Property Managers Overview

The best opportunities for a property manager are for those with professional certification or a college degree in real estate, business administration or related fields. Property managers who have experience in supervising housing for older people or a healthcare facility have good prospects. Close to half, 46 percent, of property managers are self-employed.

Nature of the Work for Property Managers

Property Managers

Property managers are responsible for maintaining and raising the value of real estate investments. Responsibilities include supervising the operation of income-producing residential and commercial properties. This is important to ensure that real estate investments receive their expected income. At a communal property or condominium, a community association manager is responsible for planning the communities through their homeowner or community associations.

Property managers are hired when owners of apartments, residential homes, office building or retail or industrial properties have insufficient expertise needed for daily management of their properties. An owner may hire a property manager directly or indirectly through a property management firm.

The property manager usually handles the financial operations of the property. They make sure that rent is collected and that taxes, mortgages, payroll, insurance premiums and maintenance bills are paid in a timely fashion. Management of financial statements and periodic reports to owners on the status of the property, expiration of dates of leases, occupancy rates and other matters are also required. Property managers may also be responsible for suggesting rent prices to owners. Homeowners in community associations pay their own mortgage and property taxes, but a community manager is needed to college association fees that go towards services such as a clubhouse, swimming pool maintenance and playgrounds.

Some duties for a financial manager include negotiating contracts for trash removal, landscaping, security and janitorial services. It is their job to keep an eye on contractors and resolve any issues that a resident may have with the contractor. When repairs cannot be handled by maintenance staff, a property manager hires outside professionals that are able to complete the project.

Daily operations of a single property are handled by an onsite property manager. Their main duties include routinely inspecting the property, equipment and facilities to determine when repairs are needed. They often meet with prospective tenants to show vacant office space or apartments as well as resolving current tenant complaints and repairs.

Community association managers responsibilities are closely related to those of an onsite property manager. They prepare financial statements and budgets, collect monthly assessments, help resolve complaints and negotiate with contractors. They are usually elected by a volunteer board of directors of the association to manage day-to-day issues and oversee maintenance of the property and facilities used by homeowners.

Real estate asset managers work for business and investors to plan and oversee the sale, purchase and development of real estate properties. While other properties managers focus on day-to-day operations, a real estate asset manager is focused on long-term issues. Several factors go into the consideration of purchasing a property such as, taxes, property value, population growth, traffic volumes and patterns and transportation. It is their job to negotiate contracts for the purchase or lease of the property once the site is selected.

Many property managers work out of an office, though they typically spend a lot of time away from their desks. For example, onsite managers may show apartments, investigate problems that residents report, visit the building engineer and check on the janitorial or maintenance staff.

A property manager spends a considerable amount of time attending meetings with residents, community association board of directors, civic groups and residents. Long workdays are expected, particularly when financial and tax reports are due. Some apartment managers live in the apartment complex where they work so they are able to handle emergencies even when off duty.

Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Property Managers

The majority of employers prefer to hire applicants who have a college degree, especially for offsite positions that deal with commercial properties, property finances and contract management. Many property managers have a bachelors or masters degree in business administration, finance, accounting, public administration or real estate. A liberal arts degree may also help jobseekers gain employment as a property manager, particularly if they have relevant coursework. Commonly, many new managers are required to participate in on-the-job training. Most people entering an associate property management position have experience in onsite management.

Each State requires real estate managers who buy or sell property to hold a license and some States require that property association managers be licensed. Certification is required for managers of public housing subsidized by the Federal Government.

Onsite managers are encouraged to have previous experience as a real estate sales agent, as one of the main responsibilities requires showing apartments or office space. Employers place a strong emphasis in financial, administrative and communication skills for managerial jobs.

The most common way to enter a real estate asset manager position is by transferring from a real estate broker or property manager position. Excellent negotiation skills, persuasion skills, interpersonal skills and the ability to analyze data in order to assess the fair-market value of property are all desirable skills for a property manager. Managers who specialize in land development must have great written and oral communication, finance and computer skills.

