How to Get Started as a Single-Family Property Manager

February 18, 2024

Perhaps you’re craving more human interaction throughout the day, or maybe you’re just not about that sedentary cubicle life. No matter your reason for seeking a new career, property management is a dynamic, challenging, and rewarding choice. It’s also fairly easy to get started as a property manager— you don’t need specialized degrees or decades of experience.

Here are a few things you will need:

A desire to work with people. Property management is a people-centric role. You’ll be dealing with individuals on a very personal level, often in a very personal place— their home! You’ll have to be ready to handle a wide variety of emotions, from happy to frustrated to sad to excited. A strong commitment to providing quality customer service and making each interaction as positive as possible is important for property managers!

Energy to keep up with fast-paced demands. Things happen fast in the world of property management. You need to be prepared for anything that could come up— whether it’s a long list of maintenance requests, an emergency situation at one of your properties, or a sudden vacancy. The ability to act quickly and be responsive to your tenants’ needs is critical!

Capacity to manage several accounts at once. Not only do things happen quickly, but there can also be a lot of things happening simultaneously. You may feel like you’re being pulled in a million different directions at times, and it’s a property manager’s responsibility to not let anything, no matter how small, go overlooked. It’s important to stay on top of managing your tasks and maintaining great relationships with your tenants by giving each one proper attention and care.

Your first step to becoming a property manager is to check your state licensing requirements.
Most states require either a property management license or a real estate license in order to handle leasing documents. Depending on the type of housing you work in, you may need additional certifications. Some potential certifications you may need include Residential Management Professional, Certified Property Manager, Certified Apartment Manager, Certified Manager of Community Associations, or others. Even if your state doesn’t require additional certifications, having them can make you a more appealing candidate if you’re applying to work at a professional property management firm. Make sure you know beforehand what the requirements are for your state, and what your desired employers are looking for so you can budget appropriately for additional courses.

If you do require some real estate courses, either to obtain proper certification, or to help you stand out to potential employers, there are several options. You can look into full courses or degrees related to real estate, urban planning, business administration, and others! Alternatively, you can check online for a variety of courses to see what fits your budget, schedule, desired qualifications, and timeline.

Once you have all your necessary education and qualifications, you can begin your job search by working to grow your network. Check out local networking events or Meetups you can attend related to real estate and property management to start meeting other industry professionals! As you meet people, make sure you exchange business cards or add them on LinkedIn— and follow up afterward! You can also browse job openings on virtual job boards, LinkedIn, and by following along with newsletters and social media updates from companies you’d like to work for. If you’re struggling to find jobs, you could work on connecting with independent landlords through platforms like Nextdoor or local Facebook communities who own a few investment properties to gain experience as you’re looking for something full time!

Finally, make sure you stay up to date on industry trends! It’s important for property managers to have current insights into the rental market on topics like demographic shifts, emerging technologies, and what your competitors are up to. Keeping an eye on the changing landscape of the rental market in your state will help you stay competitive and continue to grow. If you don’t currently have too many industry insights— don’t worry. Just do some research to orient yourself. Consider turning on Google Alerts so you don’t miss any big news related to property management or the rental market in your state!