How to Become a Property Manager in California

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment growth in the property management field is expected to increase by 8 percent from 2008 to 2018. Management of senior citizen housing and health care facilities offer particularly good industry opportunities. If your aspiration is to become a California property manager, begin by pursuing education and experience in the real estate field.

  • Consider pursuing a college degree. California does not require a college degree to become a property manager, but an associate or bachelor's degree is desirable to employers, especially if you are new to the real estate industry. Get your degree at an accredited junior college or California state university. Choose a major and coursework related to business or real estate. Some options include accounting, business management, public administration and real estate.

  • Gain experience in the real estate field. Apply for employment as an unlicensed staff member at a real estate sales office or property management firm. Perform administrative duties and become familiar with operating procedures, documentation requirements and industry jargon. Network with property management professionals for future employment and business opportunities.

  • Obtain a real estate license. Anyone who, with the expectation of compensation from the property owner, solicits a rental listing, negotiates a lease or collects rent must have a valid estate license.

    Apply for a sales agent license if you plan to work for a property management firm. Pursue a broker's license if your ultimate goal is to become self-employed as an independent property manager. Qualifying for the broker's exam requires full-time employment in the real estate field or a four-year college degree. Refer to the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) website for exceptions and additional application requirements.

  • Secure a position at a property management company as an assistant manager. Gain on-the-job training while working closely with senior property managers. Learn to interact with owners and prospective tenants. Prepare market analysis reports, input rental listings and collect listings as directed by your employer. Apply for a promotion to a property manager position after six months to one year of experience.

Tips & Warnings

  • Gain recognition as a certified property manager. Professional associations such as the Institute of Real Estate Management offer industry courses and certification opportunities.
  • When working as support staff to a property management firm, understand what tasks require a real estate license. Don't jeopardize your career by performing property management tasks while unlicensed.

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