If you would like to learn how to become a property manager, it’s good to first get an idea of what the requirements are. The demand for property managers is increasing as the vacation rental industry grows every year. Some benefits of being a vacation rental property manager include a potentially higher monthly rate than residential managers and flexible working hours.
Read on to discover more about what property managers do, how much they earn, and how you can get certified to manage vacation rental properties.
Before choosing property management as a career path, it’s important to understand what your role and key responsibilities would be. As a short-term rental manager, you will be responsible for managing your clients’ vacation rentals.
After you have completed the required training for how to become a property manager, your day-to-day responsibilities will include:
Depending on the range of services you decide to offer, you may be expected to do more in addition to the tasks above.
Although it might sound like a busy job with many demands, it’s possible to become a good property manager with the right planning and motivation. Read on to learn the practical steps required for becoming a property manager.
The industry average for what property managers make annually depends on the following:
Online data shows that managers in an entry-level position with only a high school diploma can expect to earn around $30,000.00 per year. In comparison, a qualified entry-level manager will earn around $40,000.00 per year.
Someone with several years of experience in a property manager job will likely earn around $55-$57,000.00 a year.
On average, property managers in the US earn around $45-$50,000.00 per year. Keep in mind that these figures can increase or decrease based on current events.
The first step of learning how to become a property manager is understanding what your state’s legal requirements are for becoming qualified to manage properties. The legal and licensing requirements you will need to follow will vary depending on which state you live in. Many states require you to first get a real estate broker’s license, while other states only require a property manager’s license.
There are some states where managers are not required to obtain any qualifications. In these states, it is possible to start working as a property manager without any qualification, but you may have difficulty competing against more qualified managers.
As mentioned above, you will either need a real estate broker’s license or a property manager’s license (some states require both) to be a property manager. Even if your state does not have any specific legal requirements, it’s still a good idea to get continuing education in property management. Getting certified will set you apart from your competitors.
There are two possible options you can look at when deciding how to become a property manager: formal training for legal licensing and specialized certification.
Double-check what the requirements are at your state’s real estate commission before deciding which option to take. Also make sure you know the requirements of a certification you want, as some certification courses may require you to have a broker’s license to apply.
Real estate college degree: Consider enrolling in a class-based or online college for a bachelor’s or master’s degree in real estate or business administration. Learning how to become a property manager through formal college training will establish you as an expert in the property management field. Your skills will also likely be more sought-after by property management companies and clients.
Real estate license: If going back to college full-time is not an option for you, you still need to obtain a broker’s license in real estate. States typically require 60 – 90 hours of theory on real estate management from a college or from an approved real estate licensing school.
Once you have completed your pre-licensing education, you can apply to take your licensing exam. Ensure you study comprehensively in order to pass the exam. After you pass, you can file a real estate license application to receive your broker’s license. You will then be legally qualified to practice as a real estate agent or property manager.
Property management license: If you require a property management license, you will still need to enroll in training to obtain it. The process for receiving a PML is similar to the one you follow to get a real estate broker’s license. You will be required to study the necessary pre-licensing coursework detailing how to become a property manager. You will then need to take and pass an exam, before applying for a formal property management license.
If your state has no legal requirements, then an option for learning how to become a property manager is to get a management certification. Property management licenses are issued by the state, while certifications are issued by various real estate property management associations, such as the IREM. Certifications are not legal requirements, but they add value to your resume and give you a competitive edge.
Some well-known certifications include:
Residential Management Professional (RMP) Certification issued by the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM).
Certified Property Manager (CPM) Certification issued by the Institution of Real Estate Management (IREM).
Certified Apartment Manager (CAM) Certification issued by the National Apartment Association (NAA).
After you have received your qualification, you can start mapping out your professional and business goals.
First, you need to decide what you want to achieve in your management career. Are you aiming to join a management firm, or do you want to start your own business? If you want to run a management business, will you be working alone or will you hire staff to assist you?
Think about the short and long-term goals you want to achieve after you’ve learned how to become a property manager. You may only want to manage two or three clients now as you start out, but how many clients would you like to have in five years’ time? Do you want to be working full-time as a property manager or eventually transition to part-time, and have employees run your business for you?
Once you have clear goals set, you can decide what strategies and techniques you should be implementing to turn your business objectives into achievable goals.
Once you have your goals clearly defined, the next important step is deciding what strategies you will use to ensure your business runs smoothly:
You will also need to determine who your competitors are, and what they charge for their services. How will you determine your monthly rate, and what strategies will you use for pricing the rentals you manage?
Part of discovering how to become a property manager is learning what management systems and procedures to put in place for overseeing operations. To prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed or working around the clock, consider using vacation rental software, like iGMS to automate tasks.
iGMS helps managers run their businesses on autopilot with features like automated messaging; a unified inbox; channel manager; cleaning and team management, and a lot more. It also offers native integration with Airbnb, platforms from the Vrbo/HomeAway family, and Booking.com (in beta).
By automating these essential tasks, you can rest assured that your business is still running even when you’re offline and focusing on other matters.
Becoming savvy in digital marketing is essential when learning how to become a property manager. You won’t just be marketing your clients’ properties, you will also need to market your own services online! When it comes to online marketing, your goal is to outperform your competition and attract the right audience. To successfully market online make sure that you:
If you want to enhance your knowledge of handy marketing tactics, check out our dedicated guide for vacation rental hosts.
The final step in discovering how to become a property manager is learning where to find clients and build a good working reputation. You may feel unsure about how and where to find your first clients when you start out as a manager.
One resource that connects Airbnb hosts with property managers is called the Cohost Market. Managers sign up to register profiles on the site, and from there hosts can seek managers and vice versa. If you are looking to manage Airbnb vacation rentals, this would be a good option.
If you’re looking to manage rentals on other hosting platforms as well, there are social media forums and communities online where you can market your business services. Once you have found your first clients, you can use things like referral programs and positive client reviews to attract more business.
Always remember to keep a professional, but friendly tone in your marketing and communications with clients. They want to know that a real person is managing their properties, not just a brand image.
It’s fine to be honest if you have just learned how to be a property manager and only recently joined the industry. Let hosts know this and, perhaps, offer a lower monthly rate until you gain more experience. As long as you can demonstrate that you’re qualified to do the job, most hosts will not mind and will even appreciate the lower fees.
Although it might seem like a long road ahead when you begin, learning how to become a property manager is well worth the time and effort. With careful research, planning, and perseverance you can become a certified property manager running your own management business.