So you've decided to make the jump into the fast-paced world of real estate and become a property manager (PM). If you’re going to succeed, you’ll need to develop a wide range of skills and attain some essential training and qualifications first. To make that a bit simpler, this property training Australia guide is packed with everything you need to know.
So if you want to know exactly what a PM does, or how to make the most of this exciting and dynamic real estate career choice, then read on.
What does a property manager really do?
Being a PM is a varied and flexible role that will differ depending on the size and location of the real estate agency you work in. Larger agencies will have more staff, which will usually mean more specialised property services and greater division of responsibilities. Smaller real estate agents, on the other hand, will require their staff to be more generalised and tackle a wider range of duties.
No matter where you work, you’ll likely be involved in at least some, if not all, of these:
- showing properties to prospective tenants
- advertising available properties
- liaising with tenants, tradies, and owners to solve maintenance issues
- accepting rent payments and chasing arrears
- performing property inspections
- negotiating and renewing tenancy agreements
- handling basic administration duties
- settling disputes between tenants, owners, and neighbours
- creating financial reports
- listing new properties
It might sound like a lot, but as any property manager or real estate agent will tell you, their life is certainly never boring.
How much does a property manager earn?
As with any role, wage expectations will be affected by a range of factors. Those who work in inner-city locations are likely to earn more, as are those who work for larger agencies and manage higher-value portfolios.
Experience also factors in heavily, with assistant PMs earning around $55,000 per year and senior PMs earning around $82,000. Of course, the more you can bring to the table, the higher the wage you’ll be able to attract. That’s why it’s key to ensure your skills and qualifications are up to scratch by taking a property management course and being prepared to put in the hard yards to show employers you’re cut out for the job.
What are the working conditions like?
Most real estate proffesionals alternate between working in and out of the office. While much of the day-to-day will be done from behind a desk, you’ll also be able to get out and about when showing properties and performing inspections.
That said, with all-online cloud-based property management software becoming increasingly common, there’s less and less of a need for PMs to be in the office all the time. Unlike server-based software, cloud-based software can be accessed from anywhere, which means you might have the opportunity to skip the commute and catch up on work from the couch.
While PMs generally work Monday to Friday during office hours, you’ll also need to be ready to pitch for some late nights—particularly around end of month and end of financial year. If you’ll be showing prospective tenants through available properties, you’ll likely also have to work on Saturday mornings.
What makes the best property managers?
Becoming a PM requires many of the skills you’d expect for any professional role: from quick decision-making and clear communication to excellent organisation and attention to detail.
It’s also essential to have great people and negotiating skills, as much of your day-to-day work will rely on having strong relationships with tenants, owners, and tradies. You’ll need to be able to work independently and as part of a team, and be willing to pick up the phone or laptop at odd hours when emergencies crop up.
At least some basic accounting knowledge is another must-have. Becoming a property manager means tackling all sorts of finance-based tasks, including receipting, reconciling accounts, processing payments, and everyday banking. While you won’t necessarily need a formal qualification—unless you’re looking to manage the trust account—the more experience you can bring, the better.
In this day and age, PMs will also need to be tech-savvy to get ahead. As an industry, real estate is moving closer and closer towards fully embracing cloud technology, automation, mobile apps, and other innovations. New entrants into real estate management won’t be expected to be immediate experts, but strong foundational knowledge of technology and software is bound to be an advantage.
One often-overlooked asset is a good working knowledge of the area your real estate agency manages. Keeping your finger on the pulse can make you much more effective, both at selling prospective tenants on a particular property and at enticing new owners to trust you with their investments.
What courses, training and qualifications are required?
In Australia, becoming a PM requires a formal course for real estate and qualifications, but these will vary depending on which state or territory you want to work in and the sort of roles you want to apply for.
At the very least, you will require a real estate certificate of registration and/or a real estate license, which can be done through the relevant Real Estate Institute. These accreditations can be obtained through in-person classes, online short courses in property management, or distance education, so there’s an option to suit every schedule. You also don’t need to currently work in real estate to apply.
It’s worth checking with the relevant Australian property training institute in your local state for up-to-date requirements, as well as information on how and where you can receive the necessary real estate courses and training. The Real Estate Institute of Australia website includes links to the body in each state and territory.
Once you’re qualified, agencies will also generally provide on-the-job training for new recruits. In some cases, prospective employers may even be willing to subsidise the cost of a real estate course to attract more qualified and skilled staff.
While it’s not always essential to go to university or TAFE to become get into the real estate industry, relevant training and qualifications in the field of business, economics, marketing, accounting, and other related disciplines will make you more attractive to prospective employers.
Real estate and property management courses
Whether you’re investigating entry-level real estate courses and qualifications or trying to up your game with some fresh skills and credentials, there are plenty of courses available for those in the real estate industry.
Each state and territory in Australia is home to its own Real Estate Institute: the REIQ in Queensland, for example. As the peak industry bodies for real estate, they offer a wide range of real estate training opportunities for current and aspiring real estate professionals who want to get ahead.
Similarly, the REAA, or Real Estate Academy Australia, provides courses focused around real estate, business, and finance, which make them a great option if you’re keen to improve your career prospects.
If you’re looking to get up to date with the fastest-growing property management and trust accounting software in Australia, then Nebula is the perfect place to start.
Our very own online learning portal offers a growing selection of courses that cover everything from the basics—such as everyday data entry and navigating Console Cloud—to making the most of more advanced features like workflows and automated communications. Your progress is automatically tracked as you move through each course, and they’re divided into bite-sized chunks that are easy to fit into a busy schedule.
To bring you even more value, we’ve also partnered with a number of other industry organisations including RED, Australia’s leading industry consultancy and broker of real estate agencies, businesses, and rent rolls.
These partnerships will allow Nebula to offer even more specialised subjects, empowering you to take your real estate career—and your agency’s growth and success—to new heights. Keep checking back, as we’ll be continuing to update the site with new courses all the time.
Property management is a relatively straightforward field to get into, and there are usually plenty of roles available for motivated, qualified, and ambitious individuals. Be prepared to learn on the job, and don’t be discouraged if it feels like there’s a lot to get your head around.
Once you’ve got your foot in the door, this role can be a great springboard to other careers, as well as a fulfilling and exciting career in and of itself. Many PMs later move into sales roles or even start their own agencies, so if you have the desire, then the sky's the limit.