A real estate manager is responsible for the oversight of daily activities and financial aspects of commercial and residential real estate properties. Real estate managers are in charge of properties such as apartments, retail stores, office buildings and residential homes.
Real estate managers oversee the complex operational details of residential and commercial properties, and are largely responsible for maintenance of the properties and enhancing their value. Some real estate managers may work on several locations or buildings, and others may work on an individual property. Those who work on many larger buildings may be charged with training and supervising other staff and maintenance workers. Managers of smaller properties may be personally responsible for daily upkeep and minor repairs.
What Is Real Estate Management?
Real estate management is the incorporation of both real property management and asset management. Real estate management is essentially the operation, administration, marketing, maintenance and financial oversight of property to achieve the financial and other objectives of the property owner. Real estate management is a service-oriented business, so managers must work closely with the owners of the properties, as well as the tenants and residents and workers on the properties.
Real estate management today is a highly sophisticated business that requires you to utilize new technology to enhance the operational efficiencies of properties, maximize profits and to monitor how well each property is performing. Good real estate managers have to provide complete financial reports to owners, develop procedures to protect property and people, and comply with ever changing government regulations regarding property management.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics at the Department of Labor states that employment for real estate management professionals will grow by 8% by 2024, which is about as fast as average when compared to other occupations.
Employment growth in real estate management is being driven by more people living in buildings that property management organizations operate: apartment buildings, condominiums, senior housing and planned communities. More residential property developments today have common areas that are jointly owned that are managed by real estate management companies.
Real estate property owners also are realizing that profitability increasingly hinges on effective property management to make them more profitable.
Jobs in real estate management offer you many different opportunities. They can range from the front line, on site property manager to a high level company executive. Also, there are many types of real estate management staff positions available in marketing, leasing, accounting, HR and maintenance.
Generally, real estate management career paths will fall into these categories:
- Site manager: Responsible for the day to day operations of the property. The site manager role is usually related to residential properties, such as apartment buildings, condominiums and homeowner’s associations. The site manager in charge of an office building may also be called a building manager.
- Property manager: This job title is usually related to a single property but sometimes several properties. A property manager for residential properties is that of a supervisor of the grounds of the properties as well as maintenance and leasing. The property manager is a liaison between the owner and site personnel, as well as tenants.
- Regional manager: This may also be referred to as a portfolio manager or supervisor. The regional manager normally has a high level of responsibility for several properties in a broad geographic area. The property portfolio may consist of both residential and commercial properties. The regional manager must carefully monitor the performance of each property and scrutinize the cash flow from each entity to ensure it is profitable.
- Asset manager: The focus here is on the property as an actual investment, and the decisions made by the asset manager affect financial performance substantially. In many jobs, the asset manager is the owner’s representative, and is responsible for selecting the property management company.
- Management company executive: The role is focused on the real estate management company as a business entity and less on the actual management of the properties that are being managed. The primary responsibility is to maximize economic results through strong real estate strategic management.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS reports that property, real estate and community association managers held nearly 314,000 jobs in 2014. The largest employers in the field were these:
- Employers with activities related to real estate: 23%
- Lessors of real estate: 16%
- Real estate agent and broker offices; 3%
- Civic, social and professional organizations: 3%
BLS also reported that two out of five real estate property managers were self employed in 2014.
BLS reports that the median salary in 2016 for property, real estate and community association managers was $57,000. The top 10% earned more than $126,000 per year. Specifically, the median salaries for real estate management professionals breaks down into these areas:
- Offices of brokers and real estate agents: $57,500
- Real estate related activities: $54,900
- Civic, professional and social organizations: $52,700
- Real estate lessors: $51,900
According to Glassdoor.com, the national average salary for real estate managers is $77,216.
With a degree in real estate management, you will have a variety of interesting and rewarding job possibilities before you. Some of the major employers in the real estate management industry include:
- Full service real estate companies: Provide the full range of real estate services, especially third party real estate property management.
- Real estate development companies: Management of properties that the company develops and owns. Managers here can work in property development and renovation, as well as marketing to investors.
- Commercial banks: Some banks today do not just provide clients with capital for investment projects and may actually function as equity providers in real estate properties. Managers are on staff to manage the bank’s portfolio of investment properties. They also may manage properties that have been foreclosed.
- Real estate investment trusts: These are known as REITs and are an effective way to investment in properties by groups of investors who pool funds to buy groups of properties. REITs need property managers to manage each property and to provide financial oversight to individual client property portfolios.
