With any profession, there are bound to be particular skills that will project a particular person to the top and help people succeed over others. Multifamily professionals and, particularly, leasing agents are no different. There are certain skills that every leasing agent should have at a minimum and skills that can help them excel in their role.
At the most basic level, every leasing agent should have a firm knowledge of the community and surrounding area where they work, they should know basic real estate and multifamily terminology, should have an understanding of Fair Housing laws, and be able to communicate effectively prospective residents – as well as the community team. However, those are baseline skillsets.
In the high pace, competitive world that is multifamily real estate, the leasing agent needs to be more advanced and honed than ever before. While the roles can vary based on the property type, property stage, geography, etc., the qualities of a good leasing agent are numerous and consistent.
Here are 8 of the top leasing agent skills that can help take a decent leasing agent to the top of their field:
The multifamily industry is constantly evolving and changing. Communities aren’t stagnant, neighborhoods are always changing, demographics and trends are always shifting (ie Millennials and Gen Z), and so much more. To stay ahead, or at least keep up, one of the best weapons a leasing agent can have is information. Staying up to speed on new restaurants or changes in the neighborhood, new comps going up nearby, and more will make you an asset to your team and prospects. It doesn’t just stop with things your prospects will care about. Are you informed about changes and trends in the industry? Think beyond just your community.
Build Relationships Beyond Just the Community
Speaking of thinking beyond just your community. One of the most important things a quality leasing agent can do is find ways to develop and maintain relationships with other people in the multifamily industry that are outside of their community and company. These relationships are a great way to learn, improve, and find out the latest tips / best practices from others in the space. Not sure where you start? Become a member of your local apartment association. Don’t just join though, become an active member! Attend classes, join commitments, attend events, and more. There are countless ways your local apartment association can be the place to make relationships that will help you propel your leasing career to the next level.
Embrace the Latest Technology
This doesn’t just apply to the multifamily industry, but absolutely needs to be on the list. Nothing is changing faster than technology and the new technology is typically there to make your life or the life of your prospective residents easier. Staying up-to-date on the latest multifamily technology is more important than ever. We recognize a lot of technology decisions come from the top down; however, if a new technology comes across your plate from a Regional Manager or VP and you already have an understanding of how it works and how to apply it to your role and community, that’s an instant leg up. Sign up for and read multifamily specific newsletters and publication, but also look outside the industry for technology that may be applied in the your leasing world as well.
Be Persistent and Proactive
When it comes to skills that will make a leasing agent successful, nothing is more important than proactive and persistent follow up. While it may be easy to get burnt out on the no’s, you need to always work towards a yes. Proactively following up with inbound leads or active prospects will not only show them that you care and are there to help, but will help you have better clarity into where they are at in the leasing process. Struggling with a slow prospect who is scared to pull the trigger? Don’t give up and be persistent. It’s the community that stays top of mind and shows them what it would be like to be a part of that community that will win in the end. Leasing is hard…persistence and perseverance pays off though.
Stay / Be Competitive
This one may not be make it on a leasing agent’s resume, but to be the best leasing agent you can be requires a certain level of competitiveness. While it’s necessary to be a part of the team and be a good teammate with community team, leasing is a sales role and sales professionals need to have a competitive nature to be successful in this industry. Even if it’s just competing against last year’s goals, the best leasing agents want to continuously do better than before. Leasing agents need to want to compete and, more importantly, need to want to win.
The last few points have been very active and forceful skills. Persistence and competitiveness are of the utmost importance, but will do more harm than good if a leasing agent is unable to also be a good listener. Actively listening to what a prospective resident wants, before going straight into selling them on the community, will not only save time during the process, but will make that prospect feel valued. Active listening is a skill that isn’t necessarily innate, especially for competitive individuals. Listening first and actually listening with the intent of processing the information being provided in the conversation, not just listening to respond, will pay dividends in the long run.
Be a Problem Solver
Working at a multifamily community is no easy task. While your leasing role won’t necessarily focus on all of the joys that come with managing the property and residents, it will certainly come with its fair share of problems and difficult situations needing to be resolved. If you can position yourself as an active and effective problem solver from the team versus shying away from conflict or tense situations, it will not only elevate your success leasing, but will also help you stand out as an invaluable part of the team.
Know How to Take Criticism
Even if you are proficient with all of the above skillsets and are an absolute rockstar of a leasing agent, nobody is perfect. There is always room for improvement and are always ways to continually improve oneself to do better and be better. The ability to take criticism well won’t be found in any of the leasing agent training manuals. And yet, hearing criticism and being able to take it constructively and use it to its best advantage will make anyone a better leasing agent, and employee. Take what is relevant from the critique, learn from it, and use that learning to better in the future.
Leasing isn’t easy, but it can be awarding. All it takes is a little persistence and effort above and beyond to implement just a few of the above skills. Have you been in a leasing position before? Is there anything that you feel is missing from this list? What are some of the other top leasing agent skills that may have been missed? Let us know!
Until next time…keep it real!