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Property Manager Career Guide

Would you be interested in acting as a liaison between a property owner and tenant? If you are an excellent problem solver who enjoys working with people, a position as a property manager might be the detail-oriented role that’s right for you.

Property managers use their expertise to perform a wide variety of tasks. They are responsible for the overall operations and financial management of properties including commercial, residential, and industrial. Maintaining rental properties by filling vacancies, negotiating and enforcing leases, and resolving tenant complaints are some of the responsibilities that can be expected of a property manager.

Property managers work to advertise and fill vacant properties. They may also be responsible for collecting security deposits and monthly rent. These managers will also inspect vacant units and schedule repairs. 

Property managers are customer service-oriented and are willing to work in the best interest of both the tenant and property owner.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is searching for a property manager who can help with the day-to-day operations at our management firm. We manage [list of properties] and need someone to oversee applications, move ins, move outs, maintenance requests, and more. This person should be experienced, reliable, and ready to manage a growing portfolio with potential to grow. Because of our commitment to tenant satisfaction, we’re searching for an experienced property manager to join our team and help manage and deescalate tenants in our properties. As an ideal candidate, you have proven experience in managing multiple properties, either in residential or commercial properties. Your ability to establish and maintain relationships should be top priority, and you have a natural desire to help people in all areas of the process.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Oversee and manage all designated buildings/properties
  • Coordinate maintenance and inspections to ensure all laws and codes are in compliance
  • Assistant tenants with the application process and background checks
  • Collect rent
  • Resolve property complaints and schedule repair work
  • Paying property taxes, mortgages, insurance and maintenance costs 
  • Assessing applications in accordance with anti-discrimination laws
  • Document property interior and exterior with each new move in and move out
  • Oversee security
  • Prepare annual expense reports
  • Market vacant properties
  • Manage leasing team

Education and experience

  • High school diploma needed
  • Associates degree or bachelor’s degree preferred
  • Three years of related experience

Required skills and qualifications

  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills
  • Strong problem solving skills
  • Proficiency using Microsoft Office Suite
  • Ability to convey and resolve complaints and problems that arise
  • Excellent organization and customer service skills

Preferred qualifications

  • Experience managing properties both residential and commercial
  • Experience handling stressful situations that may arise
  • Ability to deescalate situations with current or past tenants
  • Experience with advertising rental properties 
  • Experience in marketing and writing great property descriptions
  • Treating client needs with urgency

Typical work environment

Property managers usually work alone, often onsite at an apartment building or in an office where there are multiple properties being managed. While many of these employees are full-time in a company, some work part time or are self-employed. 

Property managers usually keep regular office hours. That being said, they will occasionally need to work late or over weekends to solve problems that tenants may have. Property managers should expect to sit in front of a computer for extended periods of time, and also work directly with potential tenants.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for a property managers in an office setting are 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. Oftentimes, property managers may need to be on call for tenant emergencies.

Available certifications

As property managers work in a variety of industries, there are many institutions that offer certifications, including:

  • Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA). This is awarded by the National Board of Certification for Community Association Managers (NBC-CAM) and recognizes those who have gained the necessary skills and knowledge to manage community associations, such as co-ops and/or condo associations. Education on new and updated rental laws are needed for all members. This is a requirement for them to keep their CMCA certification current.
  • Certified Property Manager (CMP). Qualifying is an extensive process. To become certified, one must have knowledge in all areas of the business. Having a real estate license or having documentation proving that a license isn’t required from your state is required.
  • Residential Management Professional (RMP). You must have a real estate license, have a minimum of 2 years of experience, and manage 25 rentals in a candidacy time period.
  • Certified Apartment Manager. This certification works great for property managers who work specifically on apartment rentals. These programs can be completed online or in a classroom. An exam is required to take at the end of the course for property managers to achieve accreditation.

Career path

The journey to becoming a property manager begins with relevant work experience. A college degree is not required to be a property manager, but is helpful and can benefit your career growth in the long run. 

Students who aspire to be property managers are encouraged to pursue relatable majors such as business, accounting, or real estate. It can also be useful for property managers to obtain certifications. Some companies will require you to have a real estate license, so this may be something you want to invest in early on.

Property managers need to develop strong interpersonal skills, so they can be a successful liaison between the tenants and property owners. Managing properties is a collaborative process, involving clients, property owners, maintenance workers, and more to ensure the operations of the business are successful and smooth for all involved.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 11-9141

2020 Employment364,100
Projected Employment in 2030375,500
Projected 2019-2029 Percentage Shift 3% increase
Projected 2019-2029 Numeric Shift11,400 increase

Since users are using smart devices for everyday computing needs, optimizing information and documents for electronic access has emerged as a crucial need for property managers. Offering digital leasing processes such as application processes, video tours, and more proves beneficial for all involved in the process. 

Staying on top of industry trends and best practices— from advertising an available property to marketing a new apartment complex — is definitely needed to ensure you keep your position as new software gets developed and released for these managers. There will also be an increase in property managers who are also real estate agents, so it may be beneficial to receive this license.