Much has been said about the “Accidental Landlord,” lately. It seems that a challenging sales market brings out the landlord in all of us. When the demand for housing shifts from owning to renting, the decision to become an investor-owner, rather than a seller, is one many of your clients have either already made, or are making now.
Among the many considerations your clients must weigh in this decision is how best to manage their properties. Are they better off managing a rental themselves, or would they be better served by hiring a professional to take care of tenant selection and day-to-day management?
This is where you come in! Whether you are a full-time property manager, or you’ve taken on a few management accounts as an add-on service in your real estate business, managing your clients’ properties can be not only profitable, but fun and challenging work!
One step at a time…
First and foremost, proper licensing is key! Most states require, at minimum, a real estate license in order to manage property for others. Some states, such as Nevada, require both a real estate license and an additional property management license or “permit.”
Assuming you’re properly licensed, education is the next step. Property managers must be well-versed in myriad topics in order to properly handle their clients’ investments. Although most real estate prelicensing programs touch on these topics, very few of them cover the subjects in enough detail to give the property manager a working understanding of them. Subjects such as
- Fair housing
- Landlord/tenant law
- Tenant safety
- Insurance and liability
- Maintenance and repairs
- Risk management
- Rental and management contracts
are all applied somewhat differently in property management than they are in sales. By virtue of the fact that your property management accounts anticipate a long-term agent/client relationship, the property manager will encounter circumstances and challenges along the way that would never come up in a listing/sales scenario.
How can you get this education?
Although Nevada requires a minimum of 24 classroom hours of property management education, most states do not. The licensee is left to his or her own devices, when it comes to education in property management. There are many great reference books on the market that, if one takes the time to read them, will go a long way toward providing valuable education in the property management field. Yet, for my money, there’s nothing quite like a specialized course (or ten!) to really drive home the important facts, laws, and best practices of the business.
Consider a trade organization…
Some of the best educational opportunities can be found through participation in one or more trade organizations that support your property management specialty. Depending upon what type of property you manage, these organizations provide wonderful education courses that count toward professional designations, or simply for the purpose of enhancing your property management professionalism. Here are just a few of the organizations catering to the property management community:
National Association of Residential Property Managers – for managers of single-family homes and small residential properties.
Institute of Real Estate Management – for managers of multifamily and commercial properties.
International Council of Shopping Centers – for retail property managers.
CCIM Institute – for commercial property managers.
Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS – you guessed it! For office and industrial property managers.
Community Associations Institute – for managers of common-interest communities.
National Apartment Association – for multifamily managers.
Building Owners and Managers Association – the oldest trade organization for property management professionals, offering top-notch courses for commercial property management.
This is only a sampling of the many outlets available for quality property management education. I urge you, if your 2012 goals include building a viable property management portfolio, consider availing yourself of the benefits of membership in a property management trade organization. (In a future post, we’ll talk about a few business models for property management that you might want to try, once you’ve got the education piece in place!)
Are you a member of a property management trade organization? If so, what benefits has that membership provided to you? Please join the conversation by leaving a comment on this post.