Become a Property Manager

A property manager is a person in charge of the rental and operation of a real estate property. This involves various duties such as finding renters, keeping track of lease information, and coordinating repairs and other basic maintenance. Some managers own their properties, while others are hired to manage properties owned by real estate companies. In both cases, you should have a background in both real estate and business administration.[1]


Gaining Education and Experience

  1. Expand your knowledge base. High school curriculum is not generally designed for specific careers such as property management. Based on your performance and grades in high school, consider whether community college or a four year university are right for you. Your faculty and mentors will also be able to give you tailored advice for beginning a career in property management based on where you live. An added benefit of taking classes in higher education is networking with people either working in or aspiring to property management.
    • After high school, take courses in management, accounting, business administration, law and finance. These courses will give you an introduction to good business practices.
    • Discuss your career goals with an academic adviser. They will be able to advise you on the next steps to take. Different states have different regulations for property management, and your academic adviser will know them.
    • Earn a college degree, if possible. You stand a much higher chance of getting hired as a property manager if you possess a college degree. Even a two year degree will situate you well for entering the world of property management.
  2. Get a certification for property management, if necessary. Many states require property managers to pass a certification test, so this is an important step. It will also teach require you to learn good property management, business, and accounting skills. Check with the National Property Management Association for whether or not this is required in your state.[2]
  3. Consider joining a realtors’ or property managers’ association. This will help you make connections with realtors and other property managers that may help your future business. It is also a good way to increase your knowledge by signing up for seminars and workshops. Look for property management and realty associations in your state as well as nationally.[3]

Becoming a Property Manager For Others

  1. Get your resume out there. Before you have the necessary capital, connections, and experience to invest in your own properties, you need to work in an entry-level job. You will benefit from this by having a supervisor mentor, a steady income, and gaining experience a variety of property management tasks. There are a few paths to go for finding an entry level job.
  2. Contact local real estate companies. It is often too time consuming for a real estate agent to split his time between selling real estate and managing rental properties. A good property manager is the key to proper management of a realtor's rental properties. Submit your resume highlighting your skills pertaining to property management.
  3. Apply as an assistant property manager. Many apartment complexes or government housing facilities utilize assistants. By taking on this role, you learn the ins and outs of the job without being entirely responsible for everything at first. Instead of being the one responsible for collecting rent and late fees, you might act as the contact for maintenance or janitorial services.
  4. Consider buying one or two properties down the road. After a few years you may find you are accumulating capital and have the time to devote to taking on extra work. In the long run, managing your own properties would likely result in the largest profit margin. It may also become more work than you bargained for, and new businesses can take many years to get themselves out of debt. Consider the risks and rewards before making any big decisions.

Managing Your Own Properties

  1. Get experience managing others’ properties. An education and the right amount of money are not all the ingredients of a successful property manager. You should get a feel for the everyday life of a property manager by working as one for someone else. This will also expand your network of colleagues in the industry. The more you prepare for your career, the smaller the learning curve later on.
  2. Raise capital. Once you have built up some experience and income, find a good time to invest in properties. You will need a considerable amount of money, which will likely have to come from elsewhere. The two best ways to raise this money are by either finding investors or taking a loan.
    • Take a loan. Banks are a good place to look for a loan to buy houses. Some banks even specialize in funding real estate ventures. Gather your credit information and meet with a few banks to see what they are looking for, and what they expect from you.
    • Find investors. Using the connections you made, ask around to see if anyone is interested in investing in a new property manager. When making pitches to potential investors, make sure you name the specifics: what exactly they are investing in, who is involved, exact financial numbers, why you make a good manager.[4]
  3. Look for properties to buy. Beyond the financial limitations of a new property manager, you don’t want to stretch yourself too thin while you are still getting off the training wheels. Look into buying 1 or 2 properties and expanding from there when you feel comfortable. Properties are listed in various places such as the internet, newspapers, or even with your realtors’ association.
  4. Find renters. Based on the properties you own, some listing methods may be better for finding renters than others. Renters in college towns generally look on the internet first, while families or professionals may check with realtors. Make sure you evaluate their ability to pay rent on time, cleanliness, and credit history before agreeing to rent them the property.
  5. Keep meticulous financial records. Now that you don’t have a boss to report to, all benefits and drawbacks of property management fall on your shoulders. There are many reasons to keep track of your finances, and they are all incredibly important to the well-being of your business. Establish a system and a routine for keeping these records, and stick to it.[5]
    • Tax purposes. Avoid any surprises in future audits by keeping track of your numbers and reporting them accurately to the government.
    • Approaching investors. Knowing specific financial numbers will make it easier for you to give precise presentations to investors, which will impress them.
    • Making wise investments. Only by knowing the success of current and previous properties can you make better investments in the future.
    • Operating costs and expenditures. A large part of your job is maintaining your properties. Keeping track of your finances will help you determine the profit margin for each property.
  6. Know state and local laws. You are now solely responsible for making sure that your properties meet the government’s codes and regulations. You will likely have learned many of these in previous years, but keep a copy of the codes and regulations handy and make yourself aware of new developments. Not only will this help you keep your properties safe and livable for your tenants, but help you avoid lawsuits and failed inspections.
  7. Keep up maintenance on your properties. The best property manager is one that prevents future problems with regular maintenance. You should also be responsive to your tenants’ maintenance requests. Being prompt and courteous is a great way to keep quality renters in your properties. Keeping your properties maintained will also enable you to find quality renters when someone moves out.


Related Articles

  • Select a Residential Property Manager

Sources and Citations