What’s the Difference Between Leasing Agents and Property Managers?
Property management is a broad term used for the complex functions of running a property. A property can be any building or collection of buildings that make up a development. A well-managed property commands higher rents, enjoys high occupancy rates, and maintains a status as a desirable location for residents or commercial locators.
The business of property management involves two main aspects: 1) managing the common areas and building facilities; and 2) leasing (if not selling) the residential or commercial units. The common areas are anything that is jointly used by anyone who occupies or visits the property. Each aspect of the business needs a certain level of attention and requires a different type of skill.
Property managers are sometimes called building managers or complex managers. They are the people who oversee the day to day operations of a property. They ensure building facilities, such as water supply, electricity supply, and sewage, work properly and that each occupant of the building can enjoy these facilities without interruption.
They ensure that escalators and elevators are working and maintained according to a preventive maintenance schedule. They keep security and housekeeping teams adequately staffed and deployed to various parts of the property. They liaise with building occupants to address their concerns or issues, whether it be the payment of monthly dues or concerns regarding the parking facilities of the building.
Building managers also look after shared spaces within the property. These can be open spaces, such as lobbies, or amenities like a playground, a swimming pool, or gym. They need to keep these working well and do not pose a danger to the residents. Because they are responsible for the safety of the occupants of a building, they also need to be skilled in handling emergencies like fires, earthquakes, or water leaks.
Property managers are usually employed and trained by a professional property management company and should have a constant presence in and around the building.
Leasing agents are in the business of prospecting, negotiating, and signing up clients for rental units. Unlike property managers, they are more concerned with the individual residential or commercial units rather than the operations of the building as a whole.
A residential or commercial leasing agent will need to source leads and look for prospective tenants. Depending on the desirability of a certain unit, whether due to its size, location, or the furnishings included in it, it is the agent’s job to market it to prospective clients.
The leasing agent will be the one to negotiate with prospective tenants and conduct a background or credit history check. Once a tenant agrees to the price and terms of a contract, they can then turn over the property for the tenant’s use. A leasing agent is also responsible for ensuring that rental is collected from the lessee according to the agreement, whether it be monthly, quarterly, or annually.
Leasing agents act on behalf of the owner of the property. They may handle one or two residential units or entire buildings. They need a license to be able to broker such real estate transactions. They are usually paid a commission by the owner for a successful transaction. Commissions are based on a percentage of the total rental that a contract is worth. In sum, leasing agents are the marketing side of property management.
In many cases, a professionally managed and well-run development will advertise itself. The indicators of a desirable place to live in are: when the residents and tenants of a building are able to experience uninterrupted services, the common areas are kept clean, and concerns are dealt with efficiently and competently. Happy occupants tend to renew or extend their leases. That should be part of the goal of every successful property management company.
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