Starting From the Ground Up: The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Property Manager
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Unlike buying or selling real estate, property management — also known as real estate management — focuses on rental properties. The responsibilities go beyond finding tenants and making sure they pay on time. Property managers need the proper skills, tools, and experience to handle multiple residential, commercial, and industrial properties.
What Does a Property Manager Do?
Property managers oversee the daily operations, maintenance, and management of rental properties on behalf of owners. Management firms or real estate owners hire property managers to deal with tenants, service providers, contractors, and other site visitors or workers.
Common property manager tasks include:
- Collecting rent
- Corresponding with property owners and tenants
- Handling maintenance requests and hiring professionals for repairs
- Recording financial transactions
- Serving as a go-between for tenants and landlords
- Handling lease renewals
- Screening tenant applications
- Overseeing the eviction processes
- Advertising real estate properties
How to Become a Property Manager
The process of becoming a licensed property manager is relatively straightforward. Candidates can take these steps to begin their foray into the industry.
1. Receive Real Estate Education
Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to be considered for any property management role. Basic education requirements are also required before applying for necessary real estate licenses. While a bachelor’s degree is often not required for property management roles, it certainly helps to become more knowledgeable of business processes related to real estate management.
Online and on-site programs focusing on real estate courses teach candidates the fundamentals such as:
- Real estate management
- Real estate finance
- Urban planning
- Property management
- Real estate development
2. Get a Real Estate License
Many states require aspiring property managers to be licensed real estate agents or brokers before overseeing the operation of any property. In contrast, some states require only a property manager license. Different states have unique requirements, like a 70% passing rate on the licensing exams and a minimum of 60 hours for coursework.
3. Obtain Real Estate Work Experience
Having real-world experience in the real estate industry is a definite plus for aspiring candidates. Aspiring candidates for property management positions can obtain relevant experience from the following:
- Professional organizations
- Real estate roles
Individuals with previous experience working for a brokerage or property management firm are more likely to land a job, even in saturated markets. Working in real estate will equip applicants with solid communication, customer service, sales, critical thinking, and decision-making skills.
4. Get Additional Property Management Certification
After obtaining the necessary skills and licenses, professionals can enhance their qualifications by getting certified for specialized markets. They can undergo additional training and take exams to progress in the profession.
Some of the most common and sought-after certifications include:
- Certified Property Manager (CPM)
- Certified Apartment Manager (CAM)
- Master Property Manager (MPM)
- National Apartment Leasing Professional (NALP)
Success Tips for Property Manager Candidates
A property manager wears many hats. Here are some tips to ensure success in this specific property market niche.
1. Maintain Good Relationships With Owner-Clients and Tenants
A property manager is the bridge between tenants and their landlords. Excellent people skills will help candidates deal with various issues to achieve better relationships and reach agreements that work for all parties involved.
2. Think About Long-Term Success
Landing a client and keeping one are entirely different things. Property management requires a long-term commitment for a client-manager relationship to succeed. Property managers must ensure the growth of their client’s businesses and investments.
3. Get Familiar With Local Housing Laws and Average Rent
A successful property manager knows the ins and outs of the local property market, which ensures fair and attractive pricing to get more tenants and secure client profits. In addition, managers familiar with fair housing laws and local regulations governing landlords and tenants are better at handling legal and compliance matters.
4. Become an Effective Communicator
Communication is one of the most vital skills for a successful property manager. Dealing with people via phone calls, email, text or other means is all in a day’s work for a property manager. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are a must.
5. Be Organized and Build Time Management Skills
One residential property alone may require managers to deal with hundreds of tenants at a time. The list includes vendors, contractors, and other business contacts that help with maintenance and daily operations. Property managers must stay on top of all their responsibilities to exceed client-owners’ and tenants’ expectations.
From Property Management to Real Estate Sales and Acquisitions
Property managers can also become real estate agents once they meet state licensing requirements. Going this route can benefit managers and their clients since they’ve already established trust and good working relationships with one another. Additional responsibilities they can take over include:
- Finding properties: Property managers-turned-real estate agents can use their networks to find properties up for sale. They can also refer to their client list to see if anyone is interested in selling their residential, commercial, and industrial properties.
- Making the purchase: Property managers already have their foot in the door as they have built trust with clients. They can facilitate the negotiation and sale between parties to ensure a smoother transaction.
- Designing the properties: Excellent property managers understand their tenants’ needs and clients’ budgets. When deciding which furniture to get, they choose based on form and function while staying within the budget to satisfy both parties.
- Selling properties: With a complete understanding of how the market works and average rent and property costs, property managers who serve as real estate agents can create attractive deals for their clients and buyers.
Becoming a Property Manager
Being a property manager can be a lucrative profession. Some client-owners pay 8%-12% of monthly rent collections to property managers. The potential to become a real estate agent adds more room for financial growth. Anyone can take the proper steps and develop the necessary skills to get started in the property management industry.
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Evelyn Long is a writer and editor focused on home building and construction. She is the co-founder of Renovated, a web magazine for the home industry.
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