March 23 2018
For some people, career development is a straight line. You start at an entry level position, you build up your skills and your connections, and you move up the management chain until you’ve eventually reached the spot you were aiming for. On the other hand, others treat careers like a flight of beer: they taste each one in turn, enjoy it while it lasts, and then move on to the next flavor. If that last description sounds familiar to you, have you ever considered a career in property management?
You need to have a certain set of skills earned in the workplace if you want to become a propertymanager, but you don’t necessarily have to work in a real-estate job to get those skills.
You’ll need to understand how to give a good sales pitch, since while you won’t be doing many unit tours yourself it’s your responsibility to make sure your staff knows how to close deals. People skills in general are helpful since you’ll be interacting with a decent-sized staff even if you only manage one property, plus you’ll need to know how to calm down upset tenants who call you because something inside their unit or the building just broke.
Business accounting is another must. As a property manager, your desk is where all the rent and bill payments add up so you can submit a monthly report to the property owner. It’s not the hardest form of math by a long shot, but you need to be comfortable with numbers and spreadsheets.
It also helps to have an understanding of home maintenance and repair. Most apartment buildings and complexes have a dedicated maintenance staff, but when it comes to smaller operations like rented homes a property manager might be expected to handle every leaky pipe and busted appliance. Managers can always call in plumbers and electricians to fix things, but it’s cheaper and faster to learn how to maintain things yourself. And even if you move on to managing apartments, your maintenance staff will appreciate that you understand their jobs and you can pitch in when you have the time.
If your career development path looks more like a game of hopscotch than a straight line, and if you have the right skills and attitude, property management might be exactly what you were waiting to land on. There are a variety of skills you can use to your advantage in the field and plenty of ways to get them, so if you like a challenge and a high-paying salary then property management may be the end point of your career development.