|98-99 Handbook Contents...||UMSL Govt. Docs...||UMSL Libraries...||UMSL Home...|
Nature of the Work
* Most persons enter the occupation as an on-site manager of an apartment complex, condominium, or community association, or as an assistant manager at a large property management company. Opportunities should be best for persons with college degrees in business administration and related fields.
* About 40 percent were self-employed, over twice the average for other executive, administrative, and managerial occupations.
Many people own real estate in the form of a home. To businesses and investors, however, properly managed real estate is a potential source of income and profits rather than simply a place for shelter. For this reason, property managers perform an important function in increasing and maintaining the value of real estate investments for investors. In general, property managers oversee the performance of income-producing commercial and residential properties or manage the communal property and services of condominium and community associations.
Most property managers work in the field of property management. When owners of apartments, office buildings, retail, or industrial properties lack the time or expertise needed for the day-to-day management of their real estate investments, they often hire a property manager, either directly or by contracting with a property management company.
Property managers handle the financial operations of the property, seeing to it that mortgages, taxes, insurance premiums, payroll, and maintenance bills are paid on time. They also supervise the preparation of financial statements and periodically report to the owners on the status of the property, occupancy rates, dates of lease expirations, and other matters.
If necessary, property managers negotiate contracts for janitorial, security, groundskeeping, trash removal, and other services. When contracts are awarded competitively, managers must solicit bids from several contractors and recommend to the owners which bid to accept. They monitor the performance of the contractors, and investigate and resolve complaints from residents and tenants when services are not properly provided. Managers also purchase supplies and equipment needed for the property, and make arrangements with specialists for any repairs that cannot be handled by the regular property maintenance staff.
On top of these duties, property managers must understand the provisions of legislation, such as the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Federal Fair Housing Amendment Act, as well as local fair housing laws, to be sure their renting and advertising practices are not discriminatory.
On-site property managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations for one piece of property, such as an office building, shopping center, or apartment complex. To insure the property is safe and being maintained properly, on-site managers routinely inspect the grounds, facilities, and equipment to determine what repairs are needed. They meet not only with current residents (when handling requests for repairs or trying to resolve complaints, for example), but also show vacant apartments or office space to prospective residents or tenants and explain the occupancy terms. On-site managers are also responsible for enforcing the terms of the rental or lease agreement, such as rent collection, parking and pet restrictions, and termination-of-lease procedures.
Other important duties of on-site managers include keeping accurate, up-to-date records of income and expenditures from property operations and the submission of regular expense reports to the property manager or owners.
The work of property managers who do not work on-site is similar to that of on-site managers, except that most of these managers are responsible for multiple properties and supervise on-site personnel. They act as a liaison between the on-site manager and the owner. They also market vacant space to prospective tenants through the use of a leasing agent, advertising, or by other means, and establish rental rates in accordance with prevailing local conditions.
Some property managers, termed real estate asset managers, act as the property owners' agent and adviser for the property. They plan and direct the purchase, development, and disposition of real estate on behalf of businesses and investors. These managers are involved in long-term strategic financial planning rather than the day-to-day operations of the property.
When looking to acquire property, real estate asset managers take several factors into consideration, such as property values, taxes, zoning, population growth, and traffic volume and patterns. Once a site is selected, they negotiate contracts for the purchase or lease of the property, securing the most beneficial terms.
Real estate asset managers periodically review their company's real estate holdings, identifying properties that are no longer commercially attractive. They then negotiate the sale or termination of the lease of properties selected for disposal.
The work of property managers employed by condominium and homeowner associations, often known as community association managers, is different than that of other property managers. Instead of renters, they interact on a daily basis with homeownersmembers of the community association that employs the manager. Hired by the volunteer board of directors of the association, the community association manager administers daily affairs and oversees the maintenance of property and facilities that the homeowners own and use jointly through the association. Smaller community associations usually cannot afford professional management, but managers of larger condominiums or homeowner associations have many of the same responsibilities as the managers of large apartment complexes. Some homeowner associations encompass thousands of homes, and, in addition to administering the associations' financial records and budget, their managers are responsible for the operation of community pools, golf courses, community centers, and the maintenance of landscaping, parking areas, and streets. Other responsibilities usually include meeting with the elected boards of directors to discuss and solve legal and environmental issues and aiding in resolving disputes between neighbors.
