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5-Minute Guide to NARPM's RMP Property Manager Certification

Do you want some assurances that the property manager you hire has received some focused education and property management experience?

While most states require property managers to have a real estate license, property management education isn't a huge part of the real estate licensing process by any means. Fortunately, a few professional property management organizations offer property management certifications to property managers. While there are many excellent property managers who are not certified, having a certification may give a property manager's resume a boost.

Property management certifications give rental owners some assurance that the property manager they hire to care for their rental property has received focused training beyond the minimum required to get a real estate license. In addition to classroom education, certifications generally include experience and other requirements.

One of the most common certifications for those managing single-family and small- to mid-sized multifamily rental properties is the Residential Management Professional (RMP) certification from the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). NARPM provides support and education for property management professionals who primarily serve single-family residences and smaller residential properties.

If you're the owner of a residential rental property, choosing a property manager with an RMP certification from NARPM ensures that your property manager has met specific and ongoing educational, experience, and volunteer requirements that are designed to protect you as a rental property owner, as well as to ensure that the property management profession continues to develop and improve.

NARPM's requirements for the RMP certification include the following property management qualifications:

  • Real Estate Licensing: Those managing residential property in a state that requires real estate licensing for property management must have had a real estate license for at least the two previous years.
  • Experience Managing Residential Properties: NARPM requires 100 "unit years" of experience acquired over the two previous years. A unit year is gained from managing one residential unit for a year. In addition, twenty-five residential units must be managed during candidacy and at designation.
  • Education: RMP candidates must complete eighteen hours of NARPM property management training, as well as an ethics course.
  • Electives: Candidates must also choose between elective options, which include additional education requirements, publication of an article, attending conferences, or participating in the NARPM organization.
  • Conferences: RPM candidates must attend two state or regional conferences, or one national conference. Conferences provide professional development opportunities designed to educate members of NARPM about issues, hot topics, technology, and changes in the property management profession.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Written and sealed letters of recommendation must be submitted from two RMP or Master Property Manager (MPM) designees and three property owner clients. The MPM designation is a NARPM property manager certification that builds and expands upon the RMP designation.

NARPM'S RMP Education Requirement

Fourteen different classes, each lasting one day and a total of six hours, give property manager candidates a range of options when deciding how to meet the eighteen hours of property management classes required by NARPM for the RMP certification. The classes are focused solely on property management and provide a wide range of practical information for running a professional property management business, including :

  • Habitability Standards & Maintenance: covering code compliance, insurance, mold, preventive and corrective maintenance, and maintenance coordination
  • HR Start to Finish: covering human resources procedures including hiring to team development
  • Marketing: techniques for marketing to owners and finding new clients
  • NARPM 101: basics of property management based on experience of the course instructors and authors
  • Office Operations: includes how to create property management policies and procedures manual and implement effective office systems
  • Tenancy: covers how to manage tenants, including developing property management forms, the tenant cycle (from screening to move-out), and tenant policies and procedures
  • Operating an In-House Maintenance Company: suggests techniques for running an efficient maintenance company
  • Maintenance: basics and beyond
  • Owner/Client Relations Essentials: the client cycle, from prospecting to ending the relationship
  • Owner/Client Relations Advanced: how to develop a property management agreement, handling conflicts and issues, and risks/liabilities
  • Personnel Procedures Essentials: crafting job descriptions, hiring and terminating employees, effective training and keeping good employees
  • Personnel Procedures Advanced
  • Risk Management Essentials: covers fiduciary relationships/agency, fair housing, and other risk/liability topics
  • Risk Management Advanced

Applicants must also complete a three-hour ethics course, and the course must be revisited every four years to maintain the designation. There is no examination requirement to attain the RMP designation.

To get more information about NARPM's RMP designation, we interviewed Tiffany Jones, NARPM's Education Manager:

Q: About how many NARPM members have the RMP designation?

A: Currently there are 411 RMP designees.

Q: When did NARPM start offering certifications? Why?

A: The first designation was offered October 20, 1989. NARPM offers designations to property managers to set them apart from the competition. Professional designations from NARPM have an impact on their company and their clients in a positive way.

Q: What sets the NARPM RMP certification apart from other organizations' certifications?

A: NARPM designations are earned with a combination of property management experience, NARPM and industry education, and service to the association through volunteer activities. Our designations are recognized nationally and we are the only national organization that offers a Property Management designation solely for property managers.

Q: Once certified, do designees have to take continuing education classes or fulfill other obligations to maintain the certification?

A: The designees have to continue to take the NARPM Ethics course every 4 years to maintain their designation.

Q: What is the purpose of the electives requirement?

A: The electives requirement is to ensure that the designees that are working towards their designation truly earn a combination of education and experience.

Q: Any plans to offer other certifications?

A: We have a few more designations that we are looking into that would be geared towards support staff members at this time?

Q: Do you have a process for following up on complaints about NARPM certified property managers? Would NARPM ever revoke a certification, if say, a state department of licensing revoked a property manager's real estate license?

A: If there is a complaint against a property manager they would have to contact NARPM national directly to file an ethics complaint against that member. The complaint would be presented to the board of directors and they would decide the proper action based on the situation.

Q: What else should we know about NARPM's RMP certification?

A: NARPM's designation program is designed to provide Property Managers with an upward process of professional growth. Earning a designation gives them recognition while it provides many opportunities and marketing benefits. Having a designation sets them apart as a leader. It also builds confidence and gives them credibility while it imparts the knowledge and skill to help them leap from good to great.

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