Finally, the world of property management is being recognized as a long-term career path with great opportunities for education, growth, and financial security. Perhaps one of the most rewarding aspects of the Property Management career path is laying to rest old stereotypes of cold, money-focused landlords and emphasizing the new ideals of building strong, vibrant communities. Let’s look at some of the different types of positions that come available, the skills required, and whether or not it is going to be the career path you are seeking.
Why a Career instead of a Job?
Jobs are wonderful things, they bring in an income, keep a roof over our heads, food on the table, and the wolf from the door. But should there be more? If this question has popped into your mind while hitting the old nine-to-five, let’s examine the difference. The obvious difference between the two is a job is immediate, it provides the money you need in the here and now. Whereas a career, in addition to giving you that financial foundation, is a long-term process – a task you build on every day to attain the goals you have set for yourself. A career guides us in personal, professional, and financial growth in the field of your choice. In the world of Property Management, you will not only define your personal goals, but you will also make a difference in the lives of others searching for that wonderful place to call home.
There are also other factors to consider while on your career journey:
- The world we live in changes daily. Change can be driven by technology, society, and, believe it or not, fashion. Even as Property Management evolves, one thing will never change – people need a place to live. As a result, careers in Multi-Family have withstood societal shifts, and recessions, and were considered “essential” during the pandemic lockdown while many others with jobs in the service industries were devastated.
- A career in Property Management can improve your earning potential, increase your levels of responsibility and authority in the organization, and may set you on a defined path up the corporate ladder. Many companies in our industry do not require a specific degree and often will pay for your training as a “Certified Property Manager (CPM)”, as an “Accredited Residential Manager (ARM)” or provide on-site training specific to meet your needs.
- There is an old saying that if you enjoy what you do, it will never feel like you are working. The more satisfaction you receive from your job, the better your overall happiness. A career provides daily challenges and aids in the identification of short- and long-term goals to make your work even more meaningful.
An Industry of Constant Growth
I will share with you a secret; people will always need a place to live. As a result, the demand for multi-Family communities continues to grow. And with it, the demand for those who make an apartment community possible. The careers most often associated with the world of Property Management are:
- Community/Property Manager
- Leasing Associate
- Maintenance Technician
While these three positions are most recognized by our residents, there are other opportunities in the fields of Information Technology, Operations, Logistics, Facilities, Training, Human Relations, and even Legal Counsel. For the purpose of this article, we focus on the responsibilities and requirements for careers as a Property Manager, Leasing Associate, and Maintenance Technician.
Property Managers take on the important role of leadership to ensure that all property operations run smoothly. Property Managers typically work for apartment complexes and housing communities to assist tenants with maintenance requests and oversee the process of preparing properties for new tenants, as well as being, is responsible for securing new residents, creating great living experiences for residents, helping set rents appropriately, and keeping the community looking great. They work closely with Leasing Agents to address tenant issues and changes to rental agreements. Their job is to maintain relationships with local landscaping, plumbing, or electrical services to coordinate routine or emergency requests from tenants. They may also be responsible for performing inspections after tenants leave to make sure they didn’t cause any damage to the property during the time of their lease.
You can expect to:
- Maintain and promote a commitment to customer service from all staff
- Monitor and manage expenditures consistent with the approved budget
- Prepare the first draft of the annual property budget (operating and capital improvements and submit to the Regional Manager.
- Maintain company policies and written directives on-site in an orderly fashion
- Enforce all lease provisions, including the preparation and distribution of all legal notices and other written correspondence with residents.
- Oversee the implementation of all capital improvements approved during the annual budgeting process.
- Schedule and conduct tours to prospective residents as needed
- Become familiar with all online sources of advertising
- Maintain the overall appearance of the leasing office, clubhouse, and property amenities
Skills required for the job:
- Customer service and interpersonal skills needed to meet with prospective and current tenants
- Good verbal communication
- Attention to detail to ensure applications are accurate and tenant issues or questions are adequately addressed
- Organization and the ability to multitask efficiently
- Problem-solving to find effective solutions for a variety of potential issues
- Knowledge of rental contracts and property and anti-discrimination laws
A Leasing Consultant, or Leasing Agent, works with tenants to find potential properties to rent. Their main duties include taking tenants to view different properties, communicating prices and terms to clients, and negotiating sales and renewals. Ultimately, it’s all about leases. Leasing team members are responsible for providing great customer service and closing the sale. They also collaborate with marketing teams to make sure a community is reaching the right audience of potential residents. For creative people who thrive on collaborating, making connections with new people, and closing deals, this is a satisfying line of work.
Skills required for the job:
- High-quality customer service and assist with conflict resolution
- Responsible for basic office administration including data entry, filing, and answering the telephones
- Responding to potential tenant interest for rental properties in-person and via digital platforms
- Showing properties, answering questions, and finalizing terms of leases
- Preparing potential tenant background checks, including reference letters, rental history, income verification, and lease application
- Understand and explain lease documents and leasing qualifications to prospective and current residents
- Establishing tenant expectations for security deposits, procedures for rent, and amenities that will be part of the lease
- Properly executing all terms of a lease and taking needed steps in the case of a defaulting tenant
- Become familiar with all online sources of advertising
- Maintaining the overall appearance of the leasing office, clubhouse, and property amenities
Apartment Maintenance Technician
The Apartment Maintenance Technician is tasked with the important job of keeping the properties and residents’ homes in pristine condition. A maintenance technician at apartment communities is more than a handy person. Sure, they maintain and repair an apartment community's building systems, such as the HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems. But they are also the face of the community. They often interact with residents more than any other team member. Their positive interactions with residents are vital to resident satisfaction and lease renewals. This position is accountable for identifying problems, completing service requests, and making repairs in order to maintain the material and aesthetic condition of the community. The Apartment Maintenance Technician works in accordance with operating and safety standards, ensuring requests and repairs are made in a reliable, timely manner to residents’ satisfaction. This leader anticipates and evaluates potential problems and then proactively develops plans to counter challenges.
What you can expect to accomplish as a Maintenance Technician:
- Provide high-quality customer service for the residents
- Prepare apartment units for the market for new residents
- Verify and inspect completion of contracted work
- Diagnose, and perform minor repairs and routine maintenance as directed, involving but not limited to the following:
- Electrical, air conditioning, and heating systems
- Plumbing to include water lines, boilers, gas and electric
- Water irrigation systems
- Gas fixtures and/or appliances where applicable
- Patios, stairs, railing, and gates
- Interior and exterior lighting fireplaces and ceiling fans
- Interior and exterior doors, shutters, cabinets, windows, and sliding glass doors.
- Door locks and security systems
- Pool cleaning and maintenance where applicable
- Maintain accurate records regarding preventive maintenance, service requests, make-ready status, and work-in-progress status
- Maintain adequate inventory of supplies
- Perform any other tasks as deemed necessary by management
Transitioning an apartment complex into a community does not happen by magic. It takes a team of dedicated, creative, and hardworking people with a deep desire to be a part of helping others find that place they can call “home”. A career in multi-family housing will allow you the opportunity to take on that role.