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How to Become a Property Manager in 6 Easy Steps

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Are you tired of your 9-to-5 and are looking to get into property management? If so, this post on how to become a property manager is for you.

In this guide, we highlight everything you need to know about getting into property management, from how much property managers make to what it takes to become one. 

We also illustrate six key steps you need to follow to garner success as a property manager. So, stick around!

An Overview of Property Management: A Primer

Property management is handling all the responsibilities of renting out a property. 

A property manager finds and screens potential tenants, and collects rent payments on behalf of the property owners.

They also handle property maintenance and ensure the properties comply with relevant laws and regulations.

A property manager or real estate agent can either have their own property management company, where a team works with them, or they can do it as a side hustle on top of their other careers.

There are four general types of property management:

  1. Residential Property Management: With residential properties, the tenant usually decides to stay at a property for prolonged periods—including apartments, condominiums, and townhouses. Residential property managers would screen prospective tenants, pay mortgages, and address concerns.
  2. Commercial Property Management: A commercial property manager handles business spaces such as office buildings, hotels, or restaurants. Their main tasks include finding tenants, negotiating leases, and maintaining the property.
  3. Industrial Property Management: Industrial properties include factories, warehouses, and distribution centers. When you work with this type of property, you are responsible for ensuring the property follows building codes and coordinating real estate tax reviews.
  4. Special-Purpose Property Management: These properties have specific purposes, such as nursing facilities, recreational centers, and resorts. Managing this type of property entails maintaining the amenities, marketing to attract guests and clients, and ensuring they have a positive experience.

How Much Do Property Managers Make?

In recent data posted by ZipRecruiter, a property manager can earn an average of $58,000 annually.

However, depending on their skill sets, educational qualifications, and experience, property managers can earn as much as $152,000 annually.

Young Couple with Property Manager in the Office

What You’ll Need to Become a Property Manager [& Associated Costs]

To start your career as a property manager, you’ll need the following:

  • High School Diploma or Equivalent: This is an essential requirement in getting started as a property manager. You can apply for a position as long as you have completed high school or have a General Education Development (GED) Certificate. However, some companies may prefer hiring those with higher educational attainments and credentials.
  • Specialized Training Courses: Property management courses can help you learn the basics of being a property manager. These courses cover various topics, such as real estate law, financial management and accounting, and property operations and maintenance.
  • Associate’s Degree: If you want to gain a broader understanding of the real estate industry, getting an associate’s degree would be an excellent investment. Aside from the core concepts taught in specialized courses, you will also gain hands-on learning through internships and field experiences.

Some programs you can choose from are an Associate’s Degree in Property Management or an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration – Real Estate Concentration. 

  • Bachelor’s Degree: If you plan to build your career being a property manager, you can consider completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration or a Bachelor’s Degree in Real Estate.

These courses focus on business principles, property development, and finance and investment analysis. Earning a bachelor’s degree provides you with a broader understanding of property management.

  • Real Estate License or Property Management License: Property managers should be certified before conducting transactions, such as managing and acting as leasing agents. Whether you need a real estate broker or a property management license depends on the state where you want to manage properties.

How Much Does It Cost to Become a Property Manager?

These are the estimated costs to become a property manager:

  • License Fees: $150–$1,000
  • Specialized Training Courses: $150–$10,000
  • Associate’s Degree: $3,000–$3,500 annually
  • Bachelor’s Degree: $35,000–$115,000

Is It Hard to Become a Property Manager?

It can be challenging to become a property manager since you have to familiarize yourself with real estate laws and regulations, ensure compliance with existing building codes, manage leases, and become the bridge between property owners and tenants.

However, if you possess the right social skills, you’re well on your way to becoming one.

First, property managers should be patient. Aside from the numerous day-to-day tasks, they also handle disputes among tenants and constantly communicate with the owners.

Secondly, property managers must have excellent time management skills. They juggle multiple tasks all at once, and being able to allocate time for each of these tasks is essential.

Moreover, they should keep track of all processes and ensure they’re running smoothly.

A property manager should also have sharp attention to detail. They handle numerous legal documents and being able to fill them out precisely or send notices on time is key to being a good property manager.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Property Manager?

While you can start as a property manager after high school, getting specialized courses, certifications, and continued education are recommended.

You have to invest between 1-7 years to become a certified property manager.

How to Become a Property Manager in 6 Simple Steps

In the USA, there are three basic requirements to become a manager. You should be at least 18 or 21 years old, a legal U.S. citizen, and must have a high school diploma or GED credentials.

Property Manager Filing Keys to Customer after Signing Rental Lease

To become a good property manager and master the process of real estate management, let’s look into the following steps:

Step 1. Decide Your Specialization

Before looking into specialized courses, it’s best to grasp the properties you’d like to manage. Aside from the four general types of property management, there are more specific types such as managing homeowner associations (HOA).

As a community association manager, you will be in charge of all the duties related to a HOA. These include maintaining common areas, accounting, assisting with administrative work, and communicating with residents.

Step 2. Research Necessary State Requirements

Once you’ve decided which field to specialize in, you must conduct some in-depth research, as licensing requirements vary per state.

