How to Become a Property Manager

Property management is an excellent career path. In 2020, the United States property management industry generated $88 billion in revenue. There are more than 300,000 property management companies registered in the United States and over 367,000 registered employees - excluding self-employed property managers. With this staggering potential for professional growth, it is easy to see why so many people enter the property management industry.

Property management - also known as real estate management - is the maintenance and oversight of real estate properties. Property managers and property management companies oversee and administer the operation of rental properties on behalf of the landowner who hires them. The primary responsibilities of property managers consist of finding and evicting tenants, scheduling home inspections, ensuring compliance with local rental regulations, facilitating rental contracts, collecting rent, coordinating maintenance and repairs for the property, and drafting financial statements for the property’s owners. The property manager also functions as the primary bridge of communication between the tenant and the landowner - setting the expectations and responsibilities for both parties.

From getting a real estate license, to your first job at a property management agency, to acquiring your real estate broker license and working independently, to starting your own property management company - working in the property management industry provides a plethora of available career paths - each granting financial independence as well as work experience that is relevant and beneficial to other professions and pursuits. Some property managers work independently, however, a vast majority of property managers are employed by property management companies - in which case they are obligated to the property management agency as well as the owners of the properties they are managing.

In order to become a property manager, you need to possess a high school diploma or GED, be at least 18 or 21 years old - depending on the state, and be a US citizen eligible for employment. While it is not a legal requirement to have a real estate license in order to become a property manager in some states, many of the most important responsibilities of the job require the license - and property managers without a real estate license will not be able to compete in the market or acquire employment. For instance - in order to list real estate properties, market and advertise these properties, lease these properties on behalf of their owners, manage income-producing properties, and collect rent from tenants - a real estate license is required.

In order to get a real estate license, you need to enroll in a real estate school and fulfill the pre-licensing educational requirements. These consist of three required courses - real estate practice, real estate principles, and an elective of your choice. Each of these courses provides a certificate of completion that permits you to schedule your real estate exam. Once you pass the exam, the Department of Real Estate will mail you your license and you can find employment at a real estate brokerage.

Although not technically necessary, there are a variety of certifications for property managers that may improve your marketability to both landowners and property management companies since it conveys professionalism and expertise. Examples of these include, National Apartment Leasing Professional (NALP), Residential Management Professional (RMP), Certified Apartment Manager (CAM), Certified Property Manager (CPM), and Master Property Manager (MPM). These certifications require specific educational coursework, work experience in property management, and passing an exam or a series of tests. Unlike the real estate brokerage license which is granted at a state level and only permits you to operate in the state it is granted, these certifications are granted by national trade associations and are valid for the rest of your career, even if you decide to move to another state. Education online or at a college is another way to expand your skill set and improve your marketability as a property manager. Property management companies value coursework in real estate management, real estate development, real estate finance, property management, and urban planning. If school is not a feasible option, work experience in the field can prove just as valuable.

Through networking with local real estate agents and utilizing online job boards, you can find your first work experience in property management and launch your career. Working at a property management company is an excellent way to gain insight and experience pertaining to the real estate industry, local ordinances and regulations on real estate management, as well as fulfilling the requirements for acquiring a real estate brokers license, should you choose to pursue it. Getting a real estate brokers license permits you to legally represent yourself as an independent property manager instead of working for a property management company. If you only have a realtor license, you must work for a real estate broker or a real estate brokerage agency. However, if you go on to acquire your real estate brokerage license, you do not need to work for an agency, but can instead represent yourself and hire other real estate agents to conduct work on your behalf. To get a real estate broker license, you will need a real estate license as well as a few years of work experience in real estate. You must then file an application and pass a series of tests and exams.

Once you have a real estate brokers license, you can choose to start your own property management company and employ other real estate agents. If you decide to do so, you should hire a real estate attorney to deal with legal issues and ensure compliance with federal, state, and local regulations. You can find clients seeking a property manager through networking and previous experience from your work at property management companies. Also, you will need to market yourself and your business. Utilize websites, email, search engine optimization, and social media. Or just partner with 150birds partner with 150birds, we make marketing your property management business a walk in the park.





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