If you’re looking to break into a new career, becoming a rental property manager could be the perfect gig for you. People of all ages are choosing to rent over buying a house, so the need for reliable property managers is out there. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment in the industry will grow 8 percent through 2024, so the need will continue to exist for the foreseeable future.
Do a decent salary, steady employment, job security—and a strong desire to work with people—top your wish list when it comes to your next career? If so, follow these steps on how to become a property manager.
Ensure that you meet all the legal requirements
The specific licensing requirements vary from state to state. Plus, there are different rules that apply depending on the properties you manage. For example, managers of government-subsidized public housing are usually required to obtain special certifications. It’s entirely up to you to know which laws and ground rules apply to you.
Do your research and figure out how to become a property manager in your area. Once you know what is expected in your state, you can start taking the steps to obtain the right licensing and ensure that you comply.
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Beef up on your real estate and business know-how
While a high-school diploma can be enough for some people to hire you, more and more companies want their property managers to have a bachelor’s degree in business administration, real estate, accounting, public administration, or finance.
Other companies seek out candidates with vocational real estate training or a real estate license. And coursework in real estate development, real estate management, real estate finance, urban planning, affordable housing administration, property management, and housing for the elderly are especially sought after.
If going back to school isn’t an option, you can always invest in online courses to increase your knowledge and build your skills. If nothing else, don’t underestimate the value of on-the-job training. You may need to start off at an entry-level position, but once you learn the business, you can move up the ranks.
Obtain certifications that set you apart
Even if you don’t need a license to manage properties in your jurisdiction, obtaining certifications is wise because it reveals to hiring companies, and potential clients, that you have a high level of commitment and professionalism. Many property managers go on to obtain a real estate license—either a real estate broker’s license or a real estate salesperson’s license. And that definitely opens up opportunities for you beyond just property management.
You can also go after more specialized certifications, such as Certified Manager of Community Associations, Residential Management Professional (RMP®), Certified Property Manager, or Certified Apartment Manager (CAM). For most certifications, you need to apply, complete specific education requirements, and pass a test or series of exams. While it takes some time and effort, such credentials can definitely set you apart from other job applicants.
Once you’ve figured out how to become a property manager, and once you’ve gained the skills and credentials, it’s just a matter of finding the right company. Do some investigation to find property management companies with solid reputations. Then start your networking and send out your resume until you find the perfect fit.