Property, Real Estate, and Community Association Managers

Significant Points

* Opportunities should be best for those with college degrees in business administration, real estate, or related fields and for those with professional designations.
* Particularly good opportunities are expected for those with experience managing housing for older people or with experience running a healthcare facility.
* About 46 percent of property, real estate, and community association managers are self-employed.

Nature of the Work

To homeowners, a well-managed property looks nice, operates smoothly, and preserves the resale value of the property. To businesses and investors, properly managed real estate may result in greater income and profits. Property, real estate, and community association managers maintain and raise the value of real estate investments by handling the logistics of running a property. Property and real estate managers  oversee the operation of income-producing commercial or residential properties and ensure that real estate investments achieve their expected revenues. Community association managers manage the communal property and services of condominiums, cooperatives, and planned communities through their homeowner or community associations.

When owners of residential homes, apartments, office buildings, or retail or industrial properties lack the time or expertise needed for the day-to-day management of their real estate investments or homeowner associations, they often hire a property or real estate manager or a community association manager. Managers are employed either directly by the owner or indirectly through a contract with a property management firm.

Generally, property and real estate managers handle the financial operations of the property, making certain that rent is collected and that mortgages, taxes, insurance premiums, payroll, and maintenance bills are paid on time. Some oversee the preparation of financial statements and periodically report to the owners on the status of the property, occupancy rates, expiration dates of leases, and other matters. When vacancies occur, property managers may advertise the property or hire a leasing agent to find a tenant. They also may suggest to the owners what rent to charge. In community associations, homeowners pay no rent and pay their own real estate taxes and mortgages, but community association managers collect association fees that help pay for a variety of services such as playground, clubhouse, and swimming pool maintenance.

Often, property managers negotiate contracts for janitorial, security, landscaping, trash removal, and other services. They monitor the performance of contractors and investigate and resolve complaints from residents and tenants when services are not properly provided. Managers also purchase supplies and equipment for the property and make arrangements with professionals for repairs that cannot be handled by regular property maintenance staff.

In addition to fulfilling these duties, property managers must understand and comply with pertinent legislation, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Federal Fair Housing Amendment Act, and local fair housing laws. They must make certain that their renting and advertising practices are not discriminatory and that the property itself acts in accordance with all of the local, State, and Federal regulatory and building codes.

Onsite property managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of a single property, such as an apartment complex, an office building, a shopping center, or a community association. To ensure that the property is safe and properly maintained, onsite managers routinely inspect the grounds, facilities, and equipment to determine whether repairs or maintenance is needed. In handling requests for repairs or trying to resolve complaints, they meet not only with current residents, but also with prospective residents or tenants to show vacant apartments or office space. Onsite managers also are responsible for enforcing the terms of rental or lease contracts, such as rent collection, parking and pet restrictions, and termination-of-lease procedures. Other important duties of onsite managers include keeping accurate, up-to-date records of income and expenditures from property operations and submitting regular expense reports to the senior-level property manager or the owner(s).

Some property and real estate managers, often called real estate asset managers, plan and direct the purchase, sale, and development of real estate properties on behalf of businesses and investors. These managers focus on long-term strategic financial planning, rather than on day-to-day operations of the property. In deciding to acquire property, real estate asset managers consider several factors, such as property values, taxes, zoning, population growth, transportation, and traffic volume and patterns. Once a site is selected, they negotiate contracts for the purchase or lease of the property, securing the most favorable terms. Real estate asset managers review their company’s real estate holdings periodically and identify properties that are no longer financially profitable. They then negotiate the sale of, or terminate the lease on, such properties.

Community association managers, by contrast, do work that more closely compares to that of onsite property managers. They collect monthly assessments, prepare financial statements and budgets, negotiate with contractors, and help to resolve complaints. Usually hired by a volunteer board of directors of the association, they manage the daily affairs, and supervise the maintenance, of property and facilities that the homeowners own and use jointly through the association. Community association managers also assist the board and owners in complying with association and government rules and regulations.

Some associations cover thousands of homes and employ their own onsite staff and managers. In addition to administering an association’s financial records and budget, managers may be responsible for the operation of community pools, golf courses, and community centers and for the maintenance of landscaping and parking areas. Community association managers regularly meet with the elected boards of directors to discuss and resolve legal issues or disputes that may have an effect on the owners, as well as to review any proposed changes or improvements by homeowners to their properties, to make sure that they comply with community guidelines. They may also meet to address association finances or discuss long-term planning.



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