As a minimum requirement, a property manager should at least have a Property Management License or a Real Estate Broker’s License. There are distinctions between the two.

A Property Management License allows you to become the middleman between a property owner and the tenant.

Further, you’re responsible for handling the day-to-day activities of the property which include finding tenants, collecting dues, and monitoring the properties’ amenities.

On the other hand, a Real Estate Broker’s License also allows a property manager to do the responsibilities of a Property Management licensee. In addition, they are allowed to represent a landlord and a tenant during transactions.

As a leasing agent, a broker can sell, buy, or negotiate transactions.

Step 3. Take Up a Training Program

Although your high school diploma is enough to get into an entry-level position, getting into a specialized training program indicates that you know the basic concepts of property management.

Most training courses are offered online and with a minimal fee. Depending on the state and the training course, it can be a one-day intensive course or it can run for up to 8 weeks.

Penn Foster offers a beginner-friendly Property Management Course which covers fundamental topics such as managing building maintenance, tenant relations, and financial accounting.

The coursework also covers real estate law, property valuation, and risk management.

There are also specialized courses being offered such as the Vacation Rental Management Course by the California Association of Realtors.

In this program, you will learn how to effectively manage vacation rental properties. You will also gain an understanding of the legal issues, strategies, and contracts involved in vacation rentals.

Step 4. Earn Your First License

After finishing your training program, earning your first license is where the legwork begins. Before you can achieve your first license, you’ll have to take an examination and the process is pretty straightforward.

Once you feel that you’re ready for the exam, it’s vital to check your state requirements to ensure that you tick all the boxes. 

You can review state requirements by selecting your jurisdiction’s regulatory website through the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (Arello).

Next, compile and submit all your requirements, pay the corresponding fee, and take the exam. Licensure exams typically consist of two parts:

  • national real estate principles and practices,
  • and state-specific questions that’ll gauge your knowledge of your state’s real estate regulations.

If you pass the exam, you’re now ready for your license application. You will need to fill in an application, pay the fees, and present your test results. Additionally, you may be asked to show your grades during your training program.

However, if you fail either or both sections, you can retake the exam. However, your state has rules on how often and how many times you can retake the examination.

Step 5. Gain Entry-Level Experience

Now that you’ve earned your first license, you’re now ready to look for job opportunities. To help you find the specific positions that suit you, search for job listings about the specialized field you want to be in.

Tailor your application based on your skills, education, and coursework. Submit your application, and if you haven’t heard back in a couple of days, it’s a good idea to follow up. This would show your interest and enthusiasm for the position.

If you can’t land the position you’re interested in, you can opt to apply as an assistant property manager. This will give you the opportunity of getting hands-on experience until you’re ready to move up the ranks.

Step 6. Get Continued Education and Obtain Advanced Accreditations

After you’ve gained some experience and want bigger opportunities, this will be an excellent time to obtain continued education and acquire advanced certifications.

Professional property manager showing house plan to young couple indoors

Depending on the effort and finances you’re willing to invest, you can take up an Associate’s Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree.

Alternatively, you can take up advanced certification courses, which will take less time for you to complete. 

One of the most common courses you can take is the National Apartment Leasing Professional (NALP) certification.

In this coursework, you’ll navigate the use of technology to generate traffic, learn how to build relationships between residents, and how to effectively maximize revenues.

Reasons to Consider Becoming a Property Manager

Becoming a property manager is no easy feat, but here are a few reasons why you should do it:

  • Work Flexibility: Working in the real estate industry lets you decide your work location, work hours, and the properties you’d like to manage.
  • Networking Opportunities: Becoming a property manager allows you to meet individuals from all walks of life. This can become a networking opportunity for any future projects or collaborations.
  • Long-Term Investment: The real estate market grows exponentially and it’s barely affected by recession. There will always be a high demand for property managers.
  • High-Income Potential: Along with hard work, property managers can expect to earn a stable income. As you go up the ladder, higher income opportunities will come to you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Degree Is Best for Property Management?

If you wish to pursue a career in property management, a degree in Business Administration can work to your advantage. However, you can also take up Real Estate, Public Administration, Accounting, or Finance degrees.

What Kinds of Property Managers Make the Most Money?

In the property management industry, Senior Site Managers can earn up to $152,500 annually depending on their skill level and experience. Meanwhile, a Director of Property Management’s salary can go up to $140,000 a year.

Similar Gigs to Check Out

Now that you know the ins and outs of property management, let’s explore more promising careers below:

  • How to Become a Social Media Manager: If you’re a tech-savvy person who’s familiar with social media trends, head on to this tutorial and start captivating your audiences as a social media manager. 
  • How to Become a Real Estate Agent: Do you have a knack for buying and selling stuff? Let’s amp it up as you represent parties in selling or buying properties!
  • How to Become a Virtual Assistant: If you want to do remote work and still make good money out of it, this tutorial teaches you how to become the perfect virtual assistant.

Wrapping Up

As a growing industry, many people are looking to have careers in property management.

If you’re attentive to detail, have great communication skills, and prefer to work on your own terms, learning how to become a property manager might be a start.

If you have any thoughts on this article, please let us know in the comments below. Share it with family and friends if you liked it!

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