How Do I Become a Property Manager?

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Understanding who a property manager is will give you a clearer view of the career path. Therefore, in simple terms, a property manager is a person who looks after a real estate investment, like residential or commercial properties. Usually, some managers own the property, but most times, they work for companies or individuals. Sometimes, they oversee multiple properties at once. 

 Some responsibilities of the job include:

  • Looking out for renters and showcasing the available properties to them (to avoid vacancies). 
  • Heading the applicant screening processes.
  • Handling contracts and formal paperwork.
  • Organizing maintenance and repairs with contractors such as electricians, carpenters, etc.
  • Collecting of rents and deposits.
  • Bridging the gap between the owners and the renters.
  • Conducting move in/out inspections.
  • Coordinating eviction process.
  • Carrying out basic accounting functions.
  • Providing customer service for tenants.
  • Tenant retention and Lease renewals.
  • Key Performance Index reporting.
  • Acts as a salesperson.


Requirements to Become A Good Property Manager

To be great in this career, you basically need to assure the owner of the property that everything is in safe hands. However, the fundamental requirement to becoming one is as follows;

 1. Complete the Coursework in Real Estate 

High-school education is the minimum thing required to work as a property manager. Again, higher-paying positions require extra coursework or degree. Making efforts to take additional real estate (and business) classes will distinguish you from the competition. 

If you intend to pursue an undergraduate degree, fields like finance or business administration greatly help. In addition, several colleges provide major in property management. These programs give clarity on career paths in the field. Quite a number of states require them to have a real estate license.

2. Get a good score in the real estate licensing exam 

It is very crucial that you pass the exam because you’ll handle many real estates law tasks.

However, this varies by state. Therefore, if your state requires that you pass the exam to be a property manager, you will have to complete a classroom learning step of the licensing process, along side the state exam.

3. Obey Your State’s Stipulated Conditions

Every state has their conditions for becoming a property manager, and most of them require you to get a license before practicing in the field. The National Property Management Association can provide the state’s requirements for becoming one.

Although licensing is required, a good number of entry-level employees work under a supervisor. If this is the case, then licensing is not necessary. This is primarily the situation in roles like self-storage or apartment positions. The Institute of Real Estate Management also legalize some people. The process includes the following:

  • Completion of 10 courses.
  • Passing various exams.
  • Showing proof of experience.  

By achieving a specific education or experience accreditation that has been determined by an IREM review process, the 7-course requirements can be waived. The program also demands letters of recommendation for the candidates.

4. Complete the certification process

A way to be outstanding in the field is to become certified in areas that cut across property management. The certification process you decide to undertake is determined by the type of role you are going for. The most popular certificates include;

CAM – Certified Apartment Manager: This is for the onside managers that relate with tenants on a daily basis. It typically requires 40hrs of course work and 12-months experience.

NALP – National Apartment Leasing Professional: This is for individual willing to apply for an entry-level position e.g leasing agent, with a real estate/property management company. It typically requires completing 7 course work (25 credit hours) and 6-months experience.

CPM – Certified Property Manager: This is for highly respected position in property management. It typically requires completing 19 out of 36 given activities and 3-years experience.

MPM – Master Property Manager: This is one of the peak point in the field. It typically requires 5-years experience and the same requirements as the certified property manager, among a few.

5. Attain a job in property management

The jobs differ in skills and experience. To be considered a top applicant for this position, it is necessary that you structure your resume to the exact job posting. Compare the skills required for the position, and be clear on what the hiring manager wants. Ensure you clearly state your skills and knowledge, and other relevant information.

After applying for the position and you don’t get any response after a few days, follow up. Following up is the best opportunity to express your passion for the position. Remind the hiring manager that your top-notch organizational skills are very vital for the role. You can also opt in for an Assistant PM (Property Manager) post, which will allow you to learn the industry’s basics while working in an entry-level position.

Actually, these entry-level positions rarely request for certifications. This means it’s possible to get both an understanding and experience in the field, before applying for the certificates or taking the exams.

6. Stay up-to-date on best practices in property management

To sustain your certification, you may need to practice more educational courses. Staying up-to-date on best practices is always a substantial investment for your career, even if it’s not required.

Property Management Association is a great place to get updates on best practices in the country. Blogs that centre on property management are also a great tool for giving you insights of the field. Careers in real estate are developing, hence, understanding the patterns and industry techniques will help you stay smart in the job market.

What Skills Do I need?

You will need strong managerial skills to perform well in this career. Other skills include;

  • Great Communication skills
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Marketing skills
  • Exceptional Customer Service
  • Organizational skills

How Can I Start?

Basically, you will have to apply with a real estate or property management company for an entry-level post. This helps you gain the necessary training and experience.

When you eventually fulfill all the criteria, do proper research on companies and keep submitting your resume till you get that job of your choice! 


Picture of Marla Coffin
Marla Coffin

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