Property managers are responsible for the maintenance, appearance and leasing of residential, commercial and industrial properties. Property managers jobs vary depending on the type of properties they are responsible for, which may include apartment buildings, office complexes, shopping centers or even land. In most cases, they are responsible for the daily supervision and maintenance of the property. They may also oversee the financial aspects of the property, such as leasing, rent and real estate matters. In some cases, they also manage homeowner, condominium and community associations.
Day in the Life of a Property Manager
A property manager's responsibilities depend on the size, type and number of the properties he or she oversees. Most property managers jobs, however, involve carry out the following duties on a typical day:
- Make sure rent and homeowner association dues are received or collected on time.
- Ensure that the property's mortgages, maintenance bills and property taxes are paid on time.
- Negotiate contracts with janitors, groundskeepers, security and other property personnel or contractors.
- Evaluate the performance of employees and contractors.
- Ensure rental properties are occupied.
- Show property to prospective tenants or buyers. Discuss the lease and explain the terms of occupancy or ownership.
- Inspect the condition all facilities, including the grounds and equipment, on a routine basis and in response to reports from tenants and homeowners. Arrange for new equipment or repairs.
- Oversee repairs, construction, and equipment installation on the property.
- Investigate and resolve complaints, disputes, disturbances and violations.
- Keep records of rental activity and requests from owners and tenants.
- Compile financial documents, reports, or budgets.
- Maintain operational records for the property.
Homeowner association managers and condominium complex managers often have additional responsibilities such as:
- Attending homeowner association meetings.
- Maintaining private streets and parking areas.
- Managing golf courses, community centers and swimming pools.
Some property managers jobs include these expanded responsibilities:
- Analyzing real estate market conditions, taxes implications, property values, traffic volume, population growth and zoning to decide if a certain property should be acquired.
- Negotiating real estate sales contracts.
Property managers usually work from an office but also spend significant time in the field. The nature of the job often means being on call 24/7. Some property managers live in the property they manage.
Important Characteristics for Property Managers
Those who are successful in property managers jobs tend to share certain characteristics. Property managers interact with a variety of people — tenants, contractors, association board members and property owners — so they need to have excellent interpersonal, listening and communication skills. Strong customer service skills can help them meet the needs of all parties. Planning, coordinating and directing several contractors at once requires organizational skills. Finally, problem-solving skills come into play when a property manager must mediate disputes between residents, property owners or board members.
Typical Steps for Becoming a Property Manager
The path to becoming a property manager varies, depending on the type of career you aspire to, and the type of properties you plan to manage. The completion of a degree program or earning licensure or certification may have a positive impact on property managers salary. Given those variables, here are some steps to consider:
- Learn about property management on the job. Most property managers who handle the rental and maintenance of properties learn the business on-the-job. They often begin their careers as assistant property managers and work closely with experienced property managers. Some of them have experience in real estate or maintenance.
- Become familiar with federal, state and local laws on fair housing, including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Federal Fair Housing Amendment. All who work in property managers jobs must understand and comply with these laws.
- Earn a bachelor's or master's degree in accounting, finance, business administration, or real estate management. This is most important for commercial property managers who will handle a property's finances and contracts, especially if you don't have much relevant work experience.
- Consider earning a real estate license. Find out if your state requires property association managers to be licensed. Real estate managers who buy or sell property must be licensed by the state where they work.
- Become certified if you plan to manage public housing that is subsidized by the federal government. This certification is required and is offered by several organizations.
Resources for Property Managers
- Institute of Real Estate Management
- Building Owners and Managers Institute
- Community Associations Institute
- Community Association Managers International Certification Board
- Property, Real Estate, and Community Association Managers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/property-real-estate-and-community-association-managers.htm
- Summary Report for Property, Real Estate, and Community Association Managers, , O*NET OnLine, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/11-9141.00