How to Become a Property Manager

How to Become a Property Manager

There are different paths for becoming a property manager. Two of the more common routes are to move into the field after having related experience in business or real estate, or getting into the field directly out of a relevant degree or diploma program. Depending on where you live, certification will also be mandatory to work in this field.


Being a property manager would involve overseeing the marketing of property vacancies, screening tenants, managing leasing contracts, overseeing property repairs, and generally looking after the administrative and operational aspects of revenue producing properties. 


A career as a property manager offers the opportunity to work with a wide range of people, a varied a dynamic set of duties, and no two similar days in the office.


So, if becoming a property manager sounds like it might be a good fit for you, then read on below; we’ll tell you what you need to make it in this field!



Education You’ll Need 

Employers will likely require that you have at least a high school diploma, although many will prefer that you have a degree or diploma related to property management, real estate management, accounting or business administration, especially in commercial property management.





Valuable Experience to Have

Many employers will accept relevant work experience in place of relevant education (described below), although many will prefer you have both. Relevant experience typically includes working in real estate or business management at any level, preferably a position wherein you have to deal with real estate or business finance, conveyance, or contract management. 


Certification in Canada & the United States

Some provinces/territories/states require that you obtain professional credentials or licensure in the form of a Realtor’s license, or a property management license if you plan on working as a property manager. 


Licensing requirements and prerequisites vary widely by region, including the scope of duties you are allowed to perform with or without a license, so be sure to check with your local Realtor’s association as to what licensing requirements you will need to meet, if any. 


It’s worth noting that in most provinces and states, owners who manage their own properties and property managers who are directly employed by owners don’t need to be licensed. 



Voluntary Certification 

Even if a property management license is not formally required in your region to work in this field, it can demonstrate your professional competence and commitment. Because of this, licensure has many tangible benefits that can help to advance your career, such as:


• Positioning yourself for a promotion

• Marketing yourself to potential employers/clients

• Broadening your range of expertise

• Enhancing your professional profile

• Increasing your earning potential



Who Creates Jobs for Property Managers?

As a property manager, you could be employed (on a permanent or a contractual basis) by a variety of organizations that manage properties such as shopping malls, warehouses, office towers, condominiums and other buildings. These types of organizations may include:


• Property management firms

• Real estate brokerages

• Government agencies (at all levels of government)

• Corporations (including condominium corporations)

• Individual property owners

• Investor pools and real estate investment trusts

• Self-employment

• Apartment buildings and large, multi-unit office buildings (as an in-house employee)



Is This Career Right for You?

You should have the following attributes if you wish to become a property manager:


• Willing to be on call during odd hours

• Well organized and punctual

• Comfortable dealing with the general public

• Able to commit to providing excellent customer service

• Able to complete work when faced with constant interruptions 

• Willing and able to mediate disputes or legal issues between residents, homeowners, or board members





Career Advancement Possibilities 

If you display competence and dedication as a property manager, there’s a good chance that career advancement opportunities will present themselves up to you. Examples of such opportunities might include (but aren’t limited to):


• An increase in the size or number of properties you manage

• An increase in your earnings through a higher salary or bonuses

• Moving into a an offsite, head office management role from an onsite role

• Eventually moving into an executive leadership position with your organization 

• Opening your own property management company


Success Tip: Having post-secondary education related to real estate, property management or a related field can greatly increase and diversify your opportunities for advancement.






Details of the Profession: General Job Description

As a property manager, you would be responsible for representing the administrative and operational interests of property owners. This would involve overseeing and coordinating the administration, accounting, maintenance, operation and improvement of residential, commercial or industrial properties.



Typical Job Duties

Although your specific duties could vary from job to job, you could expect to be responsible for the following functions in any property manager role:


• Preparing annual budgets 

• Reviewing and reporting on monthly variances from the budget 

• Performing minor property repairs

• Sourcing and hiring contractors to perform major repairs

• Reviewing and approving contractor invoices

• Initiating insurance claims

• Preparing annual management plans for properties

• Marketing any property vacancies on behalf of the owner

• Collecting and screening applications for tenancy

• Preparing tenancy and leasing agreements

• Ensuring that rent levels are kept at market value, and informing tenants with sufficient notice when they are to be raised



Salary Level of Property Managers

The salary level you could earn as a property manager can vary greatly, typically depending on the following factors:


• Your professional qualifications (level of education, certification, experience, etc.)

• The size and budget of your employer

• The region in which you work

• The scope of your job duties and functions

• Whether or not you are self-employed

• If you work as a permanent employee or on a per-contract basis

• The type of compensation package you are offered (such as if you are entitled to bonuses or commissions) 


Property Manager Salary - Alberta: According to the Alberta Learning Information Service, the average salary level of Albertans in the Property Administrators occupational group is $49,561 per year.


Salary in Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadians working in the Property Administrators occupational group is $51,800 per year.


Salary in the United Kingdom: According to the National Careers Service, workers in the Facilities Managers occupational group can earn from £26,000 to £45,000 per year, with senior or regional facilities managers earning up to £60,000 per year or more.


Salary in the United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of Americans working in the Property, Real Estate, and Community Association Managers in the United States is $55,380 per year.



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Typical Work Environment

Working Hours: Most of your work would take place during normal business hours, although long hours and evening meetings would sometimes be required. From time to time you might be required to deal with emergencies on weekends and holidays.


Work Setting: Your work would be based out of an office, but you would spend a good deal of time away from it in order to inspect properties and monitor contractors. You would also have to do some traveling within your region if you work for a large multi-site company. Depending on the type of property you manage, you might be required to live on-site.


Working Conditions: Many of your work days would be unstructured, and you would have to deal with frequent interruptions. You might spend a large part of your workday showing apartments, preparing reports and documents, dealing with owners and board members, checking on the janitorial and maintenance staff, or investigating problems reported by residents.



Careers Similar to ‘Property Manager’

Listed below are occupations in our database that have similar responsibilities, and/or require similar skills, or are in the same sector of industry, as Property Manager:


• Building Inspector

• Commercial Realtor

• Operations Manager

• Real Estate Appraiser

• Realtor

• Sports Facility Manager



References for this Career Guide

The following resources were drawn from in the preparation of this How to Become a Property Manager career guide:



Occupations in Alberta:Property Manager.” (December 14, 2016). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 9, 2020.

Management:Property, Real Estate, and Community Association Managers.” (September 4, 2019). Bureau of Labor Statistics - United States Government website. Retrieved January 9, 2020.

Designations:Certified Property Manager.” (n.d.). Real Estate Institute of Canada website. Retrieved January 9, 2020.

Learn:How to Become a Property Manager in 3 Basic Steps.” Izabelle Hundrev (July 16, 2019). G2 website. Retrieved January 9, 2020.



Scholarships for Becoming a Property Manager

The Applicable Majors section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as a property manager. You can search for scholarships matched to that/those fields of study on the following pages:


Any Field of Study Scholarships

Management Scholarships


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Property Manager: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the college/university majors listed below can be helpful (or necessary) for becoming a property manager. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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