For some, becoming a property manager just makes sense. Maybe you double as a real estate agent and couldn’t pass on the opportunity to add a steady revenue stream to your business. Or, maybe you saw all the opportunity and the growing rental markets and thought you’d take advantage of it. You may be already managing some of your own units, so why not add a few more.
Whatever your reason, there are a two main ways to go about it:
- Figure it out yourself- After all, property management can’t be all that hard, right? If you own a house, you can manage a property? … not quite. There will be a steep learning curve, and you will likely rely heavily on articles and videos online, as well as your network of peers. This route is usually taken by new investors.
- Work for a property management company for experience- This is a great way to go when you’re first getting started. It will help you feel out the industry and learn from experienced managers.
Each method has it’s pros and cons, so we can’t recommend a specific course of action. But as mentioned earlier, if you plan on managing someone else’s properties, getting your real estate broker’s license may be a good idea to accommodate your state’s requirements.
Becoming a Property Manager with a CPM
The most commonly recognized certification is the Certified Property Manager, or CPM. Once you have some experience under your belt, there’s no reason you shouldn’t get this certification. Even though some will argue that it’s not necessary, putting in the extra time and money for it will pay off in the long run.
There are a few requirements to become a CPM, but what most people stress about is the examination. It will require studying outside of your job, so you should aim to take it during a slow period at work. For example, since you likely have the most tenant turnover in the summer, consider studying and taking the test during the winter when things are slower.
There are other certifications offered by the Institute of Real Estate Management as well though. ARM, ACoM and IREM Sustainability certifications can also help you get a leg up on your competition, as long as they apply to directly to your job.
One important thing to keep in mind though is that a CPM- or any other kind of certification- is not a “trump card.” It won’t magically win you any business you solicit, nor will it necessarily make you a better manager than you were before. But if you apply the knowledge you learn while studying for the exam, you will definitely see positive results.
Becoming a Property Manager for Affordable Housing
The National Center for Housing Management was created in 1972 to ensure managers of affordable housing areas are trained to deal with the unique challenges that arise. They offer a wide variety of certifications, specializing in everything from tax credits to senior housing.
The good news is that if you work with these kinds of homes, you may be able to get certifications from both IREM and NCHM. Just make sure it makes sense- if you specialize in a certain area of affordable housing, or you don’t plan on switching to the commercial side anytime soon, it may not be worth the investment in an IREM certification.
How to Get a Job as a Property Manager
No matter what kind of buildings you want to manage, the best thing you can do is get started is to become an assistant property manager. This allows you to essentially get paid while you learn the ropes.
While a real estate background will help, you may not necessarily need it. You’ll just want to emphasize your ability to handle problems and work well with people. You should also have a good resume and practice interviewing a few times with friends or family.
When you start looking for a position, keep in mind that most commercial, apartment and condominiums all have in-house property managers. If you just do a search for a local property management company, you probably won’t see all of the potential positions out there.
Join the Right Groups
You become the five people you spend the most time with, right? That’s why you should consider joining a property management or real estate association, such as the National Property Management Association (NPMA). Not only will you make great contacts, but you’ll also learn a lot about becoming a property manager who excels.