I have a real estate license in NC. I’m considering seeking employment in property management. How do I determine if the Charlotte market is saturated?
-Charlotte, North Carolina
The answer? “One more!!!!”
Seriously, if you want to do property management, and you want to be in Charlotte, what do you care if the market is saturated or not? Don’t take counsel of your fears! Go forth and pursue your career goals, and do it in Charlotte, and damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!
The worst thing you can do is wring your hands wondering if Charlotte may not be the 100 percent most optimal market for you.
As an employee of a larger firm, it won’t matter all that much, either, as far as you’re concerned, because if you’re good, then opportunities will come to you, and it won’t matter whether the market is saturated or not. And that goes for any city, not just Charlotte.
That said, it is a useful thing to ask yourself “If I were investing capital and starting a business in property management, and I could go anywhere in the country I wanted, would I want to be doing business in Charlotte?
Let’s take a look at some indicators:
First, I’m going to link to AllPropertyManagement.com’s proprietary Rental Ranking, which place Charlotte a very respectable 16th out of 75 metro markets surveyed. The Rental Ranking score is a rough index seeking to measure the health of the residential rental market in a given city compared to other cities.
According to All Property Management’s data, the vacancy rate in Charlotte is pretty low, at 6.30 percent. The cap rate, on average, is decent in Charlotte, which gives landlords a bit of wiggle room to share profits with property managers.
More broadly, Charlotte’s economy has been booming lately – boosted by a desirable and beautiful costal location, but also by the growing phenomenon of “halfbacks.” Those are former “snowbirds” who moved from the Northeast to retire or enjoy vacation homes in Florida, but for whatever reason, have decided to move “halfway back” to the Northeast, and wind up settling in the Carolinas.
Meanwhile, the Charlotte Metro area itself is posting some solid job growth numbers – gaining 28,400 jobs last year, for an increase of 3.3 percent in employment. Charlotte is home to Bank of America, of course, and scored a big employment coup with MetLife’s relocation to Charlotte bringing hundreds of jobs, and expected to bring hundreds more.
A group of business executives is forecasting about a 2 percent growth rate in Charlotte over the year 2014. Not stellar, but quite respectable. Other areas of North Carolina are struggling – a near comatose textile industry doesn’t help.
But if Charlotte is doing ok, economic depression in other areas of the state helps you, indirectly, because it causes people to migrate to the city, boosting demand for rental housing. Eventually, landlords must build housing to meet the demand – and then they will need people to manage it for them.
I’d be more inclined to get into property management in Charlotte and the Triangle, which continue to attract workers, than I would in rural areas which may be reporting flat or declining populations.
One negative: The film industry relies on state tax credits and incentives as a big part of its business model – these tax credits secure investments for backers and are a major selling point for investors and in the private equity world. North Carolina just voted to slash these tax incentives, so expect film and video jobs to flee the state for friendlier climes.
As long as you’re not managing a mall or apartment community right off a studio lot, though, it won’t affect you much.
Taking a quick gander at advertisements in the Charlotte area, I don’t have any trouble finding help wanted ads for leasing agents, HOA managers, property managers and assistant managers and so forth. So if you are bringing some skills to the table, you should be just fine in Charlotte. I think you have a bright future in that town.
Are property management forms advertising for property managers? Sure.
Monster lets me drill down a little further than Craigslist. The entry-level property management jobs I see in Charlotte might not pay what you’re looking for: $12-14 per hour for a “leasing consultant,” $16-18 per hour for an “Assistant Property Manager.” There’s nothing wrong with it, though, and you won’t stay entry level forever!
The best suggestion I can give you there is to keep your sales skills up and continue building your network of contacts around town. A property management professional who can be a rainmaker, and bring in other property management accounts for the broker or parent company will always be in high demand – and that won’t change at all, if the market should become more saturated.
Meanwhile, don’t rely on the want ads. Find the places you want to work for, and contact them directly. Go to networking events, and make contacts face-to-face. Your chances of getting a call for an interview based on a blind resume are small. Your chances increase exponentially if the boss or hiring manager already knows you.
Network, and build your skills in the meantime. Meanwhile, here’s a two-part guide to getting job referrals that may help you. Note that there’s nothing in it about passively applying to want ads! Leave that for the weakies.
Writing about personal finance and investments since 1999, Jason Van Steenwyk started as a reporter with Mutual Funds Magazine and served as editor of Investors’ Digest. He now publishes feature articles in many publications including Annuity Selling Guide, Bankrate.com, and more.