March 23, 2018
Do you want a career in property management, but don’t know where to begin? Property management is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding professions. It requires you to wear many hats and perform a lot of different services to enhance a property’s value and quality of life for their residents. When hiring new property managers, most property management companies will look for a wide variety of skills. Of course, every company is different. For example, E&S Ring is unique because we train all of our property managers so they are fully in tune with our unique market as well as our corporate culture, communities and standards of service. That said, there is a common set of skills that many of us look for when hiring property managers. Let’s review.
Improving your knowledge through education could increase your chances of getting a job with a property management company. Some companies prefer applicants with a college degree in business, accounting or real estate. Others simply like you to have a CPM (Certified Property Manager), CAM (Certified Apartment Manager) or an ARM (Accredited Residential Manager) certification. The California Apartment Association (CAA) offers its own version: the California Certified Residential Manager program. Many California employers give serious consideration to professionals who have obtained this real estate designation. For many professionals just starting out in property management, the CCRM designation is a signal to potential employers that you are a pre-trained professional in the field. (If you’re not sure if the certificate is for you, you can always take single CAA webinar courses covering a wide range of topics, including maintenance management and compliance with California’s ever-changing Fair Housing laws.) With these types of certificates and degrees, property management companies can be sure that candidates have learned the skills required in this business.
Education is important, but sometimes it’s not enough. If a problem arises with a resident, for example, a property manager will often need to draw on his or her past experience, to calm a situation. Experience preferences vary from company to company, but generally, companies like to see a minimum of two years of previous experience for a property manager. If you’re a fresh graduate, don’t fret though — many companies offer entry level positions such as leasing consultant, resident services specialist, or customer service representative so you can get your feet wet. Just remember: sometimes the most important quality is the desire to succeed!
As a property manager, this is one of the most important skill to possess. At E&S Ring, we particularly place a premium on customer service. In fact, we often recruit leasing and management staff from the hotel, retail, and restaurant industries because we know that they are coming to us with a foundational understanding of customer-based service. Most successful property managers tend to be friendly, understanding, empathic and capable of establishing good relationships with property owners and residents. Good property managers are also responsive, proactive and accountable — which just so happens to be one of our company values! Oh, and don’t forget the importance of flexibility (another one of our core values). Property managers often need to react quickly to residents’ needs and fix problems. And if they can do it with a smile on their face? Even better!
Customer service leads us to another important skill — communication. Often times, a property manager’s job requires him or her to act as a middleman or go-between to property owners, existing residents and/or potential residents. That’s why it’s so important to finesse your oral and written communication skills.
Being a good property manager requires a great deal of organization. You want to make sure property owners and residents are satisfied at all times, as well as ensure that the property under your care is always in good condition. To perform these tasks effectively requires a great deal of organization!
Budgeting is another key skill. When you look at the life cycle of a resident, you must understand all of items that impact their life in their home. It starts with appropriate budgeting and implementing property strategies, to the screening of residents and dealing with conflict both among residents and between the resident and management and finally working effectively with residents who have decided that it is time for them to find another home.
How do you prepare a rental property for leasing before the first applicant arrives? How do you set competitive rents and advertising? What about enhancing curb appeal or staging to appeal to your local demographics? Which websites or syndication sites should you use to list vacant units? As a property manager, it is important to have a basic understanding of marketing strategies and techniques.
One of E&S Ring’s core values is integrity — and we truly believe in it! For a property manager, honesty, transparency and reliability are the best policies. After all, property owners and large property management companies need to be able to entrust their properties to the manager! And likewise, residents need to be able to trust that their property manager is telling the truth. Beyond that, many industry organizations, like CAA and WMFHA (Washington Multi Family Housing Association), promote ethics and standards of good practice for property managers. You’ll need to know how ethics affect the industry, ethics in day-to-day management and how to handle ethical challenges.
This list of skills is not a complete list, by any means. We do hope, however, that it gives you a clearer picture of what most companies look for when hiring a property manager. If you are interested in pursuing a career in Property Management at E&S Ring, please check out our current openings.