Property managers who work for land development companies acquire land and plan the construction of shopping centers, houses and apartments, office buildings, or industrial parks. They negotiate with representatives of local government, other businesses, community and public interest groups, and public utilities to eliminate obstacles to the development of the land and gain support for the planned project. It sometimes takes years to win approval for a project, and in the process managers may have to modify the plans for the project many times. Once they are free to proceed with a project, managers negotiate short-term loans to finance the construction of the project, and later negotiate long-term permanent mortgage loans. They then contract with architectural firms to draw up detailed plans, and with construction companies to build the project.
Offices of most property managers are clean, modern, and well-lighted. Many spend a major portion of their time away from their desks, however. On-site managers in particular may spend a large portion of their workday away from their office visiting the building engineer in the boiler room, showcasing apartments, checking on the janitorial and maintenance staff, or investigating problems reported by tenants. Property managers frequently visit the properties they oversee, sometimes on a daily basis when contractors are doing major repair or renovation work. Real estate asset managers may spend time away from home while traveling to company real estate holdings or searching for properties that might be acquired.
Property managers often must attend meetings in the evening with residents, property owners, community association boards of directors, or civic groups. Not surprisingly, many property managers put in long work weeks. Some apartment managers are required to live in the apartment complexes where they work so they are available to handle any emergency that occurs while they are off duty. They usually receive compensatory time off, however, for working at night or on weekends. Many apartment managers receive time off during the week so that they are available on weekends to show apartments to prospective residents.
Property managers held about 271,000 jobs in 1996. Most worked for real estate operators and lessors or for property management firms. Others worked for real estate development companies, government agencies that manage public buildings, and corporations with extensive holdings of commercial properties. About 4 out of 10 property managers were self-employed, and over a quarter worked part time. Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement
Most employers prefer to hire college graduates for property management positions. Degrees in business administration, finance, real estate, public administration, or related fields are preferred, but persons with degrees in the liberal arts are often accepted. Good speaking, writing, and financial skills, as well as an ability to deal tactfully with people, are essential in all areas of property management.
Most persons enter property management as an on-site manager of an apartment complex, condominium, or community association, or as an assistant manager at a large property management company. As they acquire experience working under the direction of a property manager, they may advance to positions with greater responsibility at larger properties. Persons who excel as on-site managers often transfer to assistant property manager positions where they can acquire experience handling a broader range of property management responsibilities.
Previous employment as a real estate agent may be an asset to on-site managers because it provides experience useful in showing apartments or office space and dealing with people, as well as an understanding that an attractive, well-maintained property can command higher rental rates and result in lower turnover among tenants. In the past, many persons with backgrounds in building maintenance have advanced to on-site manager positions on the strength of their knowledge of building mechanical systems, but this is becoming less common as employers are placing greater emphasis on administrative, financial, and communication abilities for managerial jobs.
Although most persons who enter jobs as assistant property managers do so on the strength of on-site management experience, employers are increasingly hiring inexperienced college graduates with bachelor's or master's degrees in business administration, finance, or real estate for these jobs. Assistants work closely with a property manager and acquire experience performing a variety of management tasks, such as preparing the budget, analyzing insurance coverage and risk options, marketing the property to prospective tenants, and collecting overdue rent payments. In time, many assistants advance to property manager positions.
The responsibilities and compensation of property managers increase as they manage larger properties. Most property managers are responsible for several properties at a time, and as their careers advance they are gradually entrusted with properties that are larger or whose management is more complex. Many specialize in the management of one type of property, such as apartments, office buildings, condominiums, cooperatives, homeowner associations, or retail properties. Managers who excel at marketing properties to tenants may specialize in managing new properties, while those who are particularly knowledgeable about buildings and their mechanical systems might specialize in the management of older properties that require renovation or more frequent repairs. Some experienced property managers open their own property management firms.
