Learning To Become a Property Manager

Hello Community

What better place to ask questions then amongst professionals and real estate thinkers. My question is I am considering getting into the PM field. I am honestly sick of the PMs that manage my building that I currently live in, always late with financials, never around to answer questions. honestly the worst service ever. Then I think to myself, if I was doing there job, oh boy would I do better then this, on that note I now want to know from people in here, what does it take to become a PM, I know you have to be professional, pay visits to the buildings do rent rolls but what else is there. How does one keep track of all the payments, where does it go is there software, how do I get invoices sent to the tenants that look like the ones I receive currently. What things do I need to know about being a PM, please feel free to add things I did not mention because I know I missed alot. There must be more then just what I said. Again thanks, I look forward to getting some excellent feedback from you guys and gals.


First of all, sorry - I accidentally deleted the PM you sent me. You’ve asked a bunch of questions here. However, the answer is that you need to check with someone to see what the laws are in your state. In many states, you must be a real estate broker to be a property manager. In other states, you may have to be licensed. So, the first thing to do is ask a successful investor or lawyer in your area, or look up that info on the internet.

The answer to that question will tell you what you need to do to become a property manager. If there are no legal issues in your state, then I would recommend getting a job with a property management firm or property manager to learn the ropes.

Good Luck,


thanks propertymanger

Just for reference I am located in New York. I dont know if you know the laws here or where I can find them. I dont think I ever heard of the laws where I would need to be a broker or anything but I am lic. if that was the case. Besides that I would like to go into business for myself. I know Im jumping the gun here but I am a pretty fast learner.

so any more tips besides going to get a job as a PM?


Well I’m no PM but my if I was pursuing something like that I would definitely be an expert in Excel and Quicken/Microsoft Money, both of those programs would be imperative as a property manager.



In NY, if you’re a “property manager” that collects rent as part of the managment function, then you’ll need to be a licensed broker where you’re licensed and bonded. You might get away with it if tenants mail the rents directly to the landlord, or to the bank, and you merely follow up on service complaints, and keep the building in good operating order.

Exceptions to the need for licensing for rent collections as I recall is if you’re a part owner, or if you’re doing it for a family member. Another if you’re a licensed attorney or government official where 'rent collection" is part of your job function.

As to preparing statements and financials, I have my operations on Quickbooks, and I’m able to produce professionally done statements for tenants, especially those that fall behind, made part payments, bounced some checks etc., and want to see where they stand.

And since Quickbooks allows you to setup a number of companes, i would just set up each client or property as a separate company, and keep track of things that way.

But if you plan to do this in conjuction with “rent collections” technically, you’ll have a licensing issue.

However, I know it doesn’t stop some people. My CPA needed an extra source of income, and does “property managment” on the side. I told him he’s in technical violation without a “broker’s license” if he collects rents. He said others told him the same, but so far, managing a mere handful of stuff, he’s under the radar. But if you plan to manage large apartment complexes, I’m sure they’ll check, go with someone who’s licensed.

One way to get around it is to say you provide “business services”. I did this when I started a corp to manage my own properties, and since state regulations require I submit needed licenses if I incoorporate a business needing a license, i.e. property mangement, I said the company would be engaged in “business services”, i.e. doing bookkeeping, taking calls from tenants, maintenance etc.

Hmm, I never heard of that I needed to be a broker to be a property manager. The money would go into a escrow account and not in my account. I seen a website from the TX gov. regarding becoming a property manager but I have yet to see the requirements for NY.

Anyone know where I can find that?

You might want to read this article about pending legislation in NY’


That article was from 1993, wonder if it passed or not?

oops, didn’t notice that LOL! I would hope it has come to some resolution by this point :biggrin

With politics…who knows. It might still be pending…

I am not sure if licensing is required yet, but I do know that there are property manager certification courses available in NY.

Here’s the URL from NY State Department of State:


Note the parts referring to collecting rents, and services a “property management company” may provide (section 5), relative to the need to license or not.

If you pick up rent checks, and rent out vacant apartments, then you’ll need a license. If you liimit yourself to maintenance, bookkeeping etc, then NO.

I attended the NYU Real estate school, and they offer couses on Real Estate Mangement, that can lead to certification. I took a number of courses in various areas, but did not pursue the cirriculum leading to PM certification.

There’s no 'state" licensing of individual PM’s that I’m aware of, only the PM company needs to be licensed, though there’s been talk about licensing individual PM’s.

Just a thought…are you an investor or do you want to spend much of your time running the duties of a PM. Focus is very important in this business of investing…

I hate most of my hair color treatments for the first few days but…(as does my husband cause he has to hear me complain) but I’m not going to take a hair dresser course because she doesn’t listen to what I want or the fact that the service could be better. I just see the bigger picture and I FOCUS my time on what I need to do to enable the life style that I choose for myself and my family.

If it’s PM you really want then great but if it’s INVESTING then spending your time looking for deals (or having people help you to find deals)…well…they’re only so many hours in a day…

Good luck to you though regardless of your choice of life style

I’ve used a lot of property managers and if you want to be good at then get your necessary creditals and get a job at top-notch shop doing that. After 5 yrs and you learn the ropes, then you can hang out your shingle for your own business.

Being a good prop mgmt is a very experienced oriented profession as it goes far beyond collect rent and organizing for repairs.Trying up set-up a business when you have no experience in the area seems like a flawed approach. Having managed professional service organizations (no real estate oriented), being an observant critic and being a good operator/vendor of those services are really two different things.

aak5454 thank you for your sound advice, i picked a good day to return to this site, I see I have this advice from you as well because I was also considering working for a pm company and learning the ropes first hand, like you said this would be the best approach. I have my pm certification as well so hopefully that will now help me search for a good place to gain experience.

jdproperties yes I do prefer PM, I do like to invest as well, but in between looking for properties and actually purchasing them I would like to keep myself busy, the freedom of working in this field is what interests me, thank you also for your insight.


Field of property and real estate is growing with fast speed, and the job opportunities are also emerging in this field with promising prospects. Property managers are high in demand.


As much as some people (namely, property managers) might tell you otherwise, it is generally not very hard to become a property manager.

As propertymanager suggested in this thread, yes, you do need to check the requirements for your particular state - in some states you may even need a business license.

I started out the exact same way it sounds like you are. I was tired of dealing with brainless, unresponsive idiots and simply asked the manager at my building back then, what exactly it took to become a manager. She had just started working for her prop management company and gave me a copy of her resume highlighting what prop mgmt companies look for. I then tailored my existing resume to highlight those same things even though I had no prior experience and I literally started faxing it in to places I saw advertising for new managers. (you will find a lot of them on Craigslist nowadays). It has been one of the smartest moves I have ever made.

And if you don’t end up working for a prop mgmt company there are now numerous sites online where you can actually have your paperwork handled by their software - you don’t have to learn an extensive prop mgmt software like I did (Yardi is a bear sometimes!). .

I think you’d be surprised at how little experience you need to get started. And that isn’t to underestimate the amount of work it takes to be a good property manager… it IS hard work.

Good luck!