How to Become a Property Manager
If you are well-organized and have an eye for meticulous detail, you may want to consider a career as a property manager.
As a property manager, you can earn a high salary while performing rewarding work managing residential or commercial properties.
In this post, we will tell you what you need to know to become a property manager. But first, let’s explain exactly what property managers do and how much you can earn in this field.
What is a Property Manager?
A property manager is simply the person who manages a rental property. As we just mentioned, that property can be residential or commercial in nature. Sometimes, property managers are also known as “real estate managers” or “property administrators.”
Property owners do not always want to handle the everyday business of running a property. In some situations, they may be unable to do so. They could be located remotely, and/or own multiple properties that all need management.
As the property manager, here are some of the duties you can expect to perform:
- Posting ads for units that are open.
- Showing renters around the property.
- Screening and approving tenants.
- Drawing up and signing agreements.
- Selecting and working with contractors for maintenance and repair work.
- Helping tenants.
- Collecting rent money.
- Keeping an eye out for compliance issues, and addressing them as needed.
- Renewing leases.
- Taking appropriate steps when payments are late.
- Inspecting units before move in and after move out.
- Facilitating the resolution of issues between tenants.
You can see that a property manager’s duties are extremely varied. That means you need to have the professional versatility to switch roles quickly each day. One minute, you could be accounting. The next, you could be providing customer service to a tenant. A few minutes later, you could be inspecting the property.
Key Point: Property managers handle accounting, leases, maintenance, tenants, and more for residential and commercial property owners.
Property Manager Salary
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics lists a median pay for “property, real estate, and community association managers” of $59,660. The bottom 10% earned under $31,330, while the highest 10% earned over $134,570.
How much you can earn depends on your experience level, your geographical location, the type of property you are managing, and other factors.
Key Point: Property managers can earn excellent pay, especially with competitive resumes.
How Do You Become a Property Manager?
To become a property manager, you are going to need to get licensed and certified. The exact requirements will vary from state to state.
Do You Need a Degree?
One of the most exciting things about becoming a property manager is that the barriers to entry are relatively low. You do not need a college degree to become a property manager. You just need a high school diploma or GED.
If you do have the luxury of pursuing a college degree, however, you should consider it. A degree will add to your qualifications and help you stand out from other applicants. In fact, there are firms that will not consider you without one.
Key Point: You can become a property manager with a high school diploma or GED.
Licensing and Certification Requirements for Property Managers
In almost every state, you need a license to work as a property manager. You will have to look up your state’s licensing requirements.
Technically, you do not generally need a certificate the same way you need a license. Licensing is what allows you to operate legally. But private organizations issue certifications.
You will be able to operate legally without a certification, but you will have a hard time getting hired. Try and get one or more certifications from organizations such as:
Certifications from NALP® and CAM® are a good starting point for someone just getting into property management. The more certifications you have, the more hireable you will become.
Some states may also issue certifications along with licenses. If that is the case for your state, you may need to apply for both to legally operate.
Key Point: To legally become a property manager, you need a license. You also should apply for certifications.
Basic Steps to Become a Property Manager
1. Get the education you need for your license.
Whether or not you intend to earn a college degree, you will need sufficient knowledge to pass your state’s licensing exam. Plus, many states require you attend some form of accredited educational program.
So, begin by doing some research into the licensing requirements for your state. Then, choose an accredited school that will meet those requirements.
Take note while you are looking into licensing requirements that not every state refers to the license you need as a “property management license.” Indeed, most states require that you apply for a “real estate broker license.”
To make matters extra confusing, there are states where you can work as a property manager without obtaining a real estate broker license if you are working directly for someone who has that license (not that you would want this situation to be a permanent one).
The good news is that it should take you no longer than six months to complete an accredited program. Some real estate schools offer courses you can finish in as few as two to three months. Typically, your state will stipulate a certain number of minimum hours.
2. Get your license.
You will now have to pass your licensing exam. At the time you take your test, you will need to furnish certificates that prove you successfully completed your real estate education. You may also be required to fill out and provide additional forms as per your state’s requirements. Finally, you will have to pay the exam fee.
If you obtain a passing score on your state exam, congrats! You now have a license as a property manager.
3. Apply for certificates.
If your state issues certificates, you will need to meet any additional educational requirements to apply for one. This may require another exam.
This is also around when you should be applying for certifications from professional organizations like NALP® and CAM®.
4. Register your business.
Finally, you will be ready to register your property management business (assuming you will work for yourself and not a firm). Check if your state requires you to use a specific type of business structure. If you choose the wrong one, you may be operating illegally.
5. Open your business.
Once you have registered your business and paid any necessary fees, you can finally open your business.
One thing we cannot emphasize enough is that state requirements vary with respecting to licensing, certification and education for property managers. Make sure you look up exactly what your state requires. The steps we gave above are generic. They give you an idea of what to expect, but do not substitute for familiarizing yourself with the laws in your state. Doing so and abiding by them is your responsibility.
Key Point: To become a property manager, you will need to meet your state’s educational requirements, take an exam, obtain certifications, and appropriately register your business.
Earn Your Property Management Licenses and Certifications Now
If you are ready to embark on a high-paying career that does not require a college degree, property manager is an excellent choice.
To get started now, look up real estate schools and licensing requirements for your state below.