Let’s say you own a house. Lucky you. And let’s say you get a job offer you absolutely can’t refuse, but it’s several states away and you have to go now. Even luckier you. But it’s not that easy. The housing market still isn’t what it could be; might take a long time to sell, and you can’t wait around. What do you do with your house?

Well, you just might call a property manager to rent it out. You’ll get an income from the rent that you can put toward your new home, and you don’t have to deal with the headache of your tenants flooding the toilet at 2am.

As far as a career goes, Property Management is a relatively sure thing. Just like morticians and tax collectors, there’s always going to be a need for them. So if you’re looking for a reliable career, here’s how you can become a property manager.


The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) is the professional certifying organization for Property Managers nationally. They award professional certification called the Certified Property Manager (CPM). CPM’s maintain private as well as commercial real estate investments and are responsible to ensure the appreciation of such properties. Training can be had on-the-job or through a degree program with the major of Business or Real Estate.

There are a couple of different paths to certification. IREM requires a bachelor’s or master’s in Real Estate or Property Management for one option; the other option is to take courses offered through the institute itself. Coursework will be in the following:

  • Financial reporting
  • Marketing
  • Property maintenance
  • Real estate terminology
  • Valuation of real estate
  • Investments


The IREM has a 3-step process to attain certification:

  1. application submission plus pledge a code of ethics
  2. complete education requirements
  3. pass a management, ethics and certification exam

Job Expectations

A property manager takes on all the jobs typically associated with a landlord or superintendent, in the actual property owner’s place. So, it’s the property manager’s job to collect rent or HOA dues, hire maintenance workers (or do repairs yourself, if you’re the hands-on type), keep up with city ordinances and regulations to stay in compliance, and, unfortunately, to evict renters who don’t keep up their rent or cause trouble.

Often, property managers oversee many properties, and may have a staff of superintendents, secretaries, and regular handyman or maintenance workers to hire, supervise, and pay. Your day to day work will depend on whether you directly oversee properties yourself, or act as an administrator over the people who directly oversee.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Property Managers with professional certification and a college degree will have the most opportunities in this field. Many people are choosing or forced to rent rather than buy homes as the economy recovers, and a growing elderly population is often choosing retirement homes and active adult facilities rather than deal with the stress of maintaining a home in their old age. All of those social changes mean more renters and more need for property managers.

BLS reports average salary in 2012 was $63,570. States vary considerably; for instance, New York state statistics show Property Managers making a mean salary of $98k! Now you may need to live in a maintenance closet for that gig, as we all know NY rents are some of the highest in the nation!