Is Property Management a Real Career?

is property management a real career - apartment properties

Is property management a real career? Well, consider the other careers out there. From high-rise window cleaners to lifeguard response testers who pretend to drown, you can make a career out of almost anything.

If you’re still thinking through careers, you can also check out our article on how to think through a college major or career choice.

We’ve also written articles on other careers you can jump into with just a high school education, covering everything from certified production technician to starting your career as a florist (which we don’t particularly recommend).

Is property management a real career?

Yes, property management is absolutely a real career. A person can work in property management for their whole career, growing in the knowledge and skills that set the best property managers apart from the rest.

Of course, there are downsides which we’ll get to later. One of the biggest hurdles is that it’s harder to find a defined career path in property management, especially one that leads to higher wages.

It is possible to climb the property management ladder working for corporate management firms working with a lot of real estate. For personal property managers, it’s much more likely you’ll have to start your own business to make the big bucks.

How much do property managers make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for Property, Real Estate, and Community Association Managers is $59,230 per year, or $28.47 per hour.

As property managers work at very different scales with very different companies, the actual range can be much higher or lower than $59,230.

The cost of living in your area is another factor that will significantly influence property manager salaries.

The BLS states that property management usually only requires a high school education, and is expected to grow only 3% (below average growth) through 2031.

Is it stressful to be a property manager?

Yes, property management can often be a stressful job, although this can depend a lot on your specific job, clientele, and situation.

Why is it so stressful to be a property manager? Well, there are a few contributing factors. First, property managers are sometimes expected to be available 24/7.

Real emergencies can and do happen, with a gushing water pipe or a fire being two clear examples. Sometimes, the property owner or tenants will consider smaller problems to be emergencies and contact you.

Is there a big spider in the apartment of an arachnophobe? Expect a call in the middle of the night.

Reddit user u/RushingFury shared more insights in a thread on this topic:

“You have to be prepared to become cynical very quickly, as well as develop thick skin FAST. You are hired as the middle man between the owner and the tenants. You get yelled at by both sides when things go wrong.”

It’s also not a job for the faint of heart or faint of nose.

“Be prepared for smells that you might not have ever smelled before. I have seen [high end] properties absolutely trashed and bugs and other things that scamper and crawl all throughout the place.”

Is property management a good career?

Is property management a good career? Well, that depends a lot on what you’re comparing it to. If you already have a degree in engineering, for example, you’ll probably earn more in a more comfortable environment compared to property managers.

However, property management only requires a high school education in most cases, so it’s more fitting to compare it with trades such as carpentry, HVAC, and electrical.

In this sense, property management is a less defined career path, with a good shake of business acumen and (potentially) entrepreneurship thrown in. With that said, it can definitely be a good alternative to other jobs that don’t require a college degree.

If you’re running your own business, the potential to make property management a good career becomes even higher. Your income and profit aren’t limited, and as you scale you can eventually hire staff to handle the actual property management.

Is being a property manager worth it?

There are pros and cons to every career path, so is being a property manager worth it to you? As u/FerociousSGChild shared on Reddit:

“It is definitely not a 9-5, clock in/clock out kind of job. On call is part of the deal in almost every role. Even in more senior roles, you always have to be ready to back up the rest of your team and show up at any hour if needed.”

However, the increased responsibility and on-call nature of the job all influences the supply-demand curve, so there are more opportunities to earn a good salary:

“Pay and ability to move up is excellent if you’re motivated and dedicated.”

Will property management be automated?

With the emergence of property management software and the discouraging growth estimate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some people are asking, “Will property management be automated?”

The answer is no. Property managers will always be needed to provide the human touch as a go-between from landlords to tenants.

Many of the tasks of a property manager are also very physical, such as checking the condition of properties and responding to tenant complaints when maintenance is needed.

While property managers don’t have to do the maintenance themselves, they are still needed to communicate between landlords, tenants, and contractors whenever something needs to be done to the property.

Can property managers work from home?

With the rise in remote work since 2020, many people are asking, “Can property managers work from home?”

While it depends on the situation, yes, property managers can often work from home, as their work often involves responding to communication from either landlords or tenants.

Emails, phone calls, and routine office paperwork can easily be handled from a home office, making remote option very possible for property managers.

However, most property managers will need to do a lot of traveling to the properties they are managing. While your office can be a home office, this is not a job where you stay in the office all of the time, or even most of the time.

Property management is an active job that involves a lot of human connection and interaction, as well as physical aspects of property maintenance.

Why become a property manager?

Why become a property manager? Well, with the on-call nature of the job and plenty of potential to get yelled at, this isn’t a dream job for most people.

Because of that, you can earn a good living as a property management if you work hard, develop the appropriate skills, and display some business acumen in your agreements with landlords.

In short, you become a property manager for the money. Some people who really like to interact and work in active, stressful environments might also find they thrive as property managers.

How to become a property manager?

Plenty of property managers attest to getting their first job without a college degree or relevant experience. However, the chances are much higher if you have relevant skills.

On-site managers are one of the lower levels of the property management food chain, with plenty of stress and opportunities for on-the-job learning.

Maintenance workers for apartments can also look for opportunities to transition into property management.

Particular skills that are useful for property managers are carpentry or any general contracting knowledge or experience. Experience dealing calmly with clients in high-stress environments is also a leg up. If you have retail experience, you’ll want to spin this as a strength in your property management interview.

Finally, a great step-up to property management is to become a leasing consultant, leasing agent, or leasing specialist. As you gain experience, you can work to earn CAM (Certified Apartment Manager) status from the National Apartment Association.

If you do go to college for a property-management related major, look for internships with management and development companies, as this can give you a clear picture of the role while also looking good on your resume.