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Property managers are essential in the real estate industry, supporting other property professionals and residents with a number of duties across planning and maintenance. A recent poll on real estate forum Bigger Pockets found that property managers were the second-most difficult role to fill in real estate, highlighting their value to investors, building owners and real estate agents alike.

So, what does it take to be a property manager? What are the necessary skills and qualifications? And what can you expect to earn if you choose to apply for job in this field? Property Inspect works with over 100,000 property professionals and have conducted research into the role of a property manager in the US.

What is the role of a property manager?

Property managers are expected to know local property and tenancy laws and can ensure a building is up to standard. So, property managers are particularly effective for investors buying property far away from where they live. 

Property manager are be also expected to handle tenant communications, including handling maintenance requests, setting and collecting rent and sourcing new tenants for vacant units.

Within this, property managers may also sit on the board of a building and handle budgeting for the property, including maintenance budget for repairs and cleaning. Real estate managers may also be expected to conduct property inspections, including move-in and move-out inspections and routine property reviews.

The role of property manager requires a wide skillset and a mind for numbers, so that’s important to keep in mind if you’re considering this career.

What qualifications do you need to be a property manager?

If you’re wondering how to become a certified property manager, that will depend on the state you want to work in. Some states require property managers to pass their real estate licensing exam before they can be eligible for the job, while other states don’t have a certification requirement, so it’s important to research your own state’s requirements before you start your job search.

Though there is no specific college course for property management and those with a high school diploma or GED can absolutely get the job, a Bachelor’s or higher in finance, business administration or real estate would set you up well to become a property manager.

Many companies and building owners will also expect experience in the real estate sector, for example agents will have prior experience marketing properties, conducting viewings, working with multifamily property owners and managing lease agreements. 

There are also specialty certifications you can get to boost your employability and demonstrate your understanding of certain fields. These include Certified Apartment Manager, Certified Manager of Community Associations and Residential Management Professional.

How much does the property manager qualifications cost?

Though it’s not always an expectation for real estate managers, getting your real estate license can cost anywhere between $350 and $1,200, including pre-license education and the cost of the actual application and exam.

Other qualifications and their (non-member) costs:

  • Certified Apartment Leasing Professional – $562
  • Certified Apartment Manager – $1,125
  • Certified Manager of Community Associations – $340
  • Certified Property Manager – $7,500-$8,500
  • Residential Management Professional – $245
  • Master Property Manager – $345
  • Before planning any real estate manager qualification applications, spend time researching the requirements of your state and relevant job ads to understand what’s missing from your experience to help you get your first role.

    Property manager salaries in each state

    According to data from Indeed, the average salary for a property manager in the US is $45,819. The Bureau of Labour Statistics states that the national average salary is $54,132, but this will vary from state to state.

    Salaries for property managers are highest in DC, where you can expect to make $52k in the role. Bigger economies like California and New York also pay property managers highly, with the average in both states $49k.

    Overall, salaries range from $41k to $52k and salary will range depending on the size of the building, the expectations of the job and any additional qualifications you may have that help you specialize for the job you’re applying for.

    Real estate manager salaries as a % of average house prices

    While comparing the national average property manager salary with the national average salary overall is an indicator of how property managers compare with other roles, a better perspective on pay would be to compare your salary with housing costs. As a property professional, you’ll want to understand affordability and you’ll also want to have a better understand of your worth in the industry you work in.

    The average property manager salary in the US is equal to almost 13% of the average house. This drops as low as 6% of house prices for California and DC, while it’s as high as 30% in West Virginia. While many homebuyers will be relying on at least two incomes, this is another factor to consider when researching how to become a property manager.

    Property manager salaries as a % of rent in each state

    For the majority of states, the average property manager salary would mean that the average rent would tip way over the typical threshold of 30% of monthly pay. In 33 states, rent is more than 30% of monthly wages, with rent making up over 60% of the average property manager salary in Hawaii.

    While Hawaii’s housing market may be an outlier due to its unique circumstances, rent in California, New Hampshire and New Jersey are also almost 50% of a property manager’s wage, meaning property managers would need to live in cheaper areas of these states to afford the cost of living.

    Full data: Property Manager Salary in each state

    State/AreaProperty Manager SalaryAverage House PriceSalary as % House PricesAverage RentSalary as % Avg Monthly Income
    DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA$52,457$826,1246.35%$1,81541.52%
    NEW HAMPSHIRE$44,557$450,8279.88%$1,79648.37%
    NEW JERSEY$48,054$480,27510.01%$1,93448.30%
    NEW MEXICO$44,032$296,39514.86%$1,20932.95%
    NEW YORK$49,143$375,71913.08%$1,78643.61%
    NORTH CAROLINA$44,845$322,05513.92%$1,22132.67%
    NORTH DAKOTA$44,227$282,46115.66%$85123.09%
    RHODE ISLAND$45,701$443,48210.31%$1,62142.56%
    SOUTH CAROLINA$43,565$293,44514.85%$1,25334.51%
    SOUTH DAKOTA$42,505$292,48814.53%$1,03929.33%
    WEST VIRGINIA$42,638$137,28631.06%$74120.85%

    How much should a property manager get paid?

    If you’re thinking about a job as a real estate manager, it’s important to understand the landscape of the industry so you can make sure you’re making a fair wage for your experience. Take some time looking at relevant job ads in your area to understand what a property manager makes in your city or state and make sure your resume references key talking points in the job ads for the best chance at being picked for interviews.


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