Learning from the best property management training programs is one of the best way to set yourself up for success in this profession.
Simply put, property management is the administration and oversight of a real estate or personal property. It involves the maintenance and handling of the day-to-day activities of a property. Most times, this series of activities is carried out by a professional called a property manager on behalf of a landlord or property owner.
The property being managed can vary from residential to commercial and industrial.
Birth of Property Management Training
The history of property management can be traced back to early 19th Century. As urbanization and migration intensifies, there was a steady consequent increase in housing needs. This made the roles of caretaker managers more complicated and diversified. The population grew faster than housing stock.
Thus the need for rental housing increased and so was the need to ensure a balanced satisfaction between the landlord and the tenants without jeopardizing the condition and quality of the home being rented.
Caretaker managers had to go beyond the collection of rents and service charges into seeking ways of managing the properties to maximize satisfaction and profit.
As landlords acquired more properties, it became necessary to hand them over to professionals who understood the interrelationship between housing satisfaction, quality and property finance.
This called for more specialized services from caretaker managers. In response to the new demands, caretakers slowly brought in property managers.
In modern times, it is important to note that while a landlord may sometimes perform the roles of a property manager, both are different. The landlord is the entity that owns the land/property while the property manager is the individual or entity that manages the property on behalf of the landlord.
For the sake of this article, the landlord and the property manager will be regarded as two separate and distinct entities.
Four Core Areas of Property Management Training
Property management training equip an individual with the relevant knowledge needed in managing, administering and selling properties owned by another party or entity. The training lays out how to handle the daily operations for a real estate property while acting first in the best interest of a landlord, then the tenant, all within the confines of the law.
Whether the property manager will be handling a residential or commercial property, he or she are trained in four major areas. These are:
- Marketing and Financials
- Facility Management
- Tenant & Occupancy
- Risk Management
Marketing and Financials
This section of training helps the property manager understand income taxes, budgeting, basic accounting, and financial statements. With these skills, they can give regular and timely financial reports to the landlord analyzing the condition of a property in monetary terms.
This training prepares the property manager to take responsibility for the correction of any forms of damages, wear and tear on a property. Learning how to coordinate contractors such as plumbers, electricians, and carpenters is one of the most important skills a property manager will ever acquire.
Tenant and Occupancy
This category equips professionals with skills in finding & screening tenants, dealing with tenants’ complaints and handling of leases. It also deals with evictions and moving tenants out, should the need arise.
The training includes how to determine attractive and workable rental rates, enforce and collect rent when due and also help in adjusting the rent whenever necessary.
Individuals must understand local landlord-tenant laws to ensure the landlord’s property is well managed and the interests of the tenant are catered to properly.
Administration & Risk Management
The overall foundation of property management training is to prepare a property manager for the administration of rental properties. Through a series of activities, students learn about contracting, supply and inventory.
With respect to risk management, they are trained to be responsible for tenant’s compliance with health and safety standards. Every local jurisdiction is a bit different, but the training program will help a property manager understand the most common laws and how to comply with them.
Where to Get Property Management Training
There are two main options for acquiring property management training. These are through a bachelor’s degree and professional certification.
In this article, we will dwell less on the training acquired through a bachelor’s degree program and focus more on those acquired via professional certificate programs.
- Training through a Bachelor’s Degree programThis is acquired from a university or college through either on-campus or online programs. The institutions teach and train students on various methods and techniques of administering and managing a property owned by a third party, such as a landlord.
Knowledge from other disciplines such as strategic management, business administration and accounting are integrated. Because the property manager is essentially running a small business, at least initially, he or she will likely take several fundamental business classes.
Most modern programs combine their property management training with Real Estate Management. Graduates of property management can go to work as a property manager, or in other career fields related to real estate, such as evaluating new investments.
- Training Acquired through Professional Certifications.This is the most common form of training for property managers. For most people going into this field, it doesn’t make sense to commit several years to a degree.
These are shorter than undergraduate programs. They are also more flexible. Below we will take a look at some of the most common certifications in the industry.
Property Management Certifications
Certified Property Manager (CPM)
This is one of the most respected certifications in property management today. It is awarded by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). There are several requirements to become a CPM including at least 3 years of experience and taking some classes from IREM. They have several tracks available:
- Traditional track (7 courses)
- Other Designations Fast Track (for those with other credentials already)
- Real Estate Degree Fast Track (for those with college credentials in real estate)
- Professional Experience Fast Track (for those with 20+ years of relevant experience)
In addition, there are minimum guidelines that must be met with regards to the handling of residential, commercial and industrial properties.
Aside from the CPM, there are some other licenses awarded to individuals by IREM. These include Accredited Residential Managers (ARM) and the Accredited Commercial Manager (ACoM) licenses.
For most property managers, the CRM certification is the best to obtain.
Accredited Residential Manager (ARM)
This is another license awarded by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM); a body that has existed for more than 80 years, with over 19,000 individual members and about 550 corporate members.
To qualify as an ARM, an individual must have 12 months relevant experience or more, complete the IREM ethics education in addition to having an Undergraduate or Graduate degree in Real Estate.
Real Property Administrator (RPA)
This is administered by Building Owners and Managers Institute (BOMI) International, a non-profit organization for facility and property management. To qualify, a candidate must have a minimum of three years experience as a property manager on a property built on a minimum plot size of about 4,600 square meters.
Applicants are scheduled to take eight courses either through the classroom or online modules, covering the four major areas of property management. These courses include Commercial Real Estate Law; Risk Management and Insurance; Investment and Finance; Building Systems Design, Operations, and Maintenance; Asset Management; Leasing and Marketing; Business Ethics and Environmental Health & Safety.
Residential Management Professional (RMP)
This license is awarded by the National Association Residential Property Managers (NARPM). The RMP is one of the common licenses sought after by managers of single-family and mid-sized multi-family rental properties.
There are several requirements to be met while training for this certification. Among these are an applicant’s experience in managing residential property for two years; completion of the eighteen hours NARP management training: attendance of conferences; and the submission of two letters of recommendation from an RMP or Master Property Manager (MPM).
Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA)
This is awarded by the Community Association Managers International Certification Board (CAMICB). The board, formerly known as NBC-CAM was established in 1995. The board is certified by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. There are more than 17,000 certified CMCA professionals worldwide.
The prerequisite is a combination of education and experience. The applicant must pass community association management courses and possess five years of experience practicing as a community association manager.
Certified Apartment Manager (CAM)
Awarded by the National Apartment Association (NAA), the holder of the license is trained in the following areas: comprehensive marketing plans; occupancy rates; property inspection; enforcement of property laws and regulations; monitoring of property performance and accounting principles, to mention but a few.
To qualify, individuals are expected to have at least 12 months of work experience, successful completion of the 40 hours of coursework and meet all other examination standards with 12 months of registration.
In conclusion, there’s no “right” path for every property manager in acquiring training and certification. For some, the best property management training may be through their local college. For others, pursuing a certification such as the CPM may be the best route. Either way, investing in yourself and your education is one of the most important steps you can make to succeed in this field.
Ultimately, you’ll want to choose a certification that is best fit for the segment of the industry you wish to target. Keep in mind that managing single-family residential properties is going to be quite different from managing strictly multi-family apartment complexes.