Leasing agents are real estate workers who help property owners rent out apartments and similar properties or, in the commercial sector, business space. They are responsible for generating traffic to the rental properties, showing the properties they represent to prospective renters, collecting documentation necessary for applying and conducting background and credit checks and finalizing rental lease paperwork. Leasing agents usually earn low-to-mid-level salaries that usually top out around $45,000, although some very experienced agents with good companies in good locations make closer to $80,000. The process for becoming a leasing agent varies slightly by state.
Check the licensing and certification requirements for your state. Leasing agents are different from real estate agents in that they are not trained or authorized to sell the properties they lease should owners decide to sell. Regulations therefore vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
Complete individual courses or a leasing agent training program. Your state's real estate association can tell you which classes and programs are available in your area and which meet state regulations if your state requires licensing or certification. Take these classes even if your state doesn't require licensing or certification as they provide valuable information about your industry. Courses will center around property and leasing law.
Apply for your state license or certification and take any required examinations.
Look for and apply for open leasing agent positions. If you have no previous experience and your state doesn't require licensing and certification, you'll have an advantage if you have a college degree. Finding part-time positions is a good way to start. Depending on your state's licensing and certification regulations, you may be able to use these positions as on-the-job training.
Become a National Apartment Leasing Professional through the National Apartment Association. This will require at least 25 hours of training and six months of experience, as well as passing a written exam. This step is optional but gives you increased accountability.
Keep an eye on your salary, negotiating as needed. Some jobs pay only on commission, some pay just a salary, and others use a combination of wages and commissions. The average pay for a leasing agent was $26,000 in 2011 according to Jobdescriptions.net and the Indeed website. The SimplyHired website showed an average of $46,000, while the Glassdoor website showed hourly rates between $8 and $16 as of 2011. According to SalaryExpert, the range for leasing agents was $46,926 to $76,730 in 2011.