Property, real estate, and community association managers take care of the many aspects of residential, commercial, or industrial properties. They make sure the property is well maintained, has a nice appearance, operates smoothly, and preserves its resale value.
Property, real estate, and community association managers typically do the following:
- Meet with prospective renters and show them properties
- Discuss the lease and explain the terms of occupancy or ownership
- Collect monthly fees from tenants or individual owners
- Inspect all building facilities, including the grounds and equipment
- Arrange for new equipment or repairs as needed
- Pay bills or delegate bill payment for such expenditures as taxes, insurance, payroll, and maintenance
- Contract for trash removal, swimming pool maintenance, landscaping, security, and other services
- Investigate and settle complaints, disturbances, and violations
- Keep records of rental activity and owner requests
- Prepare budgets and financial reports
- Avoid discrimination when renting or advertising by knowing and complying with relevant laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Federal Fair Housing Amendment Act, and local fair housing laws
When owners of homes, apartments, office buildings, or retail or industrial properties lack the time or expertise needed for the day-to-day management of their real estate properties, they often hire a property or real estate manager or a community association manager. Managers are employed either directly by the owner or indirectly through a contract with a property management firm.
The following are examples of types of property, real estate, and community association managers:
Property and real estate managers oversee the operation of income-producing commercial or residential properties and ensure that real estate investments achieve their expected revenues. They handle the financial operations of the property, making certain that rent is collected and that mortgages, taxes, insurance premiums, payroll, and maintenance bills are paid on time. They may oversee financial statements, and periodically report to the owners on the status of the property, occupancy rates, expiration dates of leases, and other matters. When vacancies occur, property managers may advertise the property or hire a leasing agent to find a tenant. They may also suggest to the owners what rent to charge.
Community association managers work on behalf of homeowner or community associations to manage the communal property and services of condominiums, cooperatives, and planned communities. Usually hired by a volunteer board of directors of the association, they manage the daily affairs and supervise the maintenance of property and facilities that the homeowners use jointly through the association. Like property managers, community association managers collect monthly fees, prepare financial statements and budgets, negotiate with contractors, and help to resolve complaints. Community association managers also help the board and owners comply with association rules and regulations.
Onsite property managers are responsible for the day-to-day operation of a single property, such as an apartment complex, an office building, or a shopping center. To ensure that the property is well maintained, onsite managers routinely inspect the grounds, facilities, and equipment to determine whether maintenance or repairs are needed. They meet with current tenants to handle requests for repairs or to resolve complaints. They also meet with prospective tenants to show vacant apartments or office space. In addition, onsite managers enforce the terms of rental or lease contracts along with an association’s governing rules. They make sure that tenants pay their rent on time, follow restrictions on parking or pets, and follow the correct procedures when the lease is up. Other important duties of onsite managers include keeping accurate, up-to-date records of income and expenditures from property operations and submitting regular expense reports to the senior-level property manager or the owner(s).
Real estate asset managers plan and direct the purchase, sale, and development of real estate properties on behalf of businesses and investors. They focus on long-term strategic financial planning, rather than on the day-to-day operations of the property. In deciding to acquire property, real estate asset managers consider several factors, such as property values, taxes, zoning, population growth, transportation, and traffic volume and patterns. Once a site is selected, they negotiate contracts to buy or lease the property on the most favorable terms. Real estate asset managers review their company’s real estate holdings periodically and identify properties that are no longer financially profitable. They then negotiate the sale of the properties or arrange for the end of leases.
Property, real estate, and community association managers held about 297,000 jobs in 2012. About half were self-employed.
The industries that employed the most property, real estate, and community association managers in 2012 were as follows:
|Activities related to real estate||21%|
|Lessors of real estate||16|
|Offices of real estate agents and brokers||3|
|Civic, social, professional, and similar organizations||3|
|Local government, excluding education and hospitals||2|
Most property, real estate, and community association managers work out of an office. However, many managers spend much of their time away from their desks. Onsite managers, in particular, may spend a large part of their workday visiting the building engineer, showing apartments, dealing with owners and board members, checking on the janitorial and maintenance staff, or investigating problems reported by residents. Real estate asset managers may spend time away from home while traveling to company real estate holdings or searching for properties to buy.
Managing properties or community associations, or selling and leasing real estate can sometimes be stressful.
Property, real estate, and community association managers often must attend evening meetings with residents, property owners, community association board members, or civic groups. As a result, long hours are common. Some apartment managers are required to live in the apartment complexes where they work, so that they are available to respond to emergencies even when they are off duty.
Most property, real estate, and community association managers work full time.
