How to become a lettings agent

A lettings agent (otherwise known as an estate agent) handles rental properties on behalf of their owners. This can be for both residential (homes where people live) and commercial properties (used for businesses such as offices to rent, centres and stores). We provide an overview of the roles, responsibilities, qualifications and what you require to become a lettings agent.

Key responsibilities as a lettings agent

Lettings agents are required to market properties, draw up rental contracts, select tenants and respond to requests made by tenants.

You could be representing properties including:

  • Homes
  • Flats
  • Offices
  • Complexs
  • Stores
  • Stadiums
  • Building sites
  • Plots of land

In this position, you are likely to be based in an office but will spend a considerable amount of time on the road or on site visiting partners and viewing properties.

Estate agents look after properties on the owner’s behalf, with responsibilities including:

  • Selecting responsible tenants
  • Advising clients on rents and the rental process
  • Setting up viewings
  • Going to viewings
  • Handling any potential problems that arise with rental property
  • Sorting out maintenance work at properties
  • Meeting landlords
  • Undertaking inspections
  • Checking tenant references
  • Preparing inventories
  • Sorting out tenancy agreements
  • Working with solicitors, suppliers, cleaners and builders
  • Keeping up to date with any potential changes in property law pertaining to rental properties

Starting salaries as a lettings agent

If you are an entry-level lettings agent, you can expect your starting salary to be approximately £16,000 per year. Your salary will increase once you have gained experience in the sector.

A lettings agent with considerable experience in the industry can expect to earn around £35,000 per annum. Both salaries are based on working approximately 40 to 42 hours on average per week.

Importantly, working as a lettings agent can be heavily commissioned based and it is very common for salaries to double or triple if you meet targets or make noticeable deals.

Of course, holding a more senior position in a company, having multiple branches and representing a lot of properties could command salaries of £100,000+

Qualifications needed to become a lettings agent

It is not a requirement to have a degree in order to become a lettings agent, but it is almost certain you will need a full driving licence to get a job in this field.

Alongside this, there are three main routes to getting into this profession. These are:

  • Through an apprenticeship
  • Working towards the role
  • Specialist courses

Apprenticeships

Many people who become lettings agents take on an intermediate apprenticeship as a housing and property management assistant. To be able to get onto this kind of apprenticeship (which are offered across the UK) you will likely need GCSEs (9-4/A*-C) or similar qualifications, at least in English and Maths.

Training on the job

Alternatively, it is common for many who work as a lettings agent to start initially as an administrator within a lettings firm. In which case, depending on the agency, may offer positions without finishing school. Many lettings firms will be looking for someone to have some customer service or sales experience for this kind of role.

Like apprenticeships, employers may have similar qualification requirements when it comes to taking on trainees. However, it is much more likely that they will be interested in your relevant skills and experiences for the role of a lettings agent.

Specialist courses

Another possible route to becoming a lettings agent is through studying. For example, you could do the National Federation of Property Professionals qualifications in Residential Letting and Property Management.

The Chartered Institute of Housing also provides courses in Letting and Managing Residential Property for those considering this profession.

Skills needed to become a lettings agent

In order to become a lettings agent, you will need to possess the following skills and knowledge to thrive in this field:

  • Excellent verbal communication skills
  • Strong customer service skills
  • A strong interest in the property market
  • Ability to sell services and products
  • Active listening skills
  • Very good ability to work well under pressure
  • Excellent business management skills
  • Strong negotiating and persuasive skills
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