Inside Property Manager Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Commercial Real Estate Manager: "The best part of my job is having an appreciative tenant. If I do my job correctly, the tenants are happy and complementary. The worst part of my job is when a contractor does not do the repairs in a timely fashion or does not fix the problem. Then the tenants are very unhappy and I must find a new contractor to do the job. Then the problem continues for much longer than I want and the tenant calls me frequently, complaining that the problem is not yet fixed. It is not enjoyable dealing with an unhappy tenant." (2011)

Facilities Manager: "The best part of my job is working with people from all over the world and in different fields of business. One day I could be talking to someone in China about a office layout and the next day I could be in New York City building a new office for a group of employees that just got hired. The worst part of my job is that I need to be the person who protects and keeps the building up and running at all times. Again one day, at midnight, I could be on the phone with someone in China about an emergency that needs to be fixed ASAP, and the next day I could be in New York City working with a contractor to meet a deadline that MUST be kept." (2011)

Property Manager: "As I am a people person, the best part of my job was interacting with the vendors and the tenants. A large part of my day was managing the personnel contracted to maintain the property. Daily, I met with engineers, cleaners, landscapers, and security to review and address any concerns or issues, to check on problem resolution in motion, and to ensure our staff's focus was on target. I also have a love of buildings so I enjoyed walking the property each day, ensuring that the buildings were being maintain by our contracted staff to the level identified in the contracts and to identify any issues that needed to be addressed. I also enjoyed working with our interior designer as we remodeled floors and and lobbies, picking out fabrics, paint colors, etc. I enjoyed meeting with our tenant to resolve issues or to check in to see how they were doing, trying to get a feel for whether they would be extending their lease upon its expiration. I did not enjoy the financial reporting. The financial reports give the owners a snapshot of how their properties are doing, and therefore are very important and must be reviewed very carefully before being submitted. I am not as comfortable with numbers as I am with people and found this part of the job the most stressful. Each month I had to explain any variances to the budget, review the aging reports for tenant rent payments and note what had been done to try and collect outstanding payments, write a report on what were the bigger issues occurring on the property both tenant and maintenance related. These reports are really not that difficult if you know your property well and understand your property utilities." (2011)

Campground Manager: "The best part of my job is working to ensure that people have a great time while staying with us. Seeing families having fun together in a happy, healthy outdoor environment and hearing them tell you what a great time they had, lets you know you did a good job. The worst part of my job is finding seasonal employees who are qualified for their jobs. It is not easy finding staff who are willing to work six months a year and truly care about their position enough to work hard and ensure that the customer is always first." (2010)

CEO Of Own Company: "This is my dream job. When I was in college I wrote a paper for my English literature class which detailed this scenario: me owning my own community. My wife thought I was insane at the time, but look what we have accomplished, quite a bit I must say through hard work and determination. I love the fact that I can help people find decent housing when they have been turned down by my ("bigger") competitors. Since I am doing what I love I really have no regrets. That said, if I had to choose a worst it would be evicting someone for non-payment of rent. This is the least appealing part about my job." (2010)

Warehouse Manager: "The best part of the job is getting the product to the stores so they can sell it, and the company is doing really well at this point. If the stores don't have the inventory then they can't make sales numbers every week. The worst part of the job is when everything arrives, the pressure to get it out to the stores quickly becomes intense. Also, when we make mistakes, they can cause more work for everybody." (2009)

Senior Property Manager: "I really enjoy the people I work with and love working with affordable housing. The residents whom we serve are unable to afford a market-rate apartment and unless we are doing our jobs well, they will not have a decent and safe home. The most enjoyable part of the job is the fact that I need to learn something new every day. I might be spending time learning about boiler specifications one day and the next be meeting with the city Mayor discussing a new site." (2009)

Career Background

Property Manager

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Career Tips

"Honesty Is The Best Policy...
If you are considering a career in commercial property management, be honest with all tenants. If a repair is going to take 2 weeks to complete and the tenant wants it fixed in 5 days, be honest with the tenant. It is also important to use reliable contractors, even if it costs a little more to complete the job. If you can take engineering courses in college, it will help you understand the repair aspect of the job." (Commercial Real Estate Manager; 2011)

"Put Your Ideas Forward...
When you have the opportunity, take jobs that you may not think would be related to your work. They will always benefit you and your skills. Always be willing and eager to do more. Those that show they want to work, get work and get recognized. Those that hide in the background get lost and ultimately are not satisfied. Take risks and be bold with your ideas and opinions. In the workplace the ones who speak up and come up with ideas, whether right or wrong, are the ones that are afforded to opportunity to lead in the future." (Facilities Manager; 2011)

"Start At The Bottom And Learn...
I feel that to become a property manager it is best to start from the bottom and really learn what it takes to run a property. Starting as a tenant services coordinator or a property accountant are two excellent ways to enter the field. I have also seen chief engineers and security managers make the transition to property manager. Most companies now require property managers to hold a college degree, before you could come up through the ranks without one but that is changing. Property management companies are more apt to interview a candidate that holds a BOMI International designation of Real Property Administrator (RPA) or Facility Management Administrator (FMA), To obtain either of these designations there are six required courses and one elective course that you must take through BOMI. Most of these courses are accredited courses. Speak with your college counselor to determine what classes you can take which would go towards your degree. Some property management companies will pay for their employees to take one or two courses a year. For course descriptions you can look at their website:" (Property Manager; 2011)

"Dealing With Unhappy Campers Is Part Of The Job...
A concentration in Outdoor Recreation or Hospitality Management is a good idea. Do a job shadow if possible and see if working with the public every day really suits you. Remember that not all customers are happy customers and at times you must deal with people who who are angry or displeased. The time to find out you don't have the stomach for this is not when you are face to face with an unhappy customer. Spend summers working in a campground or recreation facility and be willing to do the most menial and invigorating tasks, anything from cleaning bathrooms to running activities." (Campground Manager; 2010)

"Get Your Finances In Order...
Save some money first. Pay off your credit card balances each month. Have a business plan and do not stray. If you must acquire debt make sure it's for the purpose of building your business or purchasing an asset. Assets appreciate. Pay your mortgages on time. Be strict with collections and say what you mean and mean what you say. Do not acquire unsecured debt. Start off slow...if you currently have a job, keep your existing job until you become self-sufficient because you can do this job on weekends and after-hours." (CEO Of Own Company; 2010)

"Build A Strong Team...
To do this job you must be very organized. You also be must be open to new ideas from other companies or other people. This is the first warehouse I have run, and people now say how great a place it has become. Build a strong team around you. This is a must. One person can't run a company. You need to strike a balance between being hard on people to motivate them and keeping them happy so they don't leave. It takes time to train new people." (Warehouse Manager; 2009)

"Transparency Will Keep You Happy...
Always keep the "Honesty : Stress" ratio in mind. The more honest you are, the more transparent and the more up front you are the less stress you'll have. If you hide nothing, nothing can come back and bite you and it makes work much more enjoyable. Find something you love to do and throw yourself into it. Very few careers involve a 9-5 day any more and toiling at a career in which you have no interest will be very difficult. Don't worry about not knowing what you want to do. Even if you are not sure, you will fall into something you love." (Senior Property Manager; 2009)