Property and real estate managers are responsible for maintaining and increasing the value of real estate investments. They oversee the performance of income-producing residential and commercial properties in order to achieve expected revenues. Properly managed real estate is a source for income and profits so a property manager’s earnings are based on several conditions. The type, size, and location of the property play a role in annual earnings and so does the employer. Over thirty percent of the property managers are employed by property management firms, real estate brokers, and lessors of real estate. Other managers work for government agencies that manage public buildings, real estate development companies, and corporations that have extensive real estate holdings.
The median average earnings for salaried real estate, property and community association managers is around $40,000 a year. The middle fifty percent earn between $29,000 and $60,000 a year and the lowest ten percent earn around $20,000 a year. The highest ten percent earn $90,000 a year plus benefits.*
Property managers employed by corporations and the government earn a medium income based on their responsibilities, but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics managers earn:*
- Property managers employed by local and state government agencies earn around $55,000 a year
- Property managers employed by real estate offices earn over $45,000 a year
- Property managers employed by companies involved in other activities related to real estate earn about $40,370 a year
- Lessors of real estate earn $37,300 a year
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Most managers are reimbursed for the use of their personal vehicles and apartment managers and onsite association managers usually get the use of an apartment or condo as part of their compensation. Land development managers may also earn a small percentage of ownership in the real estate projects they develop.
Job Description and Outlook
Generally speaking property managers handle the day-to-day financial operations of the property which includes leasing space, collecting rent, and ensuring that mortgage payments, taxes, maintenance issues, payroll, and insurance premiums are paid on time. Property managers that focus on community associations also collect dues. Asset property managers prepare financial statements, track occupancy rates, expiration dates of leases, and submit reports about the overall status of the property to owners. In addition to these duties property managers must comply with certain legislation like the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Federal Fair Housing Amendment Act as well as local laws that pertain to rental properties. Managers must understand and ensure that advertising and renting practices are not discriminatory, and they must understand and comply with building codes as well as local, state and federal regulations.
Real estate property managers also negotiate contracts for security, grounds keeping, janitorial, trash, and other services and they monitor the performance of those services. They resolve complaints from tenants and residents and purchase supplies, equipment, and arrange repairs if there’s no maintenance staff. Managers must keep accurate up-to-date income and expense records and submit regular reports to the owner or asset property manager.
The job outlook for real estate property managers is considered good, since the population is aging and the demographic composition of the population continues to shift. More retirement communities and assisted living facilities will be needed to keep up these changes. As the residential real estate market recovers more housing developments will need property managers to oversee common areas and community services. The current trend is to place the management of commercial properties as well as residential communities in the hands of competent property management companies.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Training and Education Requirements
Property management companies expect applicants to have a degree in business administration, finance, accounting, public administration, or real estate. Above average writing, speaking, and computer skills are important and the ability to interact with people tactfully is essential. Some companies offer on-the-job training positions and trainees work their way up through the ranks as assistant property managers and then managers. Some companies look for inexperienced college graduates with a master’s degree in business or finance and then train them to prepare budgets, analyze risk options and insurance policies, collect overdue rents, and market properties to prospective tenants.
Many real estate management companies encourage their managers to attend short-term training and educational programs conducted by various real estate trade associations. No special certification is needed, but property managers are expected to expand their knowledge of property values, business and real estate law, community association risks, tenant relations, accounting and financial concepts, insurance and risk management, and the operation and maintenance of building mechanical systems. Completing these programs, along with some job experience, and a passing score on a written examination will result in a certification by a certain association or organization. Some states do require a real estate license and all managers must adhere to a specific code of ethics.
There are a number of associations that provide information, certification, and educational programs for commercial and residential property managers. Here are four excellent associations:
- Institute of Real Estate Management: www.irem.org
- Building Owners and Managers Institute: www.bomi-edu.org
- Community Associations Institute: www.caionline.org
- National Board of Certification for Community Association Managers: www.nbccam.org