How to get into Property Management?
There are quite a few reasons why people would find the prospect of becoming a property manager appealing. Good work hours, decent workplace training programs and the fact that you don’t have a college diploma doesn’t turn off potential employers like in most other fields of work.
However, even though there is no shortage of open workplaces, if you’re planning to throw your hat into the ring, there are a few things that you should know beforehand.
The most important part of any job is the pay. Working in a field that you are comfortable in and taking pride in the work you do are very important qualities in a job position, but you’re also going to need a stable income to pay the bills.
While we would like to give you an exact sum right off the bat, the truth is that your pay will depend on a lot of different factors. The size of the company you work for, the type of properties that you mostly manage, the city that you’re located in, your portfolio size and your position in the company being the most crucial ones.
However, we can safely say that, generally, you’re looking at a pay of between 50 and 70,000$ a year on average. There will of course be property management companies that will fall on the lower end and others that will pay much more that 70,000$ a year, but most of them will fall somewhere in that gap. In the beginning at least.
Certain types of property management work will require certain certificates and qualifications – or at least give you an advantage. Usually this means that you’re going to have to attend a course, or several courses in order to get your property management or property broker licence. The exact licence will depend on what type of property the company you are applying to deals with.
Of course, having only the basic certificate will limit the type of properties you can work on simply because different properties will require the manager to have different qualifications. Meaning that you might also want to look into getting a few additional licences and certificates in order to open up more employment opportunities for yourself in the future.
Most companies are also looking for someone that is well versed in property laws and regulations and has had some formal education in the finance field. While the background in finance isn’t much or a deal-breaker, you can imagine why the knowledge in property laws is vital to employers.
If you aren’t a people person, then you better develop those qualities quickly because a large part of your standard workday will revolve around dealing with them. Some days will be easier than others. You’ll have clients that make the job easy and enjoyable, but there will also be those that’ll put your people skills and nerves to the test.
Owner and tenant communication is going to need to become second nature to you. You’re going to need to get so proficient at it that you’ll get to a point where you send out most of the emails before you’ve even had your first sip of coffee in the morning.
Fortunately, a lot of companies use software that has helpful tools like message formats that automate the whole process by allowing you to simply choose from already existing email templates rather than having to create new ones from scratch. However, you’re still going to need to learn how to write and respond to messages and questions quickly.
Speaking of questions, there are going to be a lot of them. Your owners and tenants are going to want to be kept informed at all times, and rightfully so. This means that you’re going to be swamped with constant requests for updates and questions about certain procedures. As long as you keep your cool and deal with everyone in a calm and respectful way you have nothing to worry about. But if you think that this sort of day-to-day might be overwhelming for you, then you might not be cut out for the service sector.
Eye for details
You’re going to be required to do frequent property inspections and send out maintenance requests. This will either be done through a property management app, or you’ll have to take down any notes you might have manually. Either way, you’re going to need to know what’s noteworthy and what’s not.
The biggest problem that new property managers have is finding the balance between too many and not enough details. If you aren’t attentive enough when writing down your comments on the property then a lot of maintenance issues might get overlooked. But you don’t want to be so obsessive that you call a creditor to change a pipe because there’s a scratch on it either.
In the long run, it’s better to be more obsessive than negligent. Luckily you can often ask a colleague if a specific issue is important enough to log when you’re processing the inspection in the office later on. After a while, you’ll get enough experience under your belt to learn what you really need to look out for, but having a keen eye from the get-go is a definite plus.
While calculations and math do play a large part in completing the financial side of your daily property manager tasks, the biggest factor is going to be your organizational skills. Considering the sheer number of daily tasks you’re going to need to complete to ensure that all of the funds end up where they should, making a mistake or overlooking something will mean a lot of backtracking and starting over.
While that might not seem too problematic, the number and variety of the tasks you’ll have on your plate will make having to correct a mistake a potentially big setback. These tasks include daily banking, receipting, reconciliations, processing payments, disbursing owners and creditors, and so on.
As you can see, you need to be pretty organized simply to remember all of these and the order that you’re going to need to complete them in. Of course, it’s highly likely that you’ll be using software to complete all of these tasks so it’s not like you’re going to be doing the math on a notebook and calculator. However, you’ll still need to make sure that your calculations add up and that you did everything correctly, which means that basic accounting skills are a must for a property manager.
Getting thrown into the deep end
The beginning is going to be tough. While that may be true when talking about basically any job, property management is in it’s own category and there are quite a few things that’ll happen in the beginning of your property management career that you might find particularly intimidating.
First, you are going to need to learn the particular system that the company uses. Each property management software is different and you’ll need some time before you learn all the tricks, but the training courses that most companies use are designed to teach you all you need to know in order to get you acclimated to the system in a few easy steps.
Second, you are going to be trained by a more experienced property manager and probably accompany them on their meetings, inspections and so on. They are going to try and cram as much information into your head and it’s up to you to remember at least ⅔ of it.
After your short training period, you’re immediately going to be given clients and portfolios and aside from the regular procedures, you’re also going to need to fix any problems that might come up and figure out the best solution for each situation.
No company is looking to you expecting you to fail since they wouldn’t have taken the time to train you if that was the case. They will allow you an adjustment period, however, they will be checking to see how you take the pressure and if you really are cut out for the job. Meaning that keeping a cool head and being flexible in stressful situations is a must.
The property management field isn’t all that difficult to get into, but the second you actually land a job as a property manager, you’re going to need to adapt to your environment quickly. It’ll likely get overwhelming at times and you’ll definitely struggle before you develop a knack for the ways of the trade.
Property management is definitely not for everyone, but if you are motivated enough it’s a very achievable goal. After all, property managers don’t have any superpowers so the only real difference between you and them is the amount of experience on the job. The first few months may be difficult, but once you get over that hurdle, things are likely to get much easier.