Property Management: Top 5 Tips for Growing Your Career

A recent story on CNN noted that being a commercial property manager is one of the best 50 jobs to have with median salaries around $75,000.   The rating further states our industry has a personal satisfaction rating of “A” and job security rating of “B”.

Property management is a well defined profession with solid growth prospects.  Job growth projections in property management range from 8 to 18% over the next ten years.  For the entire industry job growth will mirror the rate of population growth at about 1% per year.

This is great news for current industry property management professionals and job seekers.  Job growth, security and job satisfaction are all ingredients of a promising career in property management.  But to win jobs you need to stand out from the crowd.

Training and certification(s) are keys to unlocking these opportunities.  Here are my Top 5 Tips for growing your career as a property manager.

1.  Education and training are crucial.  Property owners know the best method for securing consistent revenue and maintaining expenses is to have well trained people- they know this is a solid investment.   With education you are creating a transferable skill set.

For maximum opportunities a four-year college degree or industry training is the right place to start.  A major in real estate, business or communications compliments a career in property management. The real thinking time comes in before you enter the profession considering your personal career objectives.

Real estate, like law, has many career tracks. Finding one you enjoy is important for job satisfaction.  First, identify those specializations that are in high demand, and match these with your area of interest.  By doing this, you are providing yourself with maximum flexibility in the job market while first learning, then working in your field of choice.

2. Professional Designations in property management.  Adding to your credentials sets you apart from the competition and confirms your commitment to the profession.  Beyond a college degree, advanced training affirms your willingness to devote time, energy and effort to becoming a knowledgeable professional.

The best time to gain credentials is early in your career as this allows for greater increases in responsibility.  More responsibility leads to a greater number of        assets under “your” management.   This indicates more people reporting to you.  This level of responsibility leads to greater salary increases.

When considering designations, the right one depends on the size and type of property managed and whether or not your interest is in site management or asset management.  Here are a few to consider.

  • CPM – Certified Property Manager is a professional designation awarded by     the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) and recognized by the National    Association of Realtors (NAR).  This designation is the most established and takes the longest to acquire.  It is well known and has a high level of acceptance    industry-wide.
  • ARM – Accredited Resident Manager is a professional designation awarded by            Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM).
  • CAM – Certified Apartment Manager is a professional designation awarded by the National Apartment Association (NAA).
  • CAPS – Certified Apartment Portfolio Supervisor is a professional designation            awarded by the National Apartment Association (NAA).
  • RAM – Registered in Apartment Management is a professional designation       awarded by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

3.  Be a thought leaderAs your career and experience advance, the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities you have become a valuable resource.  With time and age people expand their knowledge from 1. Learning to 2. Doing to 3. Teaching.  And sometimes from training to “training the trainer’.  Being in leadership, people will want to be connected with you.  Embrace this.

With experience, consider sharing your knowledge with the talented up and coming professionals following in your footsteps.  Sharing your intelligence can sometimes change the perspective and enhance outputs throughout an entire organization.

4. Incorporate new technology.   Stay current.  Be a first adapter.  Be well read.  The technology cycle continues to shorten.  Seldom is there a full twelve months between new releases of… anything technology based.  It is so very fluid.  Many software programs are on a continual/automatic update mode.  You cannot ignore this.

Today we discuss social media and tablets, tomorrow these forms of communications will have “adapted” to the next cycle of technological rendition.  Right now transitioning residents to secure electronic rent payments is all the rage.  Tomorrow this will be standard operating procedure.  This is not to say that technology should rule your professional life, but it is the “life blood” of making certain your skills are relevant in the marketplace.

5. PM is a Global Business.  Property management has a presence around the world.  With quality training and language skills the world is your oyster in terms of job opportunities.  If you are mobile, consider taking the best opportunity- anywhere that fits your fancy; London, Athens, Bahrain.

Borders are meant to be crossed.  Get a passport and expand the job search to companies and countries that desire your services.  As a subject matter expert in PM, your potential employers are coast-to-coast and internationally.

Career choice is very much like taking a road trip; no matter where you start, it’s always easier to get to the destination when the trip is mapped out first.  Choosing a career in property management requires interacting with people of every stripe.  Remember to think twice and speak once.  It is an engaging and rewarding profession.   Once you have decided to make property management your profession… jump in with both feet!

Click here to learn more about Hiring Property Management Superstars

Mr. Wilhoit is the author of three books: How To Read A Rent Roll: A Guide to Understanding Rental Income and Multifamily Insight Vol 1 & 2 – How to Acquire Wealth Through Buying the Right Multifamily Assets in the Right MarketsMultifamily Insight Vol 2 just out!

For 50+ hours of property management audio training, 3 books and live weekly leadership academy–surf here

About This Blog:

Multifamily Insight is dedicated to assisting current and future multifamily property owners, operators and investors in executing specific tasks that allow multifamily assets to operate at their highest level of efficiency. We discuss real world issues in multifamily property management and acquisitions. This blog is intended to be informational only and does not provide legal, financial or accounting advice. See

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