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What Type of Education Should a Property Manager Have?

March 2, 2022 / by Hignell Property Management Team

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Are you interested in hiring a property manager? If so, you might wonder what educational background a credible residential property manager should. Unlike some professions, there are no universal licensing credentials required to manage property for an investor, but there are plenty of skills to look for to help you find a professional residential or commercial property manager.

College Curricula for Property Management

Even though property management doesn’t require a specific degree, it's a plus if a potential candidate does have a degree. Most property managers in the United States — 51% — have four-year degrees, usually in business, marketing, finance or human resources.

Another 20% of property managers hold two-year associate degrees in related fields or obtain other certifications. Only 12% of property managers have just high school diplomas and only 4% obtained post-graduate degrees.

If you want to hire a property manager with some educational expertise, ask if they've had any experience in the following fields:

  • Public administration
  • Business administration
  • Accounting
  • Real estate
  • Finance

Any courses in marketing and communications are also good to look for because part of a property manager's job is to market your investment property, as well as interact with the property residents.

If you're looking for someone to manage large, commercial properties, having a few semesters in materials management on their résumé is also prudent. Every property manager should also be well-versed in computer operations because they must be adept with multiple software systems for both property management and accounting.

A property manager should have a sound understanding of the Fair Housing Act and employment laws in the state. Failing to follow Fair Housing regulations leaves investors vulnerable to accruing big fines and legal fees and even paying out settlement dollars. By understanding which lapses and pitfalls could lead to violations of state and federal housing regulations, property managers avoid negative repercussions for investors.

Certifications and Other Paths to Property Management

Since a property manager isn't required to have a college degree, look for certifications from certain industry-specific courses.

For example, in California any real estate manager whose job duties include the purchase or sale of any investor's property needs to have a valid real estate license issued by the state.

Not having a real estate license in California doesn’t preclude someone from working as a property manager as long as the property management company also employs a real estate broker to supervise the hands-on unlicensed property managers.

Below are a few groups that offer certifications and designations for property managers:

  • Institute of Real Estate Management
  • BOMI International
  • Community Association Managers International Certification Board
  • Community Associations Institute
  • National Association of Residential Property Managers

To stay up to date in the property management industry, recertification is usually necessary every couple of years.

The Value of Work Experience

University degrees look great on the wall. But the work experience less formally educated property managers bring to the table also has its value. Smaller properties owned by a single investor and rented or leased to multiple residents might be sufficiently staffed with an on-site property manager with only a high school diploma.

For instance, a property management candidate who is proficient at routine maintenance tasks like plumbing, basic carpentry, painting, replacing drywall and changing locks has a skill set that can save lots of money over time for the investor. Successful investors always keep their eyes on the bottom line and want the best ROI possible.

A lack of a degree also indicates that a candidate typically won’t be able to command as high of a salary as a degreed professional would. But that drop in salary can be mitigated by the property manager living on-site at no cost to them. 

What Other Skills Can Enhance Property Managers' Résumés?

All property managers need to have above-average communication skills, both verbal and written, because they need to be able to communicate effectively with various groups of people they encounter daily on the job.

They should also be good leaders who know how to motivate those they supervise. Investors seek out property managers with growth mindsets like their own to reap the most value from their investment properties.New Call-to-action

Topics: Residential Property Management, Commercial Property Management, Investment Property