damages, determining whether any part of the security deposit should be withheld, and preparing the unit for the next tenant.

Work environment

The work environment can vary greatly for a leasing agent, but generally, they split their time between an office and the properties they are leasing out. When in the office, they might spend time meeting with potential tenants, handling paperwork, answering phones, and setting up appointments. When showing properties to prospective renters, they could be indoors or outdoors, depending on the property type. Some work travel might be required, usually within a local area or region, to visit and show various rental properties.

Typical work hours

Leasing agents usually work full-time during regular business hours, Monday through Friday. However, they also often have to work evenings, weekends, and sometimes even holidays to accommodate the schedules of potential tenants. It’s not uncommon for these professionals to work over 40 hours a week when the real estate market is particularly busy. These hours can also lean toward evenings and weekends when potential renters are typically free to view properties.

How to become a leasing agent

This career guide section outlines the process of becoming a leasing agent. The key elements include acquiring a strong knowledge base in real estate protocols, regulations, and terminology, as well as an understanding of customer service techniques.

Step 1: Complete high school education

The first step is to complete your high school education. A solid base layer of academic knowledge will prepare you for further studies. High school classes like business administration and math can be especially beneficial.

Step 2: Gain experience in customer service

Leasing agents need strong customer service skills. Working in positions that require you to deal directly with the public, such as retail or hospitality, can be a good way to develop these skills.

Step 3: Attend real estate courses

Although it’s not always necessary, attending courses relevant to real estate can be quite helpful. These courses include property law, marketing and advertising, business ethics, and communication techniques. Obtaining these skills prepares and equips you for success in the field.

Step 4: Obtain a license

In many states, agents are required to have a license. You must be at least 18 years old, complete a state-approved training course, and pass an exam to get a license. These requirements vary between states, so it’s important to check with your local regulatory board.

Step 5: Gain experience as an intern or assistant

After licensing, working under an experienced leasing agent to hone your skills is beneficial. As an intern or an assistant, you can gain practical exposure to the field, observe seasoned professionals, and learn how to interact effectively with prospective renters.

Step 6: Apply for leasing agent jobs

Armed with knowledge, skills, and real-world experience, start applying for jobs in property management companies, real estate firms, or apartment communities that need leasing agents. Make sure your resume highlights your education, achievements, and relevant experiences. Networking is also something that could potentially help you land your first job.

Step 7: Continuous professional development

In this job, continuous self-improvement is key. Engage in ongoing learning efforts to keep pace with changes in laws and regulations related to leasing and property management. Join professional organizations or engage with online communities to expand your networks and opportunities for learning.

How much do leasing agents make?

Leasing agent salaries will vary by experience, industry, education, location, and organization size. Real estate market trends and geographical location, specifically in areas with high property values or concentrated urban development, are unique factors that significantly affect their compensation.

Highest paying industries

  • Real Estate – $53,000
  • Property Management Companies – $51,550
  • Automotive Leasing – $49,360
  • Commercial Leasing – $48,120
  • Residential Leasing – $45,080

Highest paying states

  • New York – $59,720
  • California – $57,320
  • Massachusetts – $55,760
  • Washington – $54,280
  • Colorado – $52,540

Browse leasing agent salary data by market

Types of leasing agents

Below, we explore common career types and areas of specialization for leasing agents. This guide will help you understand the different niches available within this field.

Residential leasing agent

Those in this area focus on residential properties, such as apartments, houses, and condos. Their task includes showing properties to potential tenants, processing lease applications, and addressing residents’ needs. It’s a suitable role for individuals who enjoy face-to-face interaction and helping people find their ideal home.

Commercial leasing agent

In contrast to residential leasing, commercial leasing agents work with business properties. Office buildings, retail spaces, and other commercial real estate are their domain. They work closely with business owners and corporations on property viewings, lease terms, and negotiations.

