Property management training – what’s gone wrong

If we are aware that not ten or twenty, but 62.3% of property managers are dissatisfied with their working conditions, salary, and work-life balance, we can say that something is failing them. And in our experience, that ‘something’ has a lot to do with property management training.

Now let’s see how. 

How does one become a residential property manager?

Nowadays, becoming a property manager requires obtaining adequate education or training and a license. Without these, there is a very low possibility of getting hired by any agency. 

In September 2019, the Australian law policy on property management registration changed towards requiring property managers to hold at least one of the following three types of registrations:

Someone entering this field of work could also receive formal education in property management, either a graduate or a master’s diploma. There are many universities in Australia that offer property management education, and programs last between six months and two years. 

Most courses offer knowledge in property and community development in urban and rural areas. Graduate-level courses are for people with professional experience in real estate, but inadequate undergraduate qualifications, or for those holding a bachelor degree in an unrelated field. Masters programs are for students who already have a related or unrelated bachelor diploma—depends on the case. 

Additionally, there are plenty of online courses that provide qualifications for obtaining a license, some of them offering even practical experience in virtual, metaphorical real-estate agencies. Moreover, licenses can also be obtained online.

So where’s the catch?

So far, everything sounds easy-peasy. You enroll in a university or take up an online course, and from then on, obtaining a license is pretty straightforward. However, does that prepare you for the realities of the job?

Mentoring an assistant

It’s not uncommon that agencies hire enthusiastic, young people with (almost) no experience on property management positions, give them a minimum wage, and a portfolio of 200 properties. 

To these young managers, it might seem as if they’re skipping some steps and progressing rather quickly, but it could also be argued that the agency is exploiting them. Property management is a job that requires practice and building a personal work style. That’s why it’s much better to start as an assistant property manager and receive proper mentoring. 

When an inexperienced property manager is bombarded with tasks and information they can’t juggle all at once, these begin to snowball, and their performance plummets. After all, there’s no textbook that can prepare someone adequately for the reality of day-to-day property management on its own.

That’s why, long-term, it makes so much more sense for the agency to give their new employees more mentored training. However, hiring an assistant property manager and waiting for them to obtain skills step-by-step by watching and following their mentor is, of course, more expensive for the agency. So, what we frequently see happen is that agencies end up harming their business and draining a young person’s enthusiasm in order to save a few dollars and maximise profit. 

Theory doesn’t equal practice

Some experts argue that there’s a gap between having theoretical knowledge in property management, obtained through courses and university, and what this job is truly like day-to-day. Beginning with a portfolio of 200 properties is too much for any person, regardless of their enthusiasm, and will probably overwhelm them.

So is there anything agencies can do to ease new hires to their daily responsibilities as a property manager? That’s where the above-mentioned mentoring jumps in, or any similar procedure that agencies might adopt to  equip new managers with practical knowledge before they can progress on the job. 

Continuous training and education

Basic education is really just an introduction to what awaits. Once a property manager gets hands-on experience, they will realise that constant training is necessary. Some agencies may treat staff-training as a detriment, but if they have a good long-term strategy they should know that it’s actually an investment

Fortunately, another thing that can help agencies ease their employees’ workload is technology. For example, cloud-based software that automates a large portion of the menial tasks in property management can help managers go through daily responsibilities faster.  The employees who receive proper training on how to use novel technologies have a better chance of taking their soft skills to a higher level, which will, in turn, make them much better equipped to focus on the truly important aspects of a property manager’s job—making sure clients are satisfied.

Final words

We hope that our take on how training can improve the industry has given you some food for thought. We hope that our take on how training can improve the industry has given you some food for thought. For further reading, we encourage you to check out to check out our article on the 2020 trends in real estate or how to prevent landlord churn.  

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