Before you go charging off to pursue a career in property management, we recommend that you first see if property management is for you.  Or, are you for property management.

Managing rental properties takes a very broad but distinct set of skills and temperament.  To give you a broad brush idea of what it takes to be a good property manager I have included below a brief job description of a property manager.  Of course, the description will vary between property management companies:

Property Manger/Leasing Agent:

  • Responsible for all maintenance on properties
  • Responsible for all make-readies of properties between Tenants
  • Responsible for collecting rent from Tenants
  • Responsible for delivery of all notices to Tenants, including 3-Day Notices to Pay Rent or Quit
  • Responsible for all Tenant issues relating to maintenance.
  • Responsible for communicating maintenance needs of properties to owners and gaining their approval for work to be done prior to performing the work.
  • Responsible for the collection of all “Funds Requests” from Owners.
  • Manages all vendors and contractors as they relate to property maintenance
  • Performs periodic inspection of properties
  • Is primary contact for leasing ads alternating with other leasing agents
  • Shows and leases properties.
  • Screens all prospective Tenants, including running credit reports and writing up Lease agreements.
  • Serves as liaison between Tenants, Owners and Home Owner Association.
  • To have a working knowledge of the financial condition of each property managed.
  • To oversee the timely production and communication of a monthly Owner’s statement and remittance of Owner’s distribution as appropriate

If that didn’t scare you off, let’s continue.

Again, in a broad-brush approach, below are some aptitudes and temperaments, which, while not absolutely necessary, will make your quest into property management smoother going:

Knowledge of Real Estate Law (state license is preferable)

  • Knowledge of property maintenance.
  • Knowledge of Accounting and financial statements.
  • Strong People Skills
  • Strong Communication Skills.
  • Ability to “shift Gears” or change your daily or hourly priorities with a moment’s notice.
  • Be a self-motivated, self-starter
  • Ability to mange stress-charged situations and work toward consensus with all parties.
  • Ability to work with agencies and organizations with authority and always work for consensus.

Something to think about:  Our book:  Manage to Make Money . . . with a Career in Property Management contains some self-evaluation tools to help you further assess your skill and temperament set for a career in property management.  To check the book out CLICK HERE

Next is to figure out what type of properties you want to manage; industrial, commercial, institutional, retail or residential.  Of course this book is oriented around residential but first a few notes about managing the other types:  commercial, industrial, and institutional properties.  Property management for these types of properties will tend to require much fewer hours to manage them.  What do I mean by that?  Well, with these types of properties for the most part, there is no one in them during the evenings or the weekends.  No calls on Thanksgiving Day that someone’s oven doesn’t work.  On the other hand, the retail and residential will require you to be on call more often to respond to service requests like the oven not working on Thanksgiving or the heating isn’t working on Black Friday and it’s too cold to have their sale.  Just some things to think about.

So how do you break into the property management business as a career change?   There are many ways you can do this but basically, you need education and experience.  In many cases, the two go hand in hand, but, your life is going to be less complicated if you can get the education ahead of the experience.  Otherwise, you will be making lots of mistakes as you learn the business and it will be in a real-world scenario with pretty high stakes.

We recommend that you take a course (or courses) similar to our “How to Profitably Manage Rental Properties” which will at least walk you through the basics of the day-in, day-out things that you will need to know in order to manage properties.  In fact we taught a class in Pasadena, California and a few weeks after the class, one of our students contacted us.  He wanted to get into the property management business and asked if he could intern with us for a while.  We set up a part-time schedule with him and he learned a lot in his six months as an intern.

Another option would be to work for a property management company as an assistant to a property manager . . . a great source of education and experience.

Ok so that’s great, but how do you find a good property manager to even talk to?  Believe it or not, it isn’t that hard, especially if you live in a fairly well populated area.  There will be several companies out there to choose from.

How do you find a quality property manager? Do your homework, which will include research. My first and foremost piece of advice is to look for a firm that is a member of your local Board of Realtors. The Board of Realtors is a very strong trade organization, which also has a very positive history of regulating itself. You can call your local board and get a list of the firms who are property managers. If your board doesn’t keep the information that way then you can work backwards for it: search the web for property manager in your area and then screen them by which ones are Realtors.

Once you have the list narrowed down to between three and five, check them out! Go to their websites (if they don’t have one it’s not a non-starter but does raise a red flag) and see what they are about. From the website, you will be able to get a feel for their level of professionalism . . . or a feel for how much money they spent for a great web-designer!!

Next, check with the Better Business Bureau, Yelp Business or Yahoo Business and see if there are any complaints or comments that concern you, and if so what the status of them is. Also check with your State Department of Real Estate and confirm that they have a broker’s license with the State and that it is in good standing. Also, be sure to check if there are any complaints against the license. The internet is so well developed now that you should be able to do most of your homework sitting at your computer!

We recommend that you personally interview the companies who make the cut . . . at their office. This is a great opportunity to see their operation and possibly meet their staff. It is also a great time to see if there is a positive connection between you and them . . . do you share similar values? Do you communicate at the same level?

You may have to offer to intern for free or . . . at a much lower rate than is the market.  This will help you get your foot in the door and you can always renegotiate, after you have shown that you are worth the investment.


Thank you for reading.  To investigate our offering of Property Management Resources . . . Books, E-Books, Documents, Forms, Checklists, Seminar DVD’s and Live Seminars go to our Website:


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