How to Become a Property, Real Estate, or Community Association Manager
A high school diploma combined with several years of related work experience is typically required for entry-level positions.
Property, real estate, and community association managers typically need a high school diploma combined with several years of related work experience for entry-level positions. Some managers also must have a state-issued license.
A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for onsite property management positions. Employers may prefer to hire college graduates for positions in commercial management positions related to overseeing a property’s finances or contracts. Fields of degree for bachelor’s or master’s study may include business administration, accounting, finance, real estate, or public administration.
Work Experience in a Related Occupation
Property, real estate, and community association managers typically need several years of work experience in a related occupation. For example, real estate brokers and sales agents also show commercial properties to prospective tenants or buyers, and customer service representatives gain experience dealing with many types of people.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Property, real estate, and community association managers may need a license issued by the state in which they work. In most states, property managers must have a property management license or real estate broker’s license. Real estate managers who buy or sell property must have a real estate license in the state in which they practice. In some states, community association managers also need a real estate license. Managers of public housing subsidized by the federal government must hold certifications.
Many states require property, real estate, and community association managers to obtain professional credentials or licensure. Requirements vary by state, but managers working in states without requirements may still obtain designations to show competence and professionalism. For example, BOMI International, the Community Associations Institute, the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM), and the Community Association Managers International Certification Board (CAMICB) offer various designations, certifications, and professional development courses. Most states require recertification. For more information, contact your state licensing agency.
Employers typically require managers to attend formal training programs available through professional and trade real estate associations. These programs may help to develop managerial skills and expand knowledge of specialized fields, such as insurance and risk management, tenant relations, and accounting and financial concepts. With related job experience, completing these programs and receiving a satisfactory score on a written exam may lead to certification or professional designation by the sponsoring association.
Property, real estate, and community association managers who participate in professional training programs may prepare themselves for positions of increased responsibility. People may start as onsite managers of properties, such as apartment buildings, office complexes, or community associations. As they gain experience, they may advance to assistant property manager positions in which they handle a broad range of duties.
People also might begin as assistant managers, working closely with a property manager, and advance to property manager positions over time.
Property, real estate, and community association managers’ responsibilities increase as they manage more and larger properties. Property managers may oversee several properties at a time. Experienced managers may open their own property management firms.
Communication skills. Property, real estate, and community association managers must understand contracts and must be able to clearly explain the materials and answer questions raised by residents, board members, or service providers.
Customer-service skills. Property, real estate, and community association managers must provide excellent support to keep existing clients and expand their business with new ones.
Interpersonal skills. Property, real estate, and community association managers interact with different types of people every day. They must be empathetic, respectful, and patient in their dealings with others.
Listening skills. Property, real estate, and community association managers pay attention to residents and proprietors in order to understand and meet their needs.
Organizational skills. Property, real estate, and community association managers must be able to plan, coordinate, and direct multiple contractors at the same time, often for multiple properties.
Problem-solving skills. Property, real estate, and community association managers must be able to mediate disputes or legal issues between different groups of people, such as residents and board members.