Persons most commonly enter real estate asset manager jobs by transferring from positions as property managers or real estate brokers. Real estate asset managers must be good negotiators, adept at persuading and handling people, and good at analyzing data to assess the fair market value of property or its development potential. Resourcefulness and creativity in arranging financing are essential for managers who specialize in land development.
Attendance at short-term formal training programs conducted by various professional and trade associations active in the real estate field is often encouraged. Employers send managers to these programs to improve their management skills and expand their knowledge of specialized subjects, such as the operation and maintenance of building mechanical systems, enhancing property values, insurance and risk management, personnel management, business and real estate law, resident/tenant relations, communications, and accounting and financial concepts. Managers also participate in these programs to prepare themselves for positions of greater responsibility in property management. Completion of these programs, together with meeting job experience standards and achieving a satisfactory score on a written examination, leads to certification, or the formal award of a professional designation, by the sponsoring association. In addition to these qualifications, some associations require their members to adhere to a specific code of ethics. Some of the organizations that offer such programs are listed at the end of this statement.
Managers of public housing subsidized by the Federal Government are required to be certified, but many property managers who work with all types of property choose to earn a professional designation voluntarily because it represents formal industry recognition of their achievements and status in the occupation.
Employment of property managers is projected to increase as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2006. In addition to rising demand for these workers, many job openings are expected to occur as property managers transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Opportunities should be best for persons with college degrees in business administration, real estate, and related fields, as well as those who attain professional designations.
Growth in the demand for property managers will be evident in several areas. In commercial real estate, the demand for managers is expected to coincide with the projected expansion in wholesale and retail trade; finance, insurance, and real estate; and services. Some additional employment growth will come from adding on to existing buildings.
An increase in the Nation's stock of apartments and houses also should require more property managers. Developments of new homes are increasingly being organized with community or homeowner associations that provide community services and oversee jointly owned common areas, requiring professional management. To help properties become more profitable, more commercial and multi-unit residential property owners are expected to place their investments in the hands of professional managers.
Growth in demand should also arise as a result of the changing demographic composition of the population. The number of older people will increase during the projection period, creating a need for various types of suitable housing, such as assisted living arrangements and retirement communities. Accordingly, there will be a need for property managers to operate these facilities, especially those who have a background in the operation and administrative aspects of running a health unit.
Median annual earnings of all property managers were $28,500 in 1996. The middle 50 percent earned between $19,000 and $39,800. Ten percent earned less than $12,000 and 10 percent earned more than $60,700 annually.
Community association managers received compensation comparable to on-site and property managers employed by other types of properties. Many resident apartment managers receive the use of an apartment as part of their compensation package. Property managers often are given the use of a company automobile, and managers employed in land development often receive a small percentage of ownership in projects they develop.
Property managers plan, organize, staff, and manage the real estate operations of businesses. Workers who perform similar functions in other fields include restaurant and food service managers, hotel and resort managers, facilities managers, health services managers, education administrators, and city managers.
General information about careers in property management and programs leading to the award of a professional designation in the field is available from:
Institute of Real Estate Management, 430 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611. Homepage: http://www.irem.org
For information on careers and certification programs in commercial property management, contact:
Building Owners and Managers Association International, 1201 New York Ave. NW., Suite 300, Washington, DC 20005. Homepage: http://www.boma.org
Building Owners and Managers Institute (BOMI) International, 1521 Ritchie Hwy., Arnold, MD 21012. Homepage: http://www.bomi-edu.org
For information on careers and certification programs in residential property management, contact:
Community Associations Institute, 1630 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Homepage: http://www.caionline.org
National Apartment Association, Education Department, 201 N. Union St., Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314.
National Association of Home Builders, 1201 15th St. NW., Washington, DC 20005. Homepage: http://www.nahb.com/multi.html
National Association of Residential Property Managers, 35 E. Wacker Dr., Suite 500, Chicago, IL 60601.
|98-99 Handbook Contents...||UMSL Govt. Docs...||UMSL Libraries...||UMSL Home...|