- Government agencies: Real estate managers are needed to oversee government housing programs that are available through state, federal and municipal authorities.
- Mortgage brokerage firms: Real estate managers may be employed by these companies that offer real estatement management as part of their job as a financial lender.
- Insurance companies: These organizations often have real estate investments in their portfolios and need real estate managers to effectively manage these properties and portfolios.
For those who are looking for the best property management employers, a recent survey noted that these companies are among the best:
- Greystar Real Estate Partners, Charleston SC: $46,102
- Riverstone Residential Group, Dallas TX: $39,500
- Lincoln Property Company, Dallas TX: $57,700
- Pinnacle Family Companies, Dallas TX: $29,000
- Equity Residential, Chicago IL: $59,800
- Winn Companies, Boston MA: $44,100
- MAA, Memphis TN: $51,700
- AvalonBay Communities, Arlington VA: $68,400
There are a variety of bachelor’s degrees available in real estate management, such as the Bachelor of Science in Real Estate Property Management at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. This degree can be a good choice for those who want to gain a foundation in finance, sales, law, leasing, marketing analysis and real estate development. You also will have the knowledge when you graduate to earn your real estate license.
For experience real estate managers who want to take their career to the next level, you may consider earning a Master of Science in Real estate that is available from the NYU School of Professional Studies. This advanced degree covers all of the advanced areas of real estate management, such as initiating, negotiating, financing and closing transactions. Also covered in detail are development, finance, investment, valuation, project management, law, market analysis and economics.
If you want to earn your real estate management education or certificate online while you are working full time, there are many options available today. Consider the real estate management certificate that is available at American Public University online. This type of online program provides the entry level professional with a good background in real estate law, property management, deeds and leases, marketing, insurance and negotiation.
All universities have their own criteria for admission. At the master’s level for a real estate management degree, you may see these requirements:
- Completion of an undergraduate degree with a 3.0 GPA or higher
- Official college transcripts
- GMAT or GRE test scores may be required
- Two or three letters of recommendation
- Updated resume with real estate management experience
At the master’s level, these are types of courses to expect in a real estate management program:
- Real estate principles and investments
- Real estate development
- Urban planning and sustainability
- Real estate finance
- Real estate property and asset management
- Real estate transactions and contracts
- Financial management
- Financial modeling
Real estate management is a broad field, and there are a variety of specializations you may consider. For example, the master’s program in real estate at George Mason University in Virginia has these specialties:
- Real estate development: Gives professionals the tools to succeed in the development of small and large scale real estate projects.
- Real estate finance: Examines how residential and commercial real estate can be effectively financed.
- Sustainable real estate development: Focuses on how to best conserve resources and to improve the efficiency of real estate development projects.
Completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree today is a worthwhile endeavor, but it does cost a lot of money. Paying for a degree can be especially challenging for older students who need to work on a full time basis. But there are scholarships and fellowships available for those who look for them. Below are some internal and external scholarship opportunities to check out:
- Morgan Fitch Scholarship Fund – $2000
- Eisenberg Foundation Scholarship – various amounts
- Pension Real Estate Association Scholarship – various amounts
- Commercial Real Estate Development Association Scholarship – various amounts
- District of Columbia Building Industry Association – various amounts
- Morgan L. Fitch Scholarship – various amounts
- Charles Grossman Graduate Scholarships – $10,000
- John T. Riordan Professional Education Scholarship – various amounts
To get to the top of the real estate management profession, it is a good idea to earn certifications and credentials to increase your level of expertise:
- Certified Property Manager (CPM)
- Real Property Administrator (RPA)
- Accredited Residential Manager (ARM)
- Accredited Commercial Manager (ACoM)
- Certified Apartment Manager (CAM)
- Certified Professional Property Administrator (CPPA)
For real estate management professionals, it is recommended to belong to a variety of associations to enhance your educational and networking opportunities:
- National Property Management Association
- Building Owners and Managers Association International
- Property Management Association
- Commercial Real Estate Development Association
- Institute of Real Estate Management
The real estate management career has many facets and opportunities. If you are interested in this rewarding career, it is recommended to get a degree in the field and certifications so that you can stand out from your peers.
- Institute of Real Estate Management Careers. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.irem.org/File%20Library/Careers/IREM_careers_brochure.pdf
- Property, Real Estate, and Community Association Managers. (2015, Dec. 18). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/property-real-estate-and-community-association-managers.htm
- 5 Best Cities to Start Property Management Companies. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://fourandhalf.com/5-best-cities-to-start-property-management-company/