A career in property management involves handling all aspects of the upkeep of an income-producing real estate property (or properties), and ensuring it maximizes its financial potential. In short, a property manager's goal is to make the property run as efficiently and profitably as possible on behalf of its owner. Properties such as apartment complexes, office buildings, retail centers and community associations all require daily management. According to Salary.com, in the U.S., the expected salary for a property manager can range from $64,530 to $92,443; as of July 2008, the median salary was quoted at $76,9571. Moreover, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes, over half of property managers are self-employed2.
Property management is a growing career field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, in its 2008-2009 Occupational Outlook Handbook, states there were approximately 329,000 managers of property, commercial and real estate properties in 2006. The report goes on to say that property management career employment is slated to have a higher than average increase between 2006 and 2016 of up to 15% (approximately 50,000 jobs)3.
The day to day tasks of property management are diverse. Financial transactions and requirements include the collection of rent or late fees, processing deposits and refunds, and maintaining the property's insurance policies and overall budget. Property maintenance like lawn care, janitorial services, ordering site supplies, and waste and recycling removal are arranged and overseen by the manager. Coordinating more unusual repairs such as for plumbing and electrical issues also fall under a manager's responsibilities as well as the resolution of any issues or complaints of current tenants.
An onsite manager is generally responsible for the marketing, advertising and touring of available spaces. Concurrent with marketing, the manager must be aware of building codes, fair housing laws, current legislation and any legal issues surrounding the property.
Offsite managers coordinate with onsite managers, and are able oversee multiple properties. In an article from the "Journal of Property management" it analyzes how different factors affect how many properties a single manager can realistically operate. The type of property, geographical location, or the level or types of services provided are all aspects to be taken into consideration. Once the value of each component is factored in, it allows the manager (or company) to determine his property market niche.4
Taking these duties, requirements and factors into consideration, a strong basis for a successful career in property management often includes a degree in real estate, accounting, finance, or business administration. In fact, most states in the country require a property manager to have a real estate license or operate under a broker?s license to be qualified to receive rent or property related payments. Proficiency in administrative tasks, financial organization and customer service are desired qualifications; backgrounds in real estate, finance and building maintenance are all excellent foundations for this career, although experience is not always required for entry level assistant.