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How Do I Become a Property Manager?

In 2020, the property management industry topped out at over 88 billion dollars in the United States. Steadily expanding since 2017, the property management industry provides a wealth of opportunities for professional and financial growth. Becoming a property manager is a great career for driven individuals with a passion for working with people. Join us below as we look at what it takes to become a property manager, what a day in the life looks like, and the requirements needed to get started in your area! Check out this video on how to become a property manager:

What Is a Property Manager?

In general, property managers oversee the day-to-day operations of rental investment properties. That said, these investment properties can range from residential and multifamily to commercial real estate.

What Is a Property Manager?So, when property owners cannot, or do not want to, personally attend to rental matters, a dedicated property manager steps in for a fee. However, while property management is often associated with the real estate industry, an important distinction is that property managers do not buy or sell real estate.

Other Common Names for a Property Manager

  • Real Estate Manager
  • Asset Manager
  • Landlord
  • Investment Manager
  • Property Administrator

How Much Does a Property Manager Make?

Most experts agree that the average property manager salary is between $40,000 to $50,000. However, this varies greatly based on experience level, education, certifications, location, and the volume of managed properties. Furthermore, industry and technology knowledge can contribute to a higher pay grade, including popular programs such as Yardi, Propertyware, and Realpage. So, let’s review a few different locations below and what Glassdoor says property managers can expect to make in that area.

  • Baltimore: $40,000 to $95,000
  • Philadelphia: $38,000 to $90,000
  • Washington DC: $41,000 to $96,000
  • Richmond: $34,000 to $82,000

What Does a Property Manager Do?

Property owners who have self-managed know the endless number of tasks a rental property portfolio requires. Since property managers oversee all daily operations, they are equipped to handle a variety of situations such as –

What Does a Property Manager Do?Typical Property Manager Responsibilities

  • Marketing Vacant Rental Units
  • Conduct Tours and Showings for Prospective Renters
  • Screening All Potential Applicants
  • Facilitate the Preparation and Signing of Rental Agreements
  • Manage and Hire Vendors for Routine Maintenance and Repairs
  • Communicate with Tenants and be the Go-Between for Tenants and Owners
  • Ensure the Property Complies with Local Building Codes and Rental Regulations
  • Set Rental Rates and Collect Rent
  • Process Lease Renewals
  • Follow Up on Late Rental Payments
  • Attend Court Eviction Proceedings
  • Perform Property Inspections
  • Coordinate the Turnover Process
  • Accounting Duties and Reporting
  • Provide Excellent Customer Service to Owners, Vendors, and Tenants

Key Qualifications to Become a Property Manager

At present, only six US states have no licensing requirements to become a property manager. However, like all professions, there is a minimum standard and more advanced training for those looking to become a property manager. Continue reading below as we discuss the basic qualifications for a property manager, along with advanced certifications and state licensing compliance.

Minimum Qualifications of a Property Manager

  1. Minimum age of 18 or 21 years depending on the state
  2. High school diploma or equivalent GED
  3. Legal US citizen or permanent resident
  4. Real Estate License Coursework and Passing Score on Real Estate Licensing Examination (if needed per state law)

Essential Skills Every Property Manager Needs

  • Communication – A property manager is always in contact with someone, whether owners, tenants, vendors, or applicants. Therefore, strong verbal and written communication is a must! That said, on a daily basis, property managers send emails, replying to texts, talking on the phone, and issuing written notices.
  • Patience – Handling disputes among tenants or calming an anxious owner’s nerves takes patience and excellent de-escalation techniques.
  • Attention to Detail – Managing rental property involves sensitive information and legal documents. Therefore, attention to detail is key in filling out contracts, sending notices, and complying with all applicable laws.
  • Organization – Property managers wear many hats, and keeping all of the various processes straight takes exceptional organization. Additionally, handling leasing processes, turnover maintenance, and accounting take time management and the ability to multi-task.
  • Basic Accounting – Keeping track of rent payments, calculating and recording late fees, or keeping up with expense reports means property managers need basic accounting skills. Although many software programs assist property managers with effortless accounting, some knowledge of best practices is necessary.

What Education and Certification are Needed for a Rental Manager?

