Property and Real Estate Managers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

High school students interested in this field should enroll in college preparatory programs that include classes in business, mathematics, speech, and English.

Postsecondary Training

Most employers prefer college graduates for property and real estate management positions. They prefer degrees in real estate management, business administration, accounting, finance, and related fields, but they also consider liberal arts graduates. Visit for a list of colleges and universities that offer degrees in real estate. 

Other Education or Training

Many property and real estate managers attend training programs offered by various professional and trade associations. Employers often send their managers to these programs to improve their management skills and expand their knowledge of such subjects as operation and maintenance of building mechanical systems, insurance and risk management, business and real estate law, and accounting and financial concepts. Many managers attend these programs voluntarily to prepare for advancement to positions with more responsibility. Continuing education opportunities are offered by Building Owners and Managers Institute (BOMI) International, Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International, Community Associations Institute, Institute of Real Estate Management, and the National Apartment Association.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Certification or licensing is not required for most property managers. Managers who have appropriate experience, complete required training programs, and achieve satisfactory scores on written exams, however, can earn certification and such professional designations as certified property manager, accredited residential manager, and accredited commercial manager (which the Institute of Real Estate Management offers) and property administrator and facilities management administrator (which are offered by BOMI International). Such designations are usually looked upon favorably by employers as a sign of a person's competence and dedication. Other organizations that offer certification include the Community Associations Institute and the Community Association Managers International Certification Board.

The federal government requires certification for managers of public housing that is subsidized by federal funds. Business opportunity-and-property-investment brokers must hold state licenses, and some states require real estate managers to hold licenses.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Aspiring property managers should obtain three months to several years of experience working for a property management company.

Property managers need experience in all aspects of building management, from leasing and maintenance to repair and service. They should be good communicators who can deal effectively with clients; they should be detail oriented; possess good organizational skills; and understand building finances such as mortgages, taxes, insurance and payroll.

Property and real estate managers must be skilled in both oral and written communications and be adept at dealing with people. They need to be good administrators and negotiators, and those who specialize in land development must be especially resourceful and creative to arrange financing for their projects. Managers for small rental or condominium complexes may be required to have building repair and maintenance skills as well as business management skills.