Property management is the supervision of residential, commercial, or industrial properties. This includes apartments, detached houses, condominium units, and shopping centers. This often involves administering property owned by another party or entity.
Every now and then, we get asked, “Is property management a good career?” And our response is always a resounding, “Yes!”
Being a property manager entails working in a fast-paced and dynamic work environment, which can be especially beneficial for those looking for a stimulating and rewarding profession. Property management can offer a stable source of income, and the industry is recession-proof.
If you’re interested in this industry and want to learn how to become a property manager in Virginia, this article offers a detailed guide to help you prepare for a rewarding career.
Understand the Role of a Property Manager
The main role of a property manager is to oversee a real estate investment. This could be a commercial or residential rental property. Typically, property managers handle multiple properties at once.
Some of the responsibilities of a property manager include:
- Coordinates the advertising and applicant screening processes for tenants.
- Responds to inquiries about the property.
- Shows the property to potential tenants.
- Manages lease information, contracts, and other paperwork for the property.
- Acts as a liaison between the tenants and the real estate owner.
- Responds to tenant and owner communications.
- Performs basic accounting functions.
- Collects rent and deposits.
- Conducts move-in/out inspections and returns deposits when applicable.
- Coordinates repairs for the property.
- Screens and secures maintenance and repair personnel.
- Manages the eviction process.
Obtain a High School Diploma or Equivalent
The minimum educational qualification for a property manager is a high school diploma or equivalent GED. For higher-paying positions, additional coursework or a bachelor’s degree is required.
You may take additional classes in real estate and business to help you differentiate yourself from the competition. Some universities offer property management courses. Virginia Commonwealth University, Longwood University, and Virginia Tech are some of the schools you may want to explore if you’d like to pursue a property manager degree.
Obtain a Real Estate License
One of the requirements in this particular industry is a property management license. Virginia property managers need to understand state laws and regulations to ensure that they will be in compliance with these as they perform specific tasks, such as screening renters and preparing leases.
Consider Professional Certifications
Another way you can stand out from the competition is to acquire certifications in additional areas that overlap with property management. Pursue the ones that are aligned with the type of property management you are interested in.
To help you on how to become a certified property manager in Virginia, here are additional certifications you may take:
- Certified Apartment Manager
- Certified Manager of Community Associations
- Certified Property Manager
- Master Property Manager
- National Apartment Leasing Professional
- Residential Management Professional
Gain Relevant Education
Once you have received your certification in property management, you may be required to take certain continuing education courses to maintain your certification.
However, even if this is not required, it will be to your advantage to stay updated on the best practices in property management.
Gain Experience in the Industry
Getting into property management right after high school or college can come with some challenges, but there are entry-level positions that do not require prior experience.
You may want to start by exploring job vacancies for the property management assistant or trainee position. These roles will allow you to gain more knowledge and experience in the industry that will enable you to eventually work independently as a property manager.
Develop Strong Communication Skills
To be a successful property manager, you should have excellent communication and relationship skills. These are essential in marketing the properties you manage and building your network.
As a property manager, you should be able to maintain a calm and patient demeanor when resolving disputes. You should also be able to effectively communicate with all the parties involved in the rental property, including the owner, tenants, and contractors.
Learn Property Management Software
Property management software is an essential tool every property owner and manager needs in their arsenal. Managing properties entails countless tasks to juggle and constantly demands your time.
This may not be listed among property management qualifications, but knowledge of how to use this software makes you efficient at doing your job.
Familiarize Yourself with Virginia Landlord-Tenant Laws
Every state has carefully laid out the guidelines for property rental leases. In the state of Virginia, all the rules for leases are stated in the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (VRLTA). This can be found in the Code of Virginia.
In Virginia, a rental agreement must be drafted in written form if the tenancy is expected to be longer than 12 months. This agreement includes the name and address of the property owner, along with their conditions for leasing their property.
The property owner may include as many clauses as they deem appropriate for their rental. Some of the most common clauses are the contact information of all the parties involved in the lease, conditions to live in the property building, tenant and landlord rights, payment of rent, security deposit, and security deposit returns.
Apply for Property Manager Positions
After you have gained all the prerequisites for property management, the next step would be to update your resume. Highlight your qualifications, such as your license, degree in real estate, and certifications, along with any relevant experience in the industry.
Once your resume is updated, you can now apply for the property manager position. If you haven’t heard from the employer after a few days, don’t hesitate to follow up. Doing so shows your enthusiasm for the position.
It may seem that there are a lot of steps to take before one can become a property manager, but rest assured that all this will lead to a very fulfilling and financially rewarding career.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the responsibilities of a property manager include showing the property to potential tenants, liaising between the tenants and the real estate owner, performing basic accounting functions, collecting rent and deposits, and coordinating repairs for the property.
The average salary for a property manager in Virginia is $58,620 per year.
The Code of Virginia can be accessed online, so you can check the updates from time to time. Here’s the link to 2023 updates: https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacodeupdates/
The minimum educational qualification for a property manager is a high school diploma or equivalent GED, but you may take additional classes in real estate and business to help you differentiate yourself from the competition.
It is also beneficial for you to take additional certifications, such as Certified Apartment Manager, Certified Property Manager, Master Property Manager, or Residential Management Professional.
No, this is one of the requirements in the state.