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What Property, Real Estate, and Community Association Managers Do About this section

Property and community association managers
Onsite managers often show apartments.

Property, real estate, and community association managers take care of the many aspects of residential, commercial, or industrial properties. They make sure the property is well maintained, has a nice appearance, operates smoothly, and preserves its resale value.

Duties

Property, real estate, and community association managers typically do the following:

  • Meet with prospective renters and show them properties
  • Discuss the lease and explain the terms of occupancy or ownership
  • Collect monthly fees from tenants or individual owners
  • Inspect all building facilities, including the grounds and equipment
  • Arrange for new equipment or repairs as needed
  • Pay bills or delegate bill payment for such expenditures as taxes, insurance, payroll, and maintenance
  • Contract for trash removal, maintenance, landscaping, security, and other services
  • Investigate and settle complaints, disturbances, and violations
  • Keep records of rental activity and owner requests
  • Prepare budgets and financial reports
  • Comply with anti-discrimination laws when renting or advertising, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Federal Fair Housing Amendment Act, and local fair housing laws

When owners of homes, apartments, office buildings, or retail or industrial properties lack the time or expertise needed for the day-to-day management of their real estate properties, they often hire a property or real estate manager or a community association manager. Managers are employed either directly by the owner or indirectly through a contract with a property management firm.

The following are examples of types of property, real estate, and community association managers:

Property and real estate managers oversee the operation of income-producing commercial or residential properties and ensure that real estate investments achieve their expected revenues. They handle the financial operations of the property, making certain that rent is collected and that mortgages, taxes, insurance premiums, payroll, and maintenance bills are paid on time. They may oversee financial statements, and periodically report to the owners on the status of the property, occupancy rates, expiration dates of leases, and other matters. When vacancies occur, property managers may advertise the property or hire a leasing agent to find a tenant. They may also suggest to the owners what rent to charge.

Community association managers work on behalf of homeowner or community associations to manage the communal property and services of condominiums, cooperatives, and planned communities. Usually hired by a volunteer board of directors of the association, they manage the daily affairs and supervise the maintenance of property and facilities that the homeowners use jointly through the association. Like property managers, community association managers collect monthly fees, prepare financial statements and budgets, negotiate with contractors, and help to resolve complaints. Community association managers also help homeowners and non-owner residents comply with association rules and regulations.

Onsite property managers are responsible for the day-to-day operation of a single property, such as an apartment complex, an office building, or a shopping center. To ensure that the property is well maintained, onsite managers routinely inspect the grounds, facilities, and equipment to determine whether maintenance or repairs are needed. They meet with current tenants to handle requests for repairs or to resolve complaints. They also meet with prospective tenants to show vacant apartments or office space. In addition, onsite managers enforce the terms of rental or lease contracts along with an association’s governing rules. They make sure that tenants pay their rent on time, follow restrictions on parking or pets, and follow the correct procedures when the lease is up. Other important duties of onsite managers include keeping accurate, up-to-date records of income and expenditures from property operations and submitting regular expense reports to the senior-level property manager or the owner(s).

Real estate asset managers plan and direct the purchase, sale, and development of real estate properties on behalf of businesses and investors. They focus on long-term strategic financial planning, rather than on the day-to-day operations of the property. In deciding to acquire property, real estate asset managers consider several factors, such as property values, taxes, zoning, population growth, transportation, and traffic volume and patterns. Once a site is selected, they negotiate contracts to buy or lease the property on the most favorable terms. Real estate asset managers review their company’s real estate holdings periodically and identify properties that are no longer financially profitable. They then negotiate the sale of the properties or arrange for the end of leases.

Work Environment About this section

Property and community association managers
Property, real estate, and community association managers must interact with clients every day.

Property, real estate, and community association managers held about 367,900 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of property, real estate, and community association managers were as follows:

Real estate 49%
Self-employed workers 38
Civic, social, professional, and similar organizations 2

Most property, real estate, and community association managers work out of an office. However, many managers spend much of their time away from their desks. Onsite managers, in particular, may spend a large part of their workday visiting the building engineer, showing apartments, dealing with owners and board members, checking on the janitorial and maintenance staff, or investigating problems reported by residents. Real estate asset managers may spend time away from home while traveling to company real estate holdings or searching for properties to buy.

Managing properties or community associations, or selling and leasing real estate, can sometimes be stressful.

Work Schedules

Property, real estate, and community association managers often attend evening meetings with residents, property owners, community association board members, or civic groups. As a result, long workdays are common. Some apartment managers are required to live in the apartment complexes where they work, so that they are available to respond to emergencies even when they are off duty.

Most property, real estate, and community association managers work full time.

How to Become a Property, Real Estate, or Community Association Manager About this section

Property and community association managers
A high school diploma combined with several years of related work experience is typically required for entry-level positions.

Although many employers prefer to hire college graduates, a high school diploma combined with several years of related work experience is typically required for entry-level positions. Some managers also must have a real estate license.