Although many employers prefer to hire college graduates, a high school diploma or equivalent is enough for some jobs. Some managers receive vocational training. Other managers must have a real estate license.
Many employers prefer to hire college graduates for property management positions, particularly for offsite positions dealing with a property’s finances or contract management. Employers also prefer to hire college graduates to manage residential and commercial properties. A bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration, accounting, finance, real estate, or public administration is preferred for commercial management positions. Managers of commercial properties and those dealing with a property’s finances and contract management increasingly are finding that they need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration, accounting, finance, or real estate management, especially if they do not have much practical experience.
Work Experience in a Related Occupation
Experience in real estate sales is a good background for onsite managers because real estate salespeople also show commercial properties to prospective tenants or buyers.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Real estate managers who buy or sell property must have a real estate license in the state in which they practice. In a few states, property and community association managers must also have a real estate license. Managers of public housing subsidized by the federal government must hold certifications.
Many property, real estate, and community association managers obtain professional certification showing competence and professionalism. For example, the BOMI International, the Community Associations Institute, the Institute of Real Estate Management, the National Association of Residential Property Managers, and the Community Association Managers International Certification Board all offer various designations, certifications, and professional development courses.
Often, employers require managers to attend formal training programs from various professional and trade real estate associations. Employers send managers to these programs to develop their management skills and expand their knowledge of specialized fields, such as how to operate and maintain mechanical systems in buildings, how to improve property values, insurance and risk management, personnel management, business and real estate law, community association risks and liabilities, tenant relations, communications, accounting and financial concepts, and reserve funding. Managers also participate in these programs to prepare themselves for positions of greater responsibility in property management. With related job experience, completing these programs and receiving a satisfactory score on a written exam can lead to certification or the formal award of a professional designation by the sponsoring association.
Obtaining these certifications also can help in getting a job.
Many people begin property management careers as assistant managers, working closely with a property manager. In time, many assistants advance to property manager positions.
Some people start as onsite managers of apartment buildings, office complexes, or community associations. As they gain experience, they may advance to positions of greater responsibility. Those who excel as onsite managers often transfer to assistant offsite property manager positions, in which they gain experience handling a broad range of property management responsibilities.
The responsibilities and pay of property, real estate, and community association managers increase as these workers manage more and larger properties. Property managers are often responsible for several properties at a time. Some experienced managers open their own property management firms.
Customer-service skills. Property, real estate, and community association managers must provide excellent customer service to keep existing clients and expand their business with new ones.
Interpersonal skills. Because property, real estate, and community association managers interact with people every day, they must have excellent interpersonal skills.
Listening skills. Property, real estate, and community association managers must listen to and understand residents and property owners in order to meet their needs.
Organizational skills. Property, real estate, and community association managers must be able to plan, coordinate, and direct multiple contractors at the same time, often for multiple properties.
Problem-solving skills. Property, real estate, and community association managers must be able to mediate disputes or legal issues between residents, homeowners, or board members.
Speaking skills. Property, real estate, and community association managers must understand leasing or rental contracts and must be able to clearly explain the materials and answer questions raised by a resident or group of board members.
The median annual wage for property, real estate, and community association managers was $52,610 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,600, and the top 10 percent earned more than $113,400.
In May 2012, the median annual wages for property, real estate, and community association managers in the top five industries in which these managers worked were as follows:
|Local government, excluding education and hospitals||$61,320|
|Offices of real estate agents and brokers||53,600|
|Activities related to real estate||50,700|
|Lessors of real estate||48,430|
|Civic, social, professional, and similar organizations||43,990|
Property, real estate, and community association managers often must attend evening meetings with residents, property owners, community association board members, or civic groups. As a result, long hours are common. Some apartment managers are required to live in the apartment complexes where they work, so that they are available to handle emergencies even when they are off duty.
Most property, real estate, and community association managers work full time. Many apartment managers get time off during the week so that they can show apartments to prospective renters on weekends, the most popular time for such showings.
Employment of property, real estate, and community association managers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Employment will grow because more people will live in the buildings that property management companies operate, such as apartment buildings, condominiums, cooperatives, planned communities, and senior housing. Increasingly, new developments provide community services and have jointly owned common areas that are professionally managed by community or homeowner associations.
In addition, property owners are becoming increasingly aware that property management firms help make properties more profitable and improve the resale value of homes and commercial property.
Job opportunities should be best for those with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, real estate, or a related field and for those with professional certification.
Because of the projected increase in the elderly population, particularly good job opportunities are expected for those with experience managing housing for older people and with experience managing healthcare facilities.
For information about professional designation and certification programs for property, real estate, and community association managers, visit