At Leasebreak we believe in real estate agents and the value they bring to the table, and our website was designed with this core principle in mind.
After a tenant has their landlord’s approval to break their lease and find a replacement tenant, the burden is often on the tenant to market the apartment. Who better to help with marketing, showings, negotiations, and exposure than experienced and dedicated real estate agents who do this for a living?
We believe tenants have the best chance of finding a replacement renter if: 1) The tenant posts the listing on Leasebreak and 2) The tenant secures the help of a broker to do so. The best part for the tenant is that these services will appear to be FREE to the tenant, because the incoming tenant pays the broker fee. NOTE: Depending on the market and the specific property, it may be difficult to get the incoming tenant to pay the fee. (Click here for an article that shows tenants why agents can be so helpful, and also offers them some great tips.)
As an agent, what is the best way to work “Leasebreak Leads”, whether you get them through our Agent Listing Lead Program or from some other source? NOTE: If you email tenants directly on our website to try to help market their apartment, you may be deactivated. However, please email us at [email protected] for more info about our Agent Listing Lead Program).
These seven tips will help you market a tenant's "leasebreak" successfully:
- Confirm that tenant received landlord approval. Don’t proceed too far in the process without confirmation that the landlord gave permission to the tenant to break the lease. The tenant and landlord have a signed contract, so both parties should be involved. And, the last thing you want is to get to the point of signing a lease, only to find out that the landlord never said it was approved! However, NEVER contact the landlord without the permission of the tenant.
- Meet with the tenant first. Believe it or not, some agents just send over an exclusive contract and ask the tenant to sign. A skilled agent like you, however, knows to meet with the tenant first. Get them comfortable with you, and even suggest some apartment staging tips while you’re there — demonstrate the value you bring to the table. NOTE: We know that some agents are successful by doing this all over email without seeing the apartment first so feel free to experiment with this. However, there is nothing that can replace an in person meeting to really connect with a future client.
- Market as a 12-month lease if possible. Even when landlords give their permission for a new renter to take over the remaining months of the lease, you would be surprised how often tenants don’t think to ask if the landlord would also allow the tenant to end the lease and find a new “12-month renter”. This gives you a huge advantage: you can market the property both for the remaining months on the lease AND as a 12-month rental. (And you know how much easier it is to market a 12-month rental!) However, if a landlord does allow a new long-term renter, make sure you confirm the price, because today’s prices are often higher than the current rent.
- Make a 3-month lease into a 15-month lease. Even if the landlord does not allow a new 12-month renter as explained above, usually the landlord would certainly allow the new tenant to renew the lease for a yearly term. For instance, let’s say you have to market the remaining 3 months of someone’s lease. If the landlord will allow a renewal, perhaps you can also market this unit as a 15-month lease (12 + 3, get it?). This gives you more options, and that is the name of the game: more options for prospective tenants means more exposure. If you go this route, make sure you have some sense of what the renewal rate is, so that you can incorporate that into the marketing.
- Highlight the fact that there’s no downside, only upside. Since the incoming tenant is often paying the fee, it is almost like you are working with the tenant for free (from their perspective). You should highlight this, as they may not be aware of this. However, different markets and different building/units call for different approaches. Sometimes, it may not be practical to have the incoming tenant pay the fee, and the burden - at least some of it - may have to fall to the current tenant.
- Be willing to do exclusive agency. Understandingly, a tenant who needs to break their lease will often not be comfortable with signing an “Exclusive Right to Rent” agreement because it takes away their ability to rent the apartment on their own. You can take away this fear by agreeing to do “exclusive agency” instead: this allows the tenant to continue to market the apartment on their own and with your help, and if they find someone on their own, a brokerage fee will not be owed.
- Be creative and find the angle. You are being asked to help this person because of your expertise in the industry. The information you provide is extremely valuable, and you may have to come up with a creative marketing strategy. For example, just because there are six other one-beds you are competing with in the building that are “no fee”, it does not mean that you have an impossible task. Perhaps the length of your lease is different from the others? Or the renovations or views are different? You see the point: educate your client. They need your guidance given that this is not what they do for a living. Perhaps your client is willing to offer an incentive, or pick up part or all of the brokerage fee. What clients need most is the best strategy for marketing their particular rental — which you can provide them with your skills and experience.