How Does an Apartment Locator Make Money?
Apartment locator services are completely free for clients to use. Instead of charging new renters a fee, buildings pay locators a commission whenever a client signs a lease.
A pre-negotiated contract between a building and locator determines the amount, which varies from one building to another. Sometimes they pay a flat fee, and sometimes they offer a percentage of one month’s rent. The most common type of contract guarantees 100% of one month’s rent.
The amount that each individual locator actually pockets varies by company and business model, providing a potentially lucrative career path. Here are 3 different ways to work as a locator:
Option 1: Brokerage or Real Estate Agency
- What it is: Licensed real estate agents work under the name of an agency or brokerage office. Instead of buying and selling, they focus solely on rentals and apartments.
- Typical pay structure: Agents split commissions with their brokerage or agency.
- Pros: They possess a large network of referrals from buy and sell agents under the same brokerage.
- Cons: They offer low payout and no support. At an agency, most people focus on buying and selling, so they lack a support system of understanding people when it comes to rentals. At a brokerage, they abide by the “every person for themself” rule. Plus, tension and serious competition between fellow brokers is the norm.
Option 2: Independent
- What it is: Agents operate as individuals, similar to freelancing. They typically set up an LLC, build a simple website, and help a few clients find apartments each month.
- Typical pay structure: Because they act alone, 100% of the commission goes to independent agents.
- Pros: Independent agents receive the full payout.
- Cons: Working alone means a heavy workload and limits how much the agent can accomplish, preventing their business from scaling up in size. To succeed, independent agents must establish contracts with hundreds of buildings on their own. They seek out their own leads and perform all the invoicing and administrative work. On top of all that, they tour places in-person for about 20 hours per week and spend another 20 hours communicating with clients.
Option 3: Locator Business
- What it is: A locator company resembles a brokerage in that agents work under the name of the company, but they focus exclusively on locating. It is not always necessary to have a license to work for these businesses, but the laws around licensing vary by state.
- Typical pay structure: Locators take home a percentage of the total commission.
- Pros: These agents can focus solely on clients. The companies hire teams to schedule in-person tours; establish contracts and maintain relationships with buildings; take care of marketing; and build custom technology tailored to the role. Additionally, they provide a constant stream of leads alongside mentorship and ongoing training.
- Cons: Locators split the commission. However, they can handle more volume and can easily make up, or even exceed, the difference.
Related: How to Write a Good Rental Listing
Factors That Influence Apartment Locator Salary
The highest-paid locators work 80+ hours a week. You can work 20 and still make good money, but you reap what you sow.
The commission per deal:
Higher commissions mean a higher yearly salary, and while salaries can range pretty widely, AptAmigo offers the highest commission splits in the industry.
Volume & efficiency:
An agent’s income comes down to how many deals they can close. Independent agents tend to cap out at around 14, whereas brokers can manage about 20. Locators for AptAmigo, however, cap out closer to 40 because their access to support teams and custom technology makes them extra efficient.
Price of rent at the buildings you have relationships with:
Since pay comes from a commission typically commensurate with one month’s rent, newer, luxury buildings will pay more than older, cheaper buildings. The outreach to establish relationships with each building takes about 5-10 hours, with luxury buildings requiring the most time.
Finding people who want to live in those particular buildings matters too. Attracting renters whose requirements fit the buildings in the company’s network requires lots of marketing targeted at acquiring the appropriate traffic.
Apartment Locator Salary
Many factors influence an apartment locator’s yearly salary. In reality, different locators set different goals for themselves, and it makes sense to break it down accordingly, although the situations described below can vary even more than the 2 examples outlined here.
Despite situational variations in income level, a six-figure apartment locator’s salary sits within reach for those ready to put in the hours.
For example, one AptAmigo rep closed 30 deals in one month, netting a $20,000 income for that month.
It’s worth noting that the AptAmigo agents described below achieved the numbers provided within 1-5 months of working full time. In some real estate roles, it takes years to achieve this income, but locators start making money immediately. 100% of AptAmigo’s agents close a deal in their first week.
A Top-Achiever’s Firsthand Account
About me: “I was a college student looking for opportunities to grow in sales. I had previous internship experience, but nothing involving real estate, so I was very eager to learn.”
Quote: “My initial objection about this role was the lack of a salary. I was nervous I wouldn’t perform well in a commission-only position, but having self-discipline and confidence has helped me.
In general, I have really begun to understand AptAmigo’s model. I use my time much more efficiently to achieve my highest potential and have the confidence to share my experiences and skills with others in the role.”
Time spent in the role: 5 months
Real estate background?: None
Deals closed: 30
Hours per week worked: 80-100. “I was constantly sourcing leads and working with clients, so I was working on and off for about 12-14 hours per day.”
Take-home pay (for a 30-deal month): $20,000
Projected yearly salary: $150,000
An Average Rep’s Firsthand Account
“I got my degree in accounting, actually, and did a public accounting job for about 10 months before getting my real estate license in October of 2020. I started by showing houses for other agents as practice!!”
Quote: “My hesitation about the role when I started out was definitely that it’s 100% commission-based, and I knew I wasn’t guaranteed anything. It’s scary being in a role that really is what you make it to be. However, that was a small hesitation because I was more excited about it as I learned about the earnings potential. Commission turned into a positive feature because I LOVE that I get out what I put in.
At my previous job, I was not rewarded for any overtime. This job rewards me monetarily and when I see clients super excited about finding the right place. I absolutely love this role. I learn so much about Denver and feel like I make friends every day. Also, the fact that I get paid to do it is hard to beat.”
Time spent in the role: 1 month
Real estate background?: Some
Deals closed: 12
Hours per week worked: 40-50
Take-home pay: $7,500
Projected yearly salary: $80,00-$100,000
How AptAmigo Apartment Locators Make More
AptAmigo reps can maintain double the volume of sales due to the company’s highly efficient process. Thanks to support from multiple teams, each rep receives help with marketing, leads, invoicing, touring, and custom technology to make it possible.
High Commission Split
AptAmigo reps get a higher split than any other locators.
Catalog of Luxury Buildings
Our Ops team builds and maintains relationships with all of the buildings in AptAmigo’s network. We specialize in new, luxury buildings in high-demand areas.
We built a lead funnel that supplies highly interested, qualified traffic to each rep. These warm leads consist of people searching for high-value apartments who would benefit from the services of an apartment locator.
Fast Sales Cycle
The time from the first call to close is sometimes as short as 24 hours, but on average the process takes 3-7 days.
Find out more about why AptAmigo is the best place to start a career in real estate.
Ready to join the AptAmigo team? We’re always looking for highly motivated applicants and would love to hear from you. Apply today!
* The original version of this article was first published on July 5, 2021.
AptAmigo is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace and does not discriminate based on race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, genetic information, physical or mental disability, medical condition, marital status, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law, in connection with any aspect of employment at AptAmigo.