Usually people begin their property management career as an assistant, working directly under a property manager and learning how to analyze insurance coverage, market property to prospective tenants, collect overdue rent payments and prepare budgets. After a number of years, the assistant may advance to property management positions.

Other people start as an onsite manager of office complexes, apartment buildings or community associations. With experience, they may advance to positions requiring more responsibility. If they excel in their work, they may go on to become an assistant to offsite property managers.

Compensation and level of responsibilities for this career depend on the number of properties the property manager supervises. A greater number and larger properties are given to a property manager as they advance in their careers. Those who have expertise about specific buildings and their mechanical systems may specialize in managing older properties, while those who are adept in marketing properties to tenants might specialize in the management of new properties.

Attending short-term formal trainings provided by a variety of professional and trade associations that are active in real estate are encourages by many employers. These trainings provide employees with valuable skills including the improvement of property values, personnel management, business and real estate law, the operation and maintenance of mechanical systems in buildings, tenant relations, community association risks, accounting and financial concepts, reserve funding and communications. A manager might attend one of these programs in order to prepare themselves for the larger responsibility of property management. Certification is provided to those who complete such programs, in addition to having related job experience and passing a written examination. Many organizations require that their members follow a specific code of ethics.

Top 10 Most Popular Real Estate Schools

1. Florida State College at Jacksonville (Jacksonville, Florida)
2. Sheridan Technical Center (Hollywood, Florida)
3. New York University (New York, New York)
4. Hacienda La Puente Unified School District - Adult Education (Hacienda Heights, California)
5. Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College (Ogden, Utah)
6. Waubonsee Community College (Sugar Grove, Illinois)
7. Elgin Community College (Elgin, Illinois)
8. Lively Technical Center, Tallahassee (Tallahassee, Florida)
9. Orange Technical College, Mid Florida (Orlando, Florida)
10. Waubonsee Community College (Glenwood Springs, Colorado)

See All Real Estate Schools

Most Popular Online Real Estate Schools

1. Ashworth College - Online School
2. South University, Online Programs
3. Trump University - Online School
4. New England College - Online School
5. Marylhurst University - Online School

Employment and Job Outlook for Property Managers

Number of People in Profession


Changing Employment (2008-2018)

Employment is projected to grow about as fast as average (increase 7 - 13%).

Property managers hold about 150,850 jobs. Approximately 46 percent of these managers are self-employed and 21 percent work in offices of real estate agents in brokers and for lessors of real estate.

Employment growth for property managers is expected to increase as fast as average, 8 percent, in the next decade. Some job growth will be due to the expanding amount of people who are living in developments managed by third-party property management firms, such as apartment buildings, homeowner associations, condominiums and senior housing. This career will also see growth due to the increase in building community associations that require professional management. It is becoming common knowledge that property management firms aid in increasing the resale value of homes and commercial property and making properties more profitable.

Many of the job openings will come from managers who retire or have transferred to other occupations. Great opportunities are expected for those with experience working in homes catered specifically to older people, as their population is rapidly expanding. Jobseekers with a college degree in real estate, business administration or a related field have the best opportunities.

Earnings and Salary for Property Managers

The median annual wage of property managers is $46,130. The highest 10 percent earned more than $102,250 a year, while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,860. One of the perks of this career include the ability to live in the apartment complex where they work. They are usually compensated for gas mileage when using their personal vehicles. The median annual wages by top employing industries for property managers:

Management of companies and enterprises: $74,010
Local government: $59,480
Offices of real estate agents and brokers: $44,160
Activities related to real estate: $43,430
Lessors of real estate: $40,180

Annual Salary for Property Managers

On average, Property Managers earn $48,460 per year.

10% 25% 75% 90% $23,890/yr $33,900/yr $71,450/yr $104,400/yr

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook