• Real estate agents receive $500 a day to show renters around if they are in the Alain Pinel relocation program.
  • Agents working with renters should offer the same level of service and information as they do working with buyers.
  • Ongoing education and top-notch service can help lead to future referrals.

Unless you’re brand-spanking-new to the industry, you know that the rental market is hot in most parts of the country. You probably also know that more often than not, making money as a real estate agent working in rental markets is difficult — but it’s not impossible.

Roughly six years ago, Michi Olson, vice president of relocation and business development with Alain Pinel Realtors, launched a program in the San Francisco Bay Area to provide more information for renters relocating to the area.

The program encourages Realtors to learn how to work with renters, particularly those who are relocating from throughout the nation or from overseas, and also helps agents get properly compensated for their time.

It’s referred to as the rental tour program, now including about 450 relocation agents who are both full-time real estate agents and who also work with relocating clients.

While the principles between relocating renters and traditional renters are different, the same tactics could be applied to real estate agents and brokerages working with the latter.

“There is a lot of work that goes into it. Not just any agent can go out; you have to train them,” Olson said. There is more to showing a renter around a couple different apartments, and Olson’s program is run on the belief that the entire community should be showcased.

Just like working with a homebuyer, the real estate agent working with a renter should tour where local amenities are, important resources nearby, utility information and more.

A lot of research is involved in the process of finding the perfect apartment, especially because listing information is not readily accurate and available. Because of this, real estate agents working with renters should be properly compensated by their brokerages.

The relocation program offers its agents a $500 payout for a day of showing around renters on top of what they make as a full-time agent. Alain Pinel charges corporations and individuals it works with, which helps to balance out the money given to agents; Olson didn’t disclose how much Alain Pinel charges the corporations and individuals for its program.

“The reason we pay our agents is that we appreciate their time,” Olson said.

The rental program is based on the idea that taking care of renters now could lead to referrals down the road when they are ready to buy. The bar is set high for real estate agents to take care of renters, and regular education is required for agents to stay in the program.

Email Kimberly Manning.

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