The positions of real estate agents and leasing agents actually have several things in common. In fact in some cases a real estate agent may even function as an independent leasing agent for clients through a real estate company. One place where these two positions differ is the amount of money they earn. The money that a leasing or real estate agent makes depends on a number of factors including whether it's a sale or a lease, the value of the property and how many agents or brokers are involved in the transaction.
Earning a Salary:
Real estate agents rarely ever earn a salary. If a real estate agent does have a salary, it's usually a very small amount with the majority of the agent's money being earned from commissions on sales. A real estate agent also has to have the backing of a real estate company to gain a salary. A leasing agent on the other hand may make all or most of his money from a salary, particularly if he works for a large apartment complex.
As a real estate agent, the amount of your commission is largely based on your contract with the client and whether or not you have to split the amount with another agent or broker. A real estate agent earns on average 6 percent or more on a sale, with the total amount paid based on the selling price. A leasing agent may get up to 15 percent of a lease, but the total amount earned may be based on the amount of rent paid for the first three months or the first year, depending on the agreement with the landlord.
One of the bonuses of being a real estate agent is that you often get to make your own schedule. A leasing agent often works daily in an office setting onsite at the property or from a real estate development office. These leasing agents are often required to be in the office for scheduled hours during the week. A real estate agent who works for a real estate company or brokerage may also be required to be present in the office for a certain amount of hours during the week. Real estate agents are also often required to work extended hours on a regular basis. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 57 percent of real estate agents were self-employed in 2010. Real estate agents can also expect an 11 percent increase in jobs between 2010 and 2020.
The payment structure for leasing and real estate agents is slightly different, depending on how the agent's agreement is set up with the owner or company. Real estate agents are typically paid at closing, which may occur more than 30 days from the date of the sale. A leasing agent usually receives the commission from a lease upon tenant move-in. Because tenants move into a new home much faster than homeowners, the leasing agent often gets paid much faster than a real estate agent.