How to Be a Good Leasing Agent
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A good leasing agent works to support the best interests of the owner. Duties of a leasing agent include inspecting the property, advertising vacancies, showing the property, screening prospective tenants and keeping track of all the documents and renewal dates. A leasing agent can work in residential or commercial properties. The duties are similar between the two, although commercial leases are usually more complicated and attorneys will most likely be involved.
Inspect the property before the tenant moves in and after the tenant moves out. Take photos of the property during each inspection and document any damage to the property which may allow a claim on the tenant's security deposit. Contact the handyman to make necessary repairs before the property is shown. If it's customary to paint the interior between tenants, arrange for that and make sure that access is provided.
Advertise the vacancy. Enter the listing in the multiple listing service, if you're a licensed real estate agent. Otherwise, work with an agent to have it listed. Put a vacancy sign in a window facing the street or parking lot. Let other tenants know there's a vacancy. List the property on the company website and advertise its availability on various Internet websites. Include photos of the property with any advertisements, if possible.
Show the property. Conduct yourself professionally and know the distinctive features of each property. Be able to specify the size, age and leasing terms for any property. Negotiate the best terms for the owner, while simultaneously keeping the prospective tenant interested. It's in the owner's best interest for the property to rent as quickly as possible, so prepare yourself to make concessions for a promising tenant.
Screen the tenants. Check references and the credit report. Verify the employment history and income, if needed. Check criminal records. Other residents are concerned with safety and maintaining peace and quiet; if this changes it's a direct reflection on you, and the units may become harder to rent. This results in lower rents and less income for the owner, and may put your job at risk.
Handle the paperwork. There's lots of paper generated when leasing real estate. The contracts tend to be lengthy and the state's landlord and tenant laws might be attached at the end of the lease. You must keep track of security deposits and renewal dates. State law typically governs how much notice a tenant must give if not renewing; a good leasing agent sends out cards when the lease is close to expiring and asks the tenant to confirm a renewal.
Pat O'Connor is the broker/owner of The Veritas Real Estate Group in Coral Springs, Fla. She holds a M.A. in psychology from the University of South Carolina. O'Connor has been writing real estate and loan origination textbooks, as well as developing online courses, since 2005. Her latest publication is the kindle ebook, "The SAFE Mortgage Loan Originator National Exam Study Guide."