Leasing executives, also referred to as leasing agents or consultants, show apartments, condos and office buildings. It’s a pretty low-key job that really does not require much training to start, though knowledge of the real estate market in your area is helpful. You’ll be the face of the owners when you prospect for clients, arrange meetings and give tours of your properties to potential lessees.
You’ll be in charge of marketing the property to get prospects in to look at your offerings. You may need a real estate license if you’re also going to sell property, as many leasing agents do. List your property under the appropriate multiple listing services, in local papers and magazines and online. Choose the most appropriate venues to target prospective tenants, such as relocation and tourist conventions and conferences. Take pictures of the property and post them with your ads or hire a professional to create live online video tours of the place to post online.
The main responsibility of a leasing executive or property manager is to keep the occupancy rate high. As such, your main job is to show the home or office to prospective clients looking for a lease. You’ll need to make sure the property is attractive and ready for visitors before you bring anyone in. While you’re doing the tour, you’ll point out the features of the property and give prospects plenty of good reasons to move in.
You'll typically need to run a credit check and criminal background check for all your potential clients. You’ll need the prospect’s name, address, taxpayer identification number or social security number. Credit reports from the major credit reporting agencies include information about the prospect's payment history and any legal procedures, such as bankruptcies and liens. If the prospect meets your company’s requirements, you’re ready to sign them up.
As a leasing executive, you’re primarily a salesperson. You may have a base salary that’s supplemented by commissions. When prospects are oohing and aahing over the view or the amenities of the property, it’s an ideal time to get them to fill out that initial application. After qualifying them, you need to make sure prospects understand the terms of the lease, when and how much is due at the time of signing the contract and what services will be provided by the property owner. Collect the money and let your new tenants know when the next payment is due.
Retention usually falls under the purview of the leasing executive, too. In other words, it’s up to you to sign the tenants and then make sure they’re happy and continue to lease the property. To that end, you may be the primary contact for tenants and responsible for following up on complaints or requests for service. You may be in charge of collecting monthly fees and checking up on the property from time to time to make sure everything is as it should be.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."