How to become a letting agent in 8 steps (with definition)
Updated 30 September 2022
The property industry is a competitive one and the competition for letting agents seems to be growing. A letting agent's job is to find tenants and make sure the property is well looked after throughout the contract on behalf of the landlord. If you're interested in becoming a letting agent, there are certain qualifications and experience to consider to help you make the most out of this career. In this article, we explore how to become a letting agent and the skills a letting agent has to learn to succeed.
What is a letting agent?
Letting agents help landlords find tenants for their properties, but they also have other responsibilities, such as checking that all of the tenant's papers are in order, dealing with any maintenance issues and making sure both parties are happy with their experience during the tenancy period. Letting agents can have different specialities, so it's ideal to understand what your options are and what kind of experience you may need to have before committing to a career in this field.
How to become a letting agent
Learning that it isn't necessary to have a formal qualification like a specific A-level or degree, but it's recommended that you do some further training to gain more experience in property management, is part of discovering how to become a letting agent. To work as a letting agent, you are required to be 18 years old or over, but it's never too early to learn the relevant skills to begin this career. To become a letting agent, follow the steps below:
1. Have good communication skills
Communication is a skill that is essential for any job, but it's particularly important for those in the property sector. Letting agents work best when they can communicate effectively with landlords, tenants and other agents and their colleagues. Understanding their clients' needs and wants means they can help more people find the right property at the right price.
Communication also means being able to listen carefully. This is especially vital when dealing with landlords because they may have concerns about an agent's suitability or their ability to manage their portfolio of properties efficiently. Landlords often want someone who can provide a high level of service and support over an extended period, so it's key for agents to build a good relationship with them from the beginning.
Related: What are communication skills?
2. Have tenacity
Tenacity is the ability to keep going, to be persistent and push on despite setbacks. Tenacity can be a great asset for those entering the lettings industry as it allows individuals to stay focused on their goals in the face of challenges. The ability to keep going, even with setbacks, is a key quality for a letting agent.
You're likely to make mistakes throughout your career, but having a positive attitude to failure and being able to learn from these things and move on can put you on your way to success.
3. Practise your customer service skills
Customer service orientation is a necessary skill, as you may need to deal with all kinds of people. Some may be difficult to deal with, while others may be unreasonable or might have unrealistic expectations about what your property can offer them for a certain price. Make sure you're equipped for any situation so the customer leaves satisfied and ready to rent from you again and potentially refer their friends. Here are a few tips on how to handle customers:
Be polite: It's easy for things to get stressful when dealing with people who are difficult or demanding but practise staying calm in these situations. If you stay calm and polite, it can help keep emotions down and prevent further escalation of any conflict.
Be professional: While being friendly is important, remember not to cross the line between friendly and unprofessional. This can help potential clients feel secure in their decision to rent their property or be a tenant with you.
Be informative: Be informative about your services and policies by knowing what information you need from clients when they come into your office, how long it could take to get back in touch with them once you've received their application and the terms of the agreement.
4. Know the market
As a letting agent, it's key to stay up to date on the latest trends in your area of expertise. Try to regularly research what other agents are doing and how they're working with their clients. This can help you stay competitive in the industry. If you know what other agents are offering, it can help you tailor your services to better meet your customers' needs. That way, you stand out from competing agencies and become a trusted source for those looking for a new property or to rent theirs out.
Related: How to become an estate agent
5. Know your client
As a letting agent, it's your job to know your client. Understanding what they need and want helps you provide them with the best possible service. Ask them what their priorities are and whether they have any specific goals. If a tenant comes to you and asks for something that isn't in their lease agreement, like an extension on their rental period, knowing how to handle that request on behalf of the landlord is important.
If there are any requests you can't realise, knowing your client well can help you communicate this with tenants. You may also want to remember that being a letting agent means you're representing both the landlord and the tenant. Getting to know both sides can ensure the right outcome for everyone.
Related: A guide to estate agent jobs
6. Have good time management skills
As a letting agent, you may often be multitasking. These include things like finding new tenants, meeting with prospective tenants and landlords and managing rental payments. It can be overwhelming having multiple responsibilities at the same time and working on your time management skills can make it easier to keep on top of your tasks. To start improving your time management, try creating a calendar. Use this calendar to keep track of all of your meetings with tenants, check-ins with clients and other essential tasks that need completing on a daily basis.
7. Know basic admin skills
Admin skills are key for letting agents because they help you make your business run smoother and more efficiently. The specific software letting agents use can vary between companies, but knowing the basics can make it easier to get used to a range of tools. Using spreadsheets and databases to help you organise your information can help to make sure everything is as easy as possible when it comes time for renewals or inspections or anything else that might require information from previous years.
It's also helpful if you have some knowledge about how to create documents that are easy for landlords and tenants alike to understand and fill out correctly. This can help ensure everything runs smoothly during this time of transition for both parties involved and it can save you time and energy when it comes time for renewal paperwork.
8. Pay attention to the details
It's important for letting agents pay attention to the details because it's often those details that can make or break a deal. Attention to detail is what can keep you from overlooking anything, so you don't miss out on a potential client or lease opportunity. Your clients are likely to trust you more when they know you've done your due diligence before signing a contract with them.
When you're looking at properties, try to make sure all the minor details are taken care of, so that when you show them to clients, any small problems won't be distracting. This means checking things like the paintwork, light fittings and even door handles. These small things may not seem important at first, but they can make a big difference in how much people enjoy renting the property.
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