Learning from the best property management training programs is one of the best ways to set yourself up for success in this profession.
Simply put, property management is the administration and oversight of 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 managed can vary from residential to commercial and industrial.
Birth of Property Management Training
The history of property management can be traced back to the early 19th Century. As urbanization and migration intensified, 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 the 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 collecting rents and service charges into seeking ways to manage 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 essential 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. We’ve also created an outline for the main points of this article. Just click on any of the links below to be taken to a particular section of the guide.
- Four Core Areas of Property Management Training
- Where to Get Property Management Training
- Property Management Certifications
- Property Management Websites That Can Help
Four Core Areas of Property Management Training
Property management training equips an individual with the relevant knowledge needed to manage, administer, and sell properties owned by another party or entity. The training lays out how to handle the daily operations of 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, they are trained in four major areas. These are:
- Marketing and Financials
- Facility Management
- Tenant & Occupancy
- Administration & 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 leases. It also deals with evictions and moving tenants out, should the need arise.
The training includes determining attractive and workable rental rates, enforcing and collecting rent when due, and also helping in adjusting the rent whenever necessary.
Individuals must understand local landlord-tenant laws to ensure the landlord’s property is well managed, and the tenant’s interests are adequately catered to.
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 tenants’ 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.
This article will focus less on the training acquired through a bachelor’s degree program and more on those acquired via professional certificate programs.
- Training through a Bachelor’s Degree program. This 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, is 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 property managers 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. It doesn’t make sense for most people going into this field 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 three 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 regard 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 Manager (ARM) and 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 of relevant experience, complete the IREM ethics education, and have 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 of 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 of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). The RMP is one of the standard 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, completing the eighteen hours of NARP management training: attending conferences, and submitting 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.
Property Management Websites That Can Help
Here are a few helpful property management websites with a lot of great information on the industry. They have everything from certifications and education to local events and news. Whether you’re new to property management or you’ve been in the field for a while and just want to learn more, these sites will help.
Property Management Association
The Property Management Association may be the most well-known of all of these sites. One big thing they have is the PM Expo. If you’re looking for a great conference to check out, this may be just what you’re looking for. They have a lot of other things to check out, too, though. BULLETIN is their monthly magazine. They have educational events regularly if you want to improve your craft. And the membership allows you to connect with other like-minded folks across the country.
National Property Management Association
The NPMA is another good one to check out. They have several different membership options, each which its own unique benefits. They also offer three main certifications – CPPA, CPPS, and CPPM. If you want to compete in today’s PM world, getting an extra certification or two under your belt is always a good idea.
The NPMA also offers similar things to PMA, including a monthly magazine (if you’re a member,) local groups, and educational content and seminars.
National Association of Residential Property Managers
The NARPM may be a little self-explanatory. They cater to people who manage… well, residential properties. They have a lot going on, from an extensive conference schedule to six different certifications to choose from!
If you are in the residential space, this may be the only group you need to join. They offer everything you need to succeed – education, membership, local chapters – the whole gamut.
Online Property Management Association
The OPMA is a bit different than the rest but has similar ideas. It’s a more minor association, which has its pros and cons. One major con is that it doesn’t offer as many things. It has much less educational material than its counterparts. It doesn’t have many events each year, either. Just one main summit, which just took place in November.
So what are the pros? For one thing, a smaller organization means getting to know people within it is easier. It also means if you want to help steer the ship, it may be easier to do so than in a much larger group.
Institute of Real Estate Management
IREM is more similar to the bigger groups mentioned earlier. They have multiple membership options, which is nice. They have three different groups of IREM credentials: Individual, Firm, and Property. That’s a bit unique because most associations offer only individual certifications.
IREM has it all:
- Educational content to learn from
- Lots of events
- A job board (to post/find the next step in your career)
- Resources (including research, statistics, etc.)
- Local chapters
Overall, it’s a great group to join.
Building Owners and Managers Association
BOMA is a bit unique in that it’s for both property managers and investors/landlords. Even though I’m not sure if one of the other associations will only let in PMs and ignore building owners, this one specifically caters to the investors.
Some of the things BOMA focuses on are a bit different than the rest. For example, BOMA is a Green Office Partner, meaning they’re heavily invested in the Sustainability space. They also have several different measurement standards for buildings.
In conclusion, there’s no “right” path for every property manager to acquire 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 the best fit for the segment of the industry you wish to target. Remember that managing single-family residential properties will be quite different from managing strictly multi-family apartment complexes.