Learn About Being a Property Manager
What does a property manager do?
A property manager is a real estate professional who supports the day-to-day operations of one or more rental properties. This person supports all tenant-facing needs on behalf of the property owner. Specific responsibilities include:
Advertising the property and screening potential tenants
Handling all contracts, leases and formal paperwork associated with the rental
Supervising the property maintenance and timely handling of repairs, including the hiring and management of maintenance and repair staff
Serving as a liaison between owners and tenants
Processing all rental payments and following through on delinquent payment procedures as outlined in the lease agreement
Responding to tenant and owner communications
A property manager’s salary varies depending on the number of properties they manage. The monetary value of those properties may also affect their salary. The significant range of real estate prices nationwide contributes to the variation in a typical salary range for a property manager. Salary may also depend on the person’s level of education and experience. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link.
Common salary in the U.S.: $52,177 per year
Salaries range from $14,000 to $103,000 per year.
Property manager requirements
The requirements to be a property manager vary by location and company, with additional differentiation based on the property managed. Government-subsidized housing, for example, requires different certifications than private-sector real estate. The various criteria that span the property manager job market include:
A high school diploma is sometimes considered the minimum requirement to be a property manager. However, many companies seek candidates with formal education in real estate, property management or a related field. For states that require formal education, they typically require one or both of the following:
1. Undergraduate degree
Some property management companies require applicants to possess an undergraduate degree in property management or a related field, such as business administration or finance. Depending on the institution, property management degrees range in title from property management to real estate management and more. These programs cover topics including leasing and financing, risk management and property maintenance.
2. Real estate license
Obtaining a real estate license requires completion of a licensing course and passing an exam. Although there is some variation across states, most programs require approximately 60-90 hours of coursework and can be completed in as little as six months. Those who earn their license in one state but relocate to another can often transfer their license.
Following the completion of formal education, companies may require newly hired property managers to continue informal training from an experienced property manager on staff. This is especially true for employees new to the company and the field. This training can include job shadowing, completing daily tasks under supervision and onboarding to company-specific software or digital platforms.
Issued by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), a property management certificate is a lower-cost alternative to an undergraduate degree for prospective property managers. This nationally recognized certificate is often a requirement for individuals looking to advance in the field. The IREM certificate requires successful completion of ten courses, multiple exams and several years of related experience. Up to seven course requirements can be waived in exchange for select education or experience credentials, as determined by an IREM review process. The program also requires letters of recommendation and payment of dues.
A property manager is a very complex job that requires a broad skill set. It also requires a diverse application of those skills. The most important skills for property managers include:
- Patience: Having a calm and reassuring disposition is critical for a property manager who often engages with tenants, as facilitating maintenance issues and other concerns are frequent tasks.
- Communication: A property manager engages in written and verbal communication with a wide range of stakeholders. Having the skill set to adjust communication styles to suit this range of individuals is critical to a property manager’s success.
- Attention to detail: Executing the contract, lease, city regulation and other legal job functions of a property manager requires acute attention to detail to properly document leasing activities on the property. This skill also relates to marketing properties, screening prospective tenants and ensuring the timely resolution to maintenance issues.
- Organization: Because of variation in the timing of new lease agreements, a property manager may handle advertising, lease negotiation, maintenance repairs and lease termination for multiple clients all at the same time. This experience requires effective organizational skills, multitasking, time management and well-maintained organizational systems such as filing, coding, labeling and more.
Property manager work environment
Property managers typically work in an office that is on-site or near the rental properties they manage. Primary work hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., but depending on the size of the company and its emergency response procedures, they may have additional on-call hours for emergencies. A property manager’s work is very fast-paced with the potential for significant variability day-to-day depending on tenant needs. Seasonal trends in the rental industry may also impact the pace.
How to become a property manager
With significant variation in requirements across states, real estate sectors and specific organizations, it is important to be organized in your approach to becoming a property manager. Here are some important steps to becoming a property manager, regardless of where you want to work:
1. Research the job market
Review the job listings for companies and types of properties you may want to work for. You can also filter your search to specific geographical areas. Discover what the typical requirements are for those roles.
2. Pursue an education
Consider pursuing education beyond a high school diploma to earn advanced credentials and learn basic business principles. You can also pursue your real estate license, depending on the expectations of the properties you’re interested in applying for.
3. Obtain certifications
You can further develop your knowledge of property management by earning an IREM certificate. This credential can further distinguish you from other candidates and better prepare you for a variety of property management issues and responsibilities. If you know that you want to enter a specialized field, make sure that the programs you are applying to have the courses you will need.
4. Create an effective resume
Create a specific and concise resume that highlights the knowledge and skills you possess that make you a highly qualified candidate. Be sure to list any formal education and certifications you have completed. Including related courses or fields of study can be helpful given the variation in requirements across employers and job sectors.
5. Submit your application
Apply for property manager jobs you are qualified for. Within one to two weeks of applying, follow up to confirm their receipt of your application and any appropriate next steps. This follow-up is a great opportunity to personalize your application by expressing your enthusiastic and sincere interest in working for the organization.
Property manager job description example
Mac Properties is looking to add a talented and experienced property manager to our team of professionals in the Dallas, Texas, office. The property manager will be responsible for advertising, screening tenants, overseeing lease execution and maintenance support for a subset of our properties in compliance with city and state real estate laws. Effective customer service, clear and responsive communication and a solutions-focused attitude are essential skills for this position. A Texas real estate license and a bachelor’s degree in a related field are strongly preferred.