Beyond a high school diploma, property management companies may require different levels of education and certifications from their property managers. So, let’s take a deeper look into these requirements below –

What Education and Certification are Needed for a Rental Manager?

Education Requirements for Real Estate Managers

Although the minimum is a high school diploma, many property management firms require some undergraduate studies. Common fields of study in this industry include –

  • Risk Management
  • Property Management
  • Finance
  • Business Administration
  • Real Estate

Property Manager Certifications

It is important to note that licenses typically come from the state level, while certifications relate to national real estate or property management accreditations. Thus, for those looking to enter the property management field, there are several certifications to consider. So, let’s take a more in-depth look at these certifications below –

National Apartment Leasing Professional (NALP)

The first step towards a property management career is to apply with a real estate broker or property management company for an entry-level position, such as a leasing agent. Additionally, accreditation from The National Apartment Leasing Professional (NALP) teaches leasing professionals or assistant property managers the basic skills needed to do their jobs effectively. So, to receive certification from the NALP, individuals must complete the following requirements –

  1. Onsite property management experience as a leasing agent for a minimum of 6 months.
  2. Receive a provisional certificate until the 6-month time requirement is met.
  3. Complete seven NALP courses to include the Market Survey course, for a total of 25 credit hours.
  4. Individuals must complete all requirements within 12 months of enrollment.

Certified Apartment Manager (CAM)

After obtaining valuable industry basics as a leasing professional, the next step is property management. Therefore, Certified Apartment Manager (CAM) training is geared toward onsite managers who are often the only individual tenants interact with daily. Thus, this certification course helps property managers be the best possible representative of the community owners and investors. The course requires the following –

  1. Onsite property experience in a management role for a minimum of 12 months.
  2. Receive a provisional certificate until the 12-month time requirement is met.
  3. Complete all CAM courses for a total of 40 credit hours.
  4. Individuals must complete all requirements within 12 months of enrollment.

Certified Property Manager (CPM)Certified Property Manager (CPM)

Certified Property Managers or a CPM is a highly regarded designation among property managers. The requirements for this level of certification are as follows –

  1. Complete a minimum of 3 years of consecutive employment in a qualifying real estate management role.
  2. Individuals must hold a real estate license or verify they are not required to have a license in their current role.
  3. The individual must meet a minimum of 19 out of 36 CPM Function Requirement activities to qualify for credit towards the CPM certification.
  4. Meet all requirements within 12 months of enrolling in the course.

Also, individuals must manage the minimum portfolio of rental properties based on the requirements below –

  • Residential – Apartments, condominiums, HOA, mobile homes, mobile home parks, single-family homes, hotels, or motels. Additionally, portfolio size needs to meet or exceed 200 units on 1 to 4 sites, or 100 units at 5 or more sites.
  • Commercial – Office buildings, retail and shopping space, industrial property, research, development, or self-storage centers. Furthermore, portfolio size needs to meet or exceed 120,000 square feet at 1 site or 80,000 square feet at 2 or more sites.
  • Industrial – Large scale, single-tenant industrial space. Also, portfolio size needs to meet or exceed 200,000 square feet at 1 or more locations.

Master Property Manager (MPM)

The highest level of distinction an individual in the property management field can achieve is a Master Property Manager or MPM. This requires a minimum of consecutive real estate management employment for at least 60 months. Furthermore, a successful candidate must meet all of the requirements of a CPM certification. Additionally, the portfolio requirements are slightly higher, with a minimum unit count of 500 residential units at 1 or more sites or 100 units at 5 or more sites.

Final Thoughts

Those just starting in the industry will likely need to apply and work with an established property management firm or real estate broker to help gain the experience needed. However, building on that experience with the help of industry certifications and courses can set individuals up for a rewarding career in various positions.

Experienced property managers play a vital role for rental owners in the real estate industry. Professionals like the ones at Bay Property Management Group handle all day-to-day operations of rental property portfolios, so owners do not have to. Thus, freeing up valuable time while providing peace of mind while a team of experts looks out for their best interest. So, if you are searching for quality and reliable property management for your rental portfolio, look no further than Bay Property Management Group!