Real estate broker

While still a part of the leasing industry, real estate brokers often have oversight responsibilities for agents and dealers. They may operate their own real estate business or work within a larger brokerage. Brokers are usually required to have advanced knowledge and experience in the industry, along with necessary licenses or certifications.

Property manager

A property manager often oversees the entire property, including dealing with tenants’ issues, managing maintenance and repair work, and sometimes even handling the leasing process. People who are good at multitasking and handling various tasks simultaneously might find this role attractive.

Leasing consultant

Leasing consultants offer expertise and assistance to clients looking to lease a property. They provide advice on available properties, pricing, and lease terms. Consultants need to have excellent communication skills to effectively relay information to their clients.

Top skills for leasing agents

This career guide section outlines the skills and abilities that will help you find success as a leasing agent.

Interpersonal skills

Building effective relationships is vital in this job. You’ll be dealing with potential clients, property owners, and other stakeholders daily. Good communication and negotiation expertise can help resolve conflicts and secure rental agreements beneficial to all parties.

Knowledge of the real estate market

Being familiar with the local and broader real estate markets, including average rental prices and property values, can give you an advantage. This information will enable you to provide accurate advice to both property owners and tenants and to secure competitive rental prices.

Sales skills

As a leasing agent, selling is part of your daily routine. You need to persuade potential renters to choose your properties over others. This requires an understanding of sales techniques and principles, highlighting a property’s features, and effectively closing a deal.

Organization skills

Organization skills are essential for managing multiple properties, tenants, meetings, viewings, and paperwork efficiently. Proficient use of property management software can be a useful skill to aid in this task.

Legal knowledge

Any leasing agent must have a solid understanding of local landlord-tenant laws and regulations. This knowledge will help prepare leasing agreements, deal with eviction procedures, and ensure fair housing laws and regulations adherence.

Leasing agent career path options

Starting a career as a leasing agent provides a solid foundation in the real estate industry. While many stay in the role, it is often the launching pad for more advanced positions within property management and real estate business.

After gaining experience, you may have the opportunity to advance to a property manager position. This role involves more responsibilities, such as maintaining multiple properties, managing budgets, and dealing directly with tenants. While the general career progression is from leasing agent to property manager, individuals with a knack for sales and marketing might choose to specialize in real estate sales.

Beyond property management, they can also advance to become real estate brokers with additional education and licensure. As a broker, one could start their own real estate firm or continue to work within larger agencies at a higher level. The broker’s role involves more complexities, including the real estate transaction process and negotiations.

Another career path could lead toward commercial real estate, where agents lease office spaces or commercial buildings. Here, the industry offers ample potential growth, yet it comes with challenges and higher stakes. Those with strong business acumen and a comprehensive understanding of the real estate industry often excel in this area.

In recent years, technology has significantly changed the workload for leasing agents. In the past, one had to physically search for potential tenants, show them the properties, and negotiate lease agreements. Now, digital platforms allow these professionals to streamline their process, reaching potential tenants online, showcasing virtual property tours, and executing lease contracts electronically. This tech-focused approach does not diminish the importance of an agent’s people skills but enhances their reach and impact.

Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram have become vital tools today. These platforms allow agents to connect with potential tenants and market to a broader audience. This trend toward digital marketing means that savvy professionals must keep their digital skills up to date to succeed. Internet competency and social media proficiency have become a necessary part of the job.

Employment projections

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, projections for the wider category of “real estate brokers and sales agents,” which include leasing agents, estimate employment growth at roughly 3% through 2031. This is slower than the average for all occupations, with a constant demand for these professionals driven by the necessity of people to buy, sell, and rent properties.

Leasing agent career tips

Get familiar with local property laws

Your job will involve handling lease transactions, which requires an understanding of local and federal property laws. Familiarize yourself with these laws and regulations, including the Fair Housing Act, to ensure you’re conducting all transactions ethically and lawfully. Having this knowledge sets you apart from others and helps establish trust with your clients.

