March 16 2018
A good property manager has to master two important skills. First, they need to understand administration tasks like sorting and processing rent checks, paying bills, and keeping track of lease agreements and renewal dates. Second, they need to understand customer service and how to attract enough people to fill every unit.
You can learn about real estate and business management at a university, and there are plenty of service jobs that can give you firsthand experience at dealing with customers. But if you want to advance quickly through the ranks in your property management career, there’s one career path that can bring you to your goal quickly.
Low-level positions in property management involve more interactions with customers and fewer administration tasks, and so your best bet for starting a property management career is to begin with an entry-level job as a salesperson. The job doesn’t have to be very prestigious, but it should be the kind of position that lets you help customers find what they’re looking for and encourage them to buy the store’s products.
Once you have some experience with sales, you can get your foot in the door as a leasing agent. Lease agents often work as the face of the company, presenting the lease agreements to applicants, showing them around empty units, and directing residents’ complaints and questions to the correct departments. Endless patience and an upbeat attitude are essential for this job, and they’ll serve you well as you advance up the food chain.
In the assistant manager position, you’ll need to know more about the administration tasks of property management and how to manage the staff of a residential property. This is a good time to learn more about the properties divisions like maintenance and food preparation: while the skills aren’t essential for advancement, picking up the basics will help you understand what the employees do with their days and how much time and effort go into each of their tasks. This helps you give your employees the time they need to do their jobs and it means you can help out in a pinch.
Once you become a full property manager, all the responsibility for keeping a property in good shape and full of tenants falls on you. At this point you need to develop an eye for talent, which is another reason to become familiar with all the job types that work under you. And while you might not deal with many tenants directly, being a people person still helps since you need to motivate your staff.
Becoming a manager could be the end point of your property management career, but there are still ways to move on to bigger and better things. You could take on additional properties owned by the parent company you work for, you could aim for a high-level job within that parent company, or you could invest in a rental property and go into business for yourself.