Last week our amazing leasing agent took some much-deserved time off.
While Vicky was at home with her feet up binge-watching Dr Phil, yours truly put his hand up to cover her role.
If you are not in the industry there is every chance that you are not aware of the key role a leasing agent plays.
While it may be your property manager that gets all the glory, before they take the reins the leasing agent plays a big part in the vitally important process of tenant selection.
The leasing agent is the first point of contact with the people that are going to be living in your most valuable investment, so having a super star leasing agent is going to make a huge difference.
While company structure may differ, in a nutshell, this is what Vicky does for us.
Scheduling of open for inspections for our for-lease properties, showing prospective tenants through said properties, and processing of their applications.
So how was my week on the front lines?
I discovered very quickly that owners like to know as much as possible about their tenants because not only does your tenant have to be the right fit for the property, they must be the right fit for the owners also.
I started to see an open for inspection was a little like an interview, or maybe more like speed dating.
No really, I had 15 minutes one day to meet 37 people and show them through the property before I zoomed off to my next one.
Leasing a property is not just unlocking the front door and letting the tenants have a roam around.
A leasing agent needs to be a people person, they need to take the time to meet and get a sense of the applicants they are presenting as assessing someone on an application alone is only half the job.
A good leasing agent also needs to be a good detective.
These days a tenancy application is on average around 30 pages long.
Property history, personal and employment references, bank statements, Identification and more, it’s a lot!
It takes a very conscientious person to check though an application thoroughly to ensure all references and information provided is genuine.
While most people do the right thing every now and again you do come across some things that are not quite right.
Once upon a time a very savvy leasing agent I worked with noticed that although an applicant had amazing references, she thought it was a little odd that both certified copies of a driver’s licence and passport appeared to have the exact same photo.
Long story short, this query uncovered and exposed a large drug growing ring, it made the news.
And another thing.
Man is it tough out there for tenants.
I met many very lovely people that had to stand in line with 49 others on a forty-degree day to view a property that only one person was going to be successful for.
I found this really upsetting.
The other thing I noticed, was these people are trying their hardest to find a home for themselves and their family and they deserve to be treated with respect, they want to be engaged with, not just treated as a number in a busy crowd.
Many moons a go I was a leasing agent for a short time, I used to joke that all I did all day was answer the same two question over and over.
How much does this one cost and when is it available?
It wasn’t like that this time around.
This time it was more like, what can I do to strengthen my application, do you have any other properties coming up, why do I keep getting rejected for properties?
Everyone needs to be given an opportunity to view the property, have their application processed and be presented to the owner for consideration.
Safe to say I really underestimated the amount of patience, empathy, and energy it takes to be a leasing agent in this climate.
Lucky for us though, Vicky has these qualities in spades.
Written by Ben Broadley