Becoming a professional property manager requires a few steps that an independent landlord may not have to take. Because there are some differences between the two, it’s important to understand those, first.
A landlord is usually the person or the business that owns any given property. The property manager is someone that person then hires to run things, essentially. The laws surrounding these roles will differ from state to state, but there are licenses that can help with both the legal aspect and the educational.
Though some states don’t require it, having certifications definitely helps. It gives you more credibility than someone who isn’t certified, and again, in locations where it’s required you actually need it. You’ll need to look into both state, county and city requirements for that information specific to where you’ll be looking for work. The upshot is, most of these now offer online courses.
Probably the most important license you can get is a government issued real estate license, followed closely by the REALTOR license. In most states, you’ll need a real estate broker license, particularly if you’re going to be involved in rent collection. If you work with a company, you can sometimes only get the “salesperson” version of the license, but you’ll have to work with someone who is licensed fully. This license is not the certification that is offered by the National Association of Realtors, but that is definitely something worthwhile as well.
Another certification you may consider is the Residential Management Professional, offered through the National Association of Residential Property Managers. This is an immediately recognized certification and is offered in several levels that will certify that you are educated, professional, and ethical. In order to get this certification, however, you have to already have your real estate license, have managed 25 rental units and also have two years of experience doing so.