Property Management Definition and Types

Types of property managementConsidering a career in real estate? Many agents specialize in a particular type of real estate work. For example, some work with residential buyers or sellers, some sell commercial properties, and some focus on leasing. One of the specialties becoming more and more popular is property management. Some real estate agents run their own property management companies, and others do it as a side hustle on top of their property sales work.

The laws governing property management vary according to where you live. In some states, real estate agents can be property managers only if they hold a broker's license. And in others, property managers need no qualifications at all. There are also a few states where you must have some other specialty certification before you can legally manage properties.

What Is a Property Manager?

Landlords who own investment properties may need help. They may hire property managers to handle the work that comes with renting out their property. Many landlords who don’t live near their rental property or own several units choose a property manager. The standard fee for property management is between 5 and 10 percent of the rent revenue. 

Property managers take care of a wide variety of tasks for the landlord, including:

  • Collecting rent

  • Making mortgage payments

  • Coordinating repairs

  • Completing property inspections

  • Communicating with tenants on the landlord's behalf

The property manager also ensures the property and the owner follow relevant laws and regulations. This is especially important if the property is part of an affordable housing program.

There are four types of property management: residential, commercial, industrial, and special purpose.

Residential Property Management

This type of property manager handles residential properties where a tenant might choose to live long term. Here are some examples of properties that these professionals might manage:

  • Single-family homes

  • Vacation rentals

  • Multi-family homes

  • Townhouses

  • Condominiums

  • Apartments

  • Manufactured homes

  • REO properties

Commercial Property Management

As a commercial property manager, you would oversee many different kinds of non-residential properties. Some examples include:

  • Public accommodations like hotels 

  • Retail properties like malls, restaurants, and gas stations

  • Office properties like real estate brokerages or doctors offices

  • Co-working spaces where professionals rent work space by the day or the hour

Industrial Property Management

When you manage an industrial property, you will maintain and inspect the properties. You'll also serve as a communication liaison between landlord and tenant.

There are specialized duties as well. You must ensure the property complies with building codes and regulations. Other jobs include coordinating real estate tax reviews, bidding for vendor services, and managing staff. Examples of industrial properties include:

  • Heavy manufacturing facilities such as automotive plants and steel mills

  • Light manufacturing factories such as food packaging

  • Warehouses

  • Distribution facilities

Special-Purpose Property Management

According to the Small Business Administration, a special purpose property is designed for a specific use. It may use unique construction materials or have a distinctive layout. Managing this type of property requires special skills. You'll want to be a pro in business management and property law. Here are some examples of special-purpose properties:

  • Theaters

  • Sports arenas

  • Resorts

  • Senior care facilities

  • Schools and universities

  • Places of worship

Jump Start Your Property Management Career

If you're interested in managing properties, start by earning your real estate license. Enroll in one of our real estate courses today, and you'll be well on your way toward a career in property management.

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