Certified Property Manager

Becoming a certified property manager (CPM) should be the goal of everyone looking to make a career in this field. Even though it’s not required by any means, it offers several unique advantages over those who choose to forgo the certification.

Advantages of Becoming a CPM

The biggest advantage you gain from becoming a CPM is the competitive advantage. When you’re competing for someone’s business, every little bit helps. It might be that your competition matches your qualifications in all ways but one- they aren’t certified. If that’s the case, and you are a CPM, there’s a good chance you’ll earn the business.

Another advantage is the networking opportunities. As you get to know other CPMs, you’ll be able to share strategies, find opportunities, and find a mentor. Even if you’ve been in property management for a long time, you’ll likely be able to learn a thing or two from your new colleagues.

A professional should always be learning, and becoming a CPM gives you the opportunity to join various educational webinars from the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). And even if you can’t make it to a webinar, you can always watch the recording later (along with the recordings of webinars done in the past).

Finally, you have a better chance of getting promoted within your company. It’s reported that 70% of CPMs have the highest managerial positions in their company!

Disadvantages of Becoming a CPM

Even though it’s definitely a good idea to become a certified property manager, there are a few downsides to consider.

The first is the price of admission. The application fee is $210, annual fees are $495, and the certification exam costs $270. So even though the recurring costs aren’t as bad, your upfront costs come out to almost $1,000. That’s not even considering the amount of time and energy required to study for the exam, get three letters of recommendation, pass the ethics exam, etc.

Another downside is the opportunity costs you incur on the path of becoming a CPM. The time and money you spent could have been used to

  • Find new clients
  • Improve relationships with clients and tenants
  • Look for new opportunities
  • Manage properties you’re already responsible for
  • Etc.

In other words, you’re giving up the chance to do your job! Even though the idea is that becoming a CPM would allow you to do your job better, you do need to consider what you’re giving up during this time.

How to Become a Certified Property Manager

There are several different requirements to become a CPM. To start, here are the four educational/background options:

  • Complete the 7 required courses provided by IREM.
  • Hold a CCIM, CSM, PCAM, or RPA designation and submit the “fast track” fee of $630.
  • Hold a college degree (undergraduate or graduate) with a major, minor, or concentration in real estate and pay the fast track approval fee.
  • Have over 20 years of qualifying professional experience and pay the fast track fee.

Each person applying also needs to pass the IREM ethics course, create a management plan, and complete the CPM certification exam.

You also need three letters of recommendation, three years of work experience, fulfill a 1-year CPM candidate period and attend several sessions at your local IREM chapter.

This may seem like a lot, but keep in mind that a certified property manager is much more likely to get business, higher pay, and more respect. Most property managers would agree that the short term cost and disadvantages are outweighed by the long term benefits of becoming a CPM.

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