Real Estate Agent vs. Property Manager and the Difference

Various professionals in the real estate industry often have overlapping roles. Job titles and terminology can be confusing but we’ll help you tease out who does what.  

In this blog post, you’ll learn how property managers’ and real estate agents’ roles overlap and we’ll cover how to become a property manager. 

What Does a Property Manager Do? 

Landlords often hire property managers if they may live too far away from their property investment, lack the expertise to care for it fully, or need time to focus on other priorities.  

A property manager or property management firm assumes responsibility for a residential, commercial, or industrial property in place of the owner. The owner pays a fee or a percentage of the rental amount and delegates responsibilities such as: 

  • Coordinating property maintenance, repairs, and upgrades 
  • Supervising employees 
  • Marketing and showing property 
  • Locating and screening potential tenants 
  • Record keeping and reporting to the owner 
  • Drawing up contracts 
  • Dealing with tenants 
  • Mediating tenant/landlord relationships 
  • Collecting rents 
  • Inspecting properties 

Property managers can be self-employed or work for property management companies. You might find it’s an interesting career choice if you like meeting people, have good mediation skills, and appreciate variety in your routine. 

Can a Real Estate Agent Be a Property Manager? 

Adding property management to your real estate duties can be an ideal way to diversify income but be sure to check your state requirements. In many states, you must have a real estate broker’s license or be supervised by a broker to manage a property you do not own. 

Depending on your state, property managers may also be governed by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) and/or the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). 

Many real estate agents aren’t interested in property management because it takes them away from their main business of buying and selling. Others, however, appreciate the value in an alternate source of income, lower rate of competition, shorter sales cycle, and variety of duties property management offers. 

Becoming a Property Manager 

According to the California Department of Real Estate (DRE), property managers must have “knowledge of agency, contracts, fair housing, rentals, and leases” and “additional knowledge is required in business administration, marketing, purchasing, extensions of credit, accounting, advertising, insurance, repairs and maintenance, taxation, and public relations”.  

Real estate broker’s licensing courses cover many of these topics and brokers will benefit from the ability to advertise rentals on MLS sites and use regulated lockboxes for showings. 

In some states, like California, if you don’t have your real estate broker license, you’ll need to work for a real estate brokerage or a property management firm. If you want to work as an independent property manager or start a property management company, you’ll need to be a licensed broker. This means you’ll need to have two years of experience as a real estate salesperson, complete a real estate broker education course, and pass your state’s broker licensing exam. 

While specific training in property management is not required at this time, courses from organizations like the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) and the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) will help you become knowledgeable and give you a competitive edge in the property management marketplace. 

How to Become a Real Estate Agent or Broker 

Are you just starting to explore the real estate industry? Sign up for an upcoming Career Day event to find out about the many exciting career options available.  

Ready to enroll in real estate education courses? Our unique Group Study program offers all the benefits of seasoned, licensed instructors in a virtual classroom or in-person lecture format. If you prefer independent, self-paced learning, you can access our courses through the online Fast-Track program. 

If you’re already licensed, we’ve got the Continuing Education you need to renew your real estate salesperson and broker licenses. If you’re ready to pursue property management and need Broker License training, we would be glad to help you take the next step in your career. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us today.