If real estate sounds appealing to you, but you need paychecks that you can count on, perhaps a career in property management is more suitable? The average person changes a career 5 to 7 times during their life. So whether you are a recent graduate or a seasoned professional in another field, there is no reason not to follow your heart and do what draws you.

You have questions that you’ll need answers to though, and this is understandable. You won’t find a college degree in this field, so you may be left wondering how to become a property manager in the first place. We’ve anticipated your questions and created a well-thought-out plan of action that you can follow for success. Read on for your roadmap to success in your new chosen field.

Ready for a career change? Real estate is booming and the timing could be brilliant. Here are seven steps on how to become a property manage to help you get a head start.

How to become a property manager.

Nothing is cut and dry, but following these steps will help you get the skills you need to find your start in the field and become the most successful property manager that you can be. Build a stable and lucrative career, one step at a time.

1. Research.

This is essentially what you’re beginning to do now. Property managers are subject to local licensing and training requirements that may vary from state to state and even for local municipalities. You may also find that the types of properties you intend to manage will play a role in the specific licensing requirements you’ll need to comply with.

Government-subsidized housing may require that you have specialized training to deal with these types of properties. Local cities may have certain restrictions on B2B property leasing with a special focus on code compliance and the types of restricted businesses in some areas.

Most states require you to study for and take the examination to become a licensed real estate agent in their area. This means that you’ve got a specific item to check off your list of to-do items and it needs to be done first—acquire your real estate license. Local community colleges and some real estate companies offer pre-licensing classes to help you study and take practice exams.

Here’s a handy guide to learn more about specific state requirements for becoming a property manager. 

2. Obtain your real estate license.

Understand that in some cases, this license will not be enough to get you in the door. Many property management companies and real estate brokerages will prefer hiring an agent or property manager that has a business degree or some sort of applicable college degree that shows you are capable of running a business.

A college degree shows you’re dedicated and qualified. College graduates are more organized, better equipped to handle business correspondence, and have critical thinking skills. A college degree isn’t always required though, so don’t let that stop you. You may need to start in an entry-level position and work your way up if you don’t have a degree. Don’t allow that to stop you.

Any additional coursework that you can take as you prepare for licensure will be a bonus when you are job seeking later. Real estate development, housing for the elderly, real estate finance, etc, are all great additional areas to study.

3. Get certifications in specialized studies. 

As mentioned above, additional study in areas of specialization will offer certificates that can be added to your resume, making you more sought after in the hiring process. There are specific property management certificates that are most sought after.

If you were not required to get your real estate license, now is the time to get it anyway. This will serve to provide you with an edge over the competition when you are trying to land that new job. It will also help you progress up the ladder more swiftly.

If you and another potential new hire are very similar and the company is having difficulty making the choice, the one with the most education that will help with the position is usually who is hired.

4. Dress for success.

Now is the time to update your wardrobe and acquire the professional clothing that you’ll need for interviewing and working. Property managers are expected to dress professionally at all times.

Rarely is there an office that is not a professional dress only atmosphere. Take this into consideration immediately and start picking out your wardrobe so that you are ready when the job is offered.

If you are unsure of the best styles to dress in, do some ground research, and go view apartments in your area. While they show you their apartments, you’re more interested in their level of dress, knowledge, and how they carry themselves. Emulate what works and when clothing styles stand out to you, copy those looks.

5. Get employed.

Now that you are employable, put yourself to work. Win over that first job, even if it is entry-level. Do not be afraid to roll your sleeves up and work hard, from the bottom up. Many of the best and brightest start at the shallow end of the pond before they can swim with the big fish.

Network through your friends, attend events, introduce yourself in person, with your resume, to apply for positions. Send letters of introduction, and a bio with a photo. Be what people look for by understanding how people hire property managers for the job. Find out more by reading how people choose a property manager.

Use technology to get your name out and find openings. LinkedIn is a fantastic resource to build a personal profile and also seek positions in your area. Other job resources are available online and you can contact real estate management companies online as well.

Get to know your local realtors. They will have their finger on the pulse of the real estate market in your area and likely can tell you who needs help right now. It’s worth your time to reach out and create connections that will help you in your career long after you’ve landed that first position.

6. Continue your education.

The person who thinks they know everything will cease to learn and cease growing. When you are not growing, you become stagnant and allow others to zoom past you and reach the positions that you wanted.

Build ties with others who can continue teaching you. There is not enough focus on learning on the job from seasoned professionals. Align yourself with someone who is successful and has the job that you want one day.

Continue taking courses that can expand your knowledge and read as much about your industry as you possibly can. Learn about the new technologies and tools as well as a business plan you can use that can make working from a virtual office a breeze.

Software such as Podium can make it easy to stay in touch with your office no matter where you are, speak with tenants in real-time, and much more. They even have free options for you to try out.

7. Cultivate the right attitude.

This could just as easily have been placed at number one on our list. Having the right attitude is paramount. Being positive, inquisitive, driven to success, and dedicated are all positive attributes that can only come from having the right attitude.

You must be willing to work hard, stay focused, and be prepared to take the time that is required to learn what you need to know at each step of your journey up the ladder until you are the success you initially envisioned.

Have a plan and work your plan. Check-in with yourself each day. Take a look at your goals and assess where you are in achieving them. If you aren’t where you think you should be, reassess your plan and make adjustments where necessary. Be prepared to change plans when applicable. Be flexible and always keep that positive attitude that will put you ahead of the rest.

Ready for a career change? Real estate is booming and the timing could be brilliant. Here are seven steps on how to become a property manage to help you get a head start.


Now that you know how to become a property manager, utilize all tools you can find along the way. Use apps and property management software that can keep up with you. Podium is the free resource that can take you where you need to go.. 


Elizabeth Gallagher
Elizabeth Gallagher Real Estate, Legal & Financial Services Account Executive

Elizabeth Gallagher is a real estate and legal professional at Podium, the premier messaging platform that connects local businesses with their customers.

Adapt the way you do business. Press send.