Property management is a good career choice, but here are a few things to consider first.
If you have been thinking of applying for a job as a property manager, rest assured it is a good career choice. With a degree and/or some management related experience, it is fairly easy to find a job in the field. Plus, the United States Bureau of Labor predicts average growth in this sector, which means job security if you pursue this career, not to mention plenty of advancement opportunities in the future.
A property manager job isn't a walk in the park, however. There are some unique challenges that go with this career. Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding on a job as a property manager.
You will have to do a little of everything... or at least be able to hire and oversee a contractor who can do it.
A property manager does exactly what it sounds like: manages the property. ALL aspects of the property, that is -- you will be in charge of everything from property finances to legal issues, property maintenance to customer service.
That is not to say that you will have to do all of these things yourself; as the job title implies, you will simply have to manage all of these things. With some tasks, such as showing a unit or contacting a resident about late rent, you may have to do it yourself. With others, such as maintenance and repairs or bookkeeping, you may simply need to hire and oversee a contractor who will do the work. But even if you don't do the work yourself, you will need the wherewithal to be able to juggle all of these dramatically different aspects of running a property.
You will need to work some strange hours... but you'll get some weekday time off to compensate.
One of the drawbacks of working as a property manager is that you will usually need to be available during odd hours. Most people work fairly regular schedules, so evenings and weekends will probably be when you will show the property the most. Plus, emergencies can and will happen after normal office hours, and as property management you will need to be available during those times.
The bright side is that you should have some time off during weekdays, when everyone else is working, to compensate for your nontraditional work schedule. This allows you to do certain personal tasks -- such as get an oil change in your car -- during the day, when places are less busy.
You will work out of an office... but you will spend a lot of time out of it, too.
Working in an office is a benefit for some people and a drawback for others, so you may or may not think it is good news that you won't spend all your time in that office. While many of your tasks, such as managing the property finances, take place primarily in the office, you will also be doing things (such as inspecting or showing the property) that take you out of the office. If you worry about getting bored while sitting in an office all day, this will sound like really good news to you. If, however, you like a more sedentary job, this might be a reason to reconsider your career choice.
You may need a degree and/or some prior experience... but you will get a lot of your career training on the job, and you'll find there is a lot of room for advancement.
Whether the property is owned by a company or an individual, most of the time they will want their property manager to have a bachelor's degree -- but that is not always the case. Work experience in a similar job -- something that will have given you the skills needed to run a property -- can also give you a leg up when applying for a property manager position. Think about how your experience and skills will benefit you in this new job. For instance, if you have worked in management, finance, or building maintenance, moving up into property management may not be a stretch of the imagination by any means.
Once you get the job, there is a lot of potential for on-the-job training and advancement. For instance, you might start out as an assistant manager, which will give you the experience you need to move up later. Many companies will also help you to take training classes that will benefit you in your new career. As you gain more experience, you will be able to get jobs managing larger and more expensive properties, which ultimately means larger salaries for you.
You will be busy... but you will also be pretty well paid.
Property manager jobs aren't millionaires, but they aren't McDonald's employees either. According to the United States Department of Labor, the median salary for property managers is $46,130, with half of those in the U.S. earning between $31,730 and $68,770. Many property managers, such as those who manage apartment complexes, are also often given free rent on their apartment and/or compensated for use of their car in addition to their salary.
The drawback is that you will earn every penny of that salary (and the free rent). Property managers are generally very busy, and you may find yourself putting in overtime in order to deal with emergencies and complete everything that needs done on a daily basis. Don't be surprised if you find your office understaffed, either -- that is a common problem plaguing the industry, and will only increase the workload you are expected to do.
Is a Property Management Job Right for You?
Working as a property manager is obviously not a walk in the park, but it does have its perks. Before starting a career in this industry, you will need to seriously ask yourself if you are cut out for a job like this. Can you do a good job of managing the financial aspects of running the property, making sure that residents pay their rent and contractors get their fees? Can you handle an emergency at the worst possible time, or are you likely to buckle under the stress? Be honest as you ask yourself these questions, and you will be better able to make a good career choice.
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