Practice customer service skills

Though our focus here isn’t on personal traits or abilities, this role demands excellent interaction with the public. Spend time developing your customer service skills, including proper phone etiquette, active listening, and learning to address customer complaints effectively. This could ultimately affect a person’s decision to lease from your properties.

Master sales techniques

Though it’s not traditionally considered a sales position, you are still selling a product – the property. Educating yourself on sales strategies and negotiation techniques will enhance your ability to close deals and reach leasing targets. Free online courses or professional workshops are some ways to gain these skills.

Build a professional network

Networking plays a significant role in the real estate industry. Establishing relationships with peers and leading figures in your field can open up career growth and personal development opportunities. Here are a few professional networks to consider:

  • National Apartment Association (NAA)
  • Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA)
  • International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

Stay updated with market trends

The real estate market constantly changes. Agents need to keep an eye on market trends, understand what potential clients are looking for, and adjust their marketing strategies accordingly. Read industry-related publications and attend relevant conferences or seminars to stay on top of the latest trends.

Pursue continuing education

Continuous learning is a positive habit for success in any profession. In the field of property management, consider focusing on these specific areas:

  • Property and Facilities Management courses
  • Real Estate certifications like Certified Apartment Manager (CAM) or Certified Property Manager (CPM)
  • Workshops on Sales and Negotiation techniques

Where the leasing agent jobs are

Top employers

  • Colliers International
  • Jones Lang LaSalle
  • CBRE Group
  • Cushman & Wakefield
  • Newmark Group

Top states

  • California
  • New York
  • Florida
  • Texas
  • Illinois

Top job sites

  • zengig
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Monster
  • CareerBuilder


What skills are essential for a leasing agent?

Good interpersonal and communication skills are essential for dealing with potential tenants. Besides, good negotiation skills, knowledge about property management and the real estate industry, ability to work with varied software and database management systems, and being detail-oriented are also significant for this role.

What does a typical day look like for a leasing agent?

Usually, it involves responding to inquiries, scheduling and conducting property viewings, meeting potential tenants, and assisting them in leasing. Some days may also include administrative tasks such as processing applications, preparing leasing contracts, and maintaining tenant records.

What kind of work environment can leasing agents expect?

Much of the work happens in an office. However, this profession also requires frequent site visits for property showings and inspections. Dealing with varied sets of clients requires good people skills.

Is working overtime common for leasing agents?

In some cases, especially during peak leasing season, overtime might be necessary to meet potential clients with day jobs. Generally, though, the work hours can be regular, barring urgent situations or special circumstances.

What are the educational requirements for a leasing agent?

While some positions may require a bachelor’s degree in business or a related field, many leasing agent positions only require a high school diploma or equivalent. Knowledge of sales principles, real estate principles, and customer service practices is beneficial.

Is there any licensing required for leasing agents?

In some locations, you’ll need to get a state-issued license to work in this field. Check your local laws and regulations about this.

What are some common challenges a leasing agent faces?

Each day can be different with its own set of challenges. Difficult clients, managing conflicts, and negotiating leasing terms can be challenging. Additionally, maintaining a balance between meeting prospective tenants’ needs and fulfilling property owners’ business objectives is crucial.

Do leasing agents typically have opportunities for advancement?

Yes, advancement opportunities exist in property and real estate management. Demonstrating good work ethic, performance, knowledge, and developing a network within the industry assist in advancement from leasing agent to higher management roles over time.

What is the job outlook for leasing agents?

The real estate sector largely depends on the economy’s performance. During periods of economic growth, demand for residential and commercial properties tends to increase, potentially creating more job opportunities for leasing agents. However, during economic downturns, the demand for these services may decrease.

How is the performance of a leasing agent measured usually?

Performance measures commonly include the number of leases signed, total rental income generated, client satisfaction rates, and retention of renters. Attention to detail in maintaining records and promptness in handling client inquiries and issues also reflect positively on a leasing agent’s performance.