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Residential leasing agents work renting units at large residential house, apartment and condominium complexes. California law requires leasing operators complete training involving rental laws and state contract regulations. Leasing agents also work independently or as hires at commercial firms and for retail malls and centers. By law, independent leasing agents and property managers, or people operating in that capacity for another party, must hold licenses to work in California. All real estate licenses require periodic renewal after completion of a set number of hours of continuing education or training.
Complete the recommended coursework and training. Sign up for and complete courses in general accounting, real estate economics, practical mathematics, legal contracts and oral and written communication. Even when working primarily with clients who speak another language, successful leasing agents have proficiency in the English language. Colleges, community colleges, universities, business schools and the local board or association of realtors offers training courses and classes in these subject areas.
Complete the required college-level courses approved by the California Department of Real Estate. The two required courses cover real estate principles, accounting and economics. A passing score in these three courses provides the background to pass the state required real estate examination. For prospective leasing agents unable to attend on-site courses, the California Department of Real Estate also approved correspondence and video courses. Contact the local California Board or Association of Realtors for offerings of approved courses in your area.
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Register for the California Department of Real Estate licensing examination. Board-approved training programs offer this examination as part of the class. Many college and university programs also provide an exam opportunity at the end of the course for students to take the test. Candidates must take examinations under the supervision of a licensed broker, regardless of the location or the testing venue.
Register for a license from the California Department of Real Estate. Agents working alone must hold a broker's license. A broker must work as an agent before advancing to the role of solo agent or supervisor. State licensing requirements also include a set of fingerprints taken by a law enforcement agency, payment of the examination fee and the state license fee. Present an official copy of your completed coursework showing the school seal and official signatures at the time of license application.
Locate a job as a leasing agent. Market yourself as you would any other job. Network with other real estate agents at local the California Association of Realtors or Board of Realtors functions. Send letters of introduction to owners of local apartment complexes, shopping centers, office buildings and shopping malls. Dress for success with a killer resume and shop yourself in open interviews found through networking and career job websites, including America's Career InfoNet, CalJOBS and America's Job Bank, all recommended by the State of California Employment Development Department for prospective leasing agents.
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- California Department of Real Estate: Reference Book-A Real Estate Guide; Chapter 22: Property Management
- National Apartment Association Education Institute: Careers in Apartment Leasing
- California Association of Realtors: Residential Property Management for the Real Estate Licensee
- International Real Estate Digest: California Realtor Boards and Assocations
- California Employment Development Department: Occupational Guides: Real Estate Sales Agents; 2005
Lee Grayson has worked as a freelance writer since 2000. Her articles have appeared in publications for Oxford and Harvard University presses and research publishers, including Facts On File and ABC-CLIO. Grayson holds certificates from the University of California campuses at Irvine and San Diego.