Residential Property Management

Guest Blog by CU Boulder college intern Scott Rahe

Scott Rahe is currently a senior at the Leeds School of Business working towards his BA in finance and real estate at CU Boulder. During his last semester, he enrolled in a Real Estate Internship class, which required a formal presentation to the class for graduation. The presentation could be over any Real Estate profession, from developers to commercial brokers. For his presentation, Scott and his group researched the residential property manager and gave a brief, 20-minute presentation over the career path. The group also had to interview three professionals in the field to get a better idea of day-to-day activities. Berkshire Hathaway Realtor Bob Gordon participated for one of the 3 interviews.  Here, Scott will break that presentation down into a blog to show what it is like to be in Residential Property Management.

Residential Property Managers Interviewed

In order to fully understand the profession, we interviewed three current professionals in residential property management. If you have any more questions regarding the career, these three people would be good to get in contact with:

Megan Degnan: Works for Roanoke Valley Apartment Association. Graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.A. in Residential Property Management

Margaret Flaherty: Independent contractor for Mock Property Management. Did not attend college but has been working in real estate for 34 years.

Bob Gordon: Realtor working for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. Graduated from Wesleyan University. Primarily working as residential realtor, with twenty years experience.

Role of Manager in Residential Property Management

The residential property manager plays a crucial role in the real estate industry. Typically, the residential manger is in charge of conducting all business related duties involved with rental or income properties.  Team leaders in Residential Property Management must have good working relationships with all kinds of people within real estate. The residential manager works in close contact with realtors, landlords/tenants, maintenance, and sometimes even lenders. The scope in which a property manager can work is also very diverse. This means they are not confined to rental apartment complexes or similar structures. A residential property manager may work with senior housing, government subsidized housing, student housing, or even individual properties.

Education Requirements

The education requirements in order to become a manager in Residential Property Management are farily minimal compared to some of the other careers in the real estate industry. First off, one must be a licensed real estate broker. This includes a background check, completing 2 years of experience as an associate broker, pass the broker’s exam, and provide proof of E&O insurance. There are also continuing education requirements, which are classes taken outside of the office to keep up with the real estate market. One of the people we interviewed, Margaret, said that this continuing education was a very important part of her job, stating, “I am constantly taking real estate classes. A lot of the classes are geared towards sales.”

Principal Responsibilities of Residential Property Manager

When we asked Megan Degnan what her primary responsibility was as a residential property manager, she stated “the most important part of my job is balancing the duties and responsibilities I have to the landlord, the resident, and the law.” Breaking down this quote, we were able to distinguish 5 main responsibilities of every residential manager. These 5 include:


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1. Marketing- keeping properties occupied with qualified tenants through advertising, lead follow up, and property showings for prospective tenants.
2. Tenant relations- develops rental agreements, selects qualified tenants, collects deposits and rents, enforces terms of rental agreements, resolves tenant complaints, and oversees eviction proceedings if necessary.
3. Facilities management- schedules maintenance and repairs, negotiates contracts with vendors, regularly inspects property to ensure it is in good working order, and quickly resolves emergency maintenance issues.
4. Financial reporting- keeps financial records from property operations, creates monthly financial reports for property owner.
5. Owner relations- keeps open dialogue with property owner on vacancies, tenants, physical condition of the property, and financial issues.

However, in order to perform these responsibilities, there are some necessary qualities one must have in order to become a residential property manager. These qualities include: (a) The ability to work with people, (b) being detailed oriented and focused at task at hand — this one is not good for Bob Gordon!  (c) Flexible and open to changes — a universal truth for all of real estate, (d) Ability to find new tenants quickly, (e) Creating and maintaining a thorough network and these days, (f) Keeping up with technology.

To conclude, we were able to create a pro’s and con’s list in deciding whether one would want to start a career in residential property management:

• Every day is different
• Opportunity to work with people
• Satisfying to help people find and maintain a home
• Unpredictable hours
• Balancing your duty to the landlord and tenant
• Dealing with problems so close to home

Consensus: It’s a good starting point in your career; compensation is competitive with similar entry-level Residential Property Management positions, and there is vast opportunity for advancement and growth within the industry.

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