Education

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most onsite property management positions. However, many employers prefer to hire college graduates for commercial management positions and offsite positions dealing with a property’s finances or contract management. A bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration, accounting, finance, real estate, or public administration is preferred for these types of positions.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Property, real estate, and community association managers typically have several years of prior work experience. Experience in real estate sales is a good background for onsite managers because real estate salespeople also show commercial properties to prospective tenants or buyers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Real estate managers who buy or sell property must have a real estate license in the state in which they practice. In a few states, property and community association managers also must have a real estate license. Managers of public housing subsidized by the federal government must hold certifications.

Property, real estate, and community association managers working in Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, Virginia, and the District of Columbia are required to obtain professional credentials or licensure. Requirements vary by state, but many managers working in states without requirements still obtain designations to show competence and professionalism. BOMI International, the Community Associations Institute, the Institute of Real Estate Management, the National Association of Residential Property Managers, and the Community Association Managers International Certification Board all offer various designations, certifications, and professional development courses. Most states require recertification every 2 years.

In addition, employers may require managers to attend formal training programs from various professional and trade real estate associations. Employers send managers to these programs to develop their management skills and expand their knowledge of specialized fields, such as how to operate and maintain mechanical systems in buildings, how to improve property values, insurance and risk management, personnel management, business and real estate law, community association risks and liabilities, tenant relations, communications, accounting and financial concepts, and reserve funding. Managers also participate in these programs to prepare themselves for positions of greater responsibility in property management. With related job experience, completing these programs and receiving a satisfactory score on a written exam can lead to certification or the formal award of a professional designation by the sponsoring association.

Advancement

Many people begin property management careers as assistant managers, working closely with a property manager. In time, many assistants advance to property manager positions.

Some people start as onsite managers of apartment buildings, office complexes, or community associations. As they gain experience, they may advance to positions of greater responsibility. Those who excel as onsite managers often transfer to assistant offsite property manager positions, in which they gain experience handling a broad range of property management responsibilities.

The responsibilities and pay of property, real estate, and community association managers increase as these workers manage more and larger properties. Property managers are often responsible for several properties at a time. Some experienced managers open their own property management firms.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Property, real estate, and community association managers must understand leasing or rental contracts and must be able to clearly explain the materials and answer questions raised by a resident or group of board members.

Customer-service skills. Property, real estate, and community association managers must provide excellent customer service to keep existing clients and expand their business with new ones.

Interpersonal skills. Because property, real estate, and community association managers interact with people every day, they must have excellent interpersonal skills.

Listening skills. Property, real estate, and community association managers must listen to and understand residents and property owners in order to meet their needs.

Organizational skills. Property, real estate, and community association managers must be able to plan, coordinate, and direct multiple contractors at the same time, often for multiple properties.

Problem-solving skills. Property, real estate, and community association managers must be able to mediate disputes or legal issues between residents, homeowners, or board members.

Pay About this section

Property, Real Estate, and Community Association Managers

Median annual wages, May 2020

Other management occupations

$95,180

Property, real estate, and community association managers

$59,660

Total, all occupations

$41,950

 

The median annual wage for property, real estate, and community association managers was $59,660 in May 2020. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $31,330, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $134,570.

In May 2020, the median annual wages for property, real estate, and community association managers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Civic, social, professional, and similar organizations $59,960
Real estate 57,410

Property, real estate, and community association managers often attend evening meetings with residents, property owners, community association board members, or civic groups. As a result, long workdays are common. Some apartment managers are required to live in the apartment complexes where they work, so that they are available to respond to emergencies even when they are off duty.

Most property, real estate, and community association managers work full time.

Job Outlook About this section

Property, Real Estate, and Community Association Managers

Percent change in employment, projected 2019-29

Total, all occupations

4%

Other management occupations

3%

Property, real estate, and community association managers

0%

 

Employment of property, real estate, and community association managers is projected to show little or no change from 2019 to 2029.

Employment demand will be driven by the number people living in buildings that property management companies operate, such as apartment buildings, condominiums, cooperatives, planned communities, and senior housing.  

Growth in the single-family housing market may have a positive influence on demand, as some new housing developments will require property managers to oversee jointly owned common areas, such as pools, gyms, and business centers and to enforce homeowner association laws. However, the automation of some property management tasks, such as posting vacancies and assigning maintenance requests, may slow employment growth.

Job Prospects

Job opportunities should be best for those with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, real estate, or a related field and for those with professional certification.

Because of the projected increase in the elderly population, particularly good job opportunities are expected for those with experience managing retirement centers, age-restricted communities, and healthcare facilities.

Employment projections data for property, real estate, and community association managers, 2019-29
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2019 Projected Employment, 2029 Change, 2019-29 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Property, real estate, and community association managers

11-9141 367,900 368,700 0 800 Get data

Contacts for More Information About this section

For information about professional designation and certification programs for property, real estate, and community association managers, visit

BOMI International

Community Associations Institute

Community Association Managers International Certification Board

Institute of Real Estate Management

National Association of Residential Property Managers

O*NET

Property, Real Estate, and Community Association Managers

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