Steps to Becoming a Property Manager in Washington

Learn about the steps you must take to lease properties in Washington, including pre-licensing education, the real estate exam, and application requirements.
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The homeownership rate in Washington is gradually climbing out from under the recession. It's at about 63% as of March 2020. But that still leaves a good chunk of the population out of a real estate agent's potential customer base.

That's why more and more real estate agents have made the smart decision to increase their income by offering leasing services. Professionals who do this work in Washington are called property managers. Since leasing an apartment or home is different from representing buyers and sellers in sales transactions, here's what you need to know to become a property manager in Washington.

What Does a Property Manager in Washington Do?

Before we get into the requirements, let's be sure we understand what the job entails. As a property manager in Washington state, your day-to-day responsibilities might include finding and screening prospective tenants for a property on behalf of the owner. You might also:

  • Negotiate lease terms
  • Collect rent
  • Contract out repairs and maintenance
  • Facilitate communication between landlord and tenant

Do I Need a Real Estate License to be a Property Manager in Washington?

Yes. To become a property manager in Washington, you must first be licensed as either a real estate broker or managing broker. To get a Washington broker license, you must be at least 18 years old, have a valid Social Security number, and have a high school diploma.

After that, you have to complete the 90-hour pre-license education and pass a real estate exam.

Once you have completed those requirements, you'll submit an application, fee, and background check to the Washington State Department of Licensing, Real Estate Commission.

How to Become a Property Manager in Washington

Let's go through the process step by step so you know how to snag your first property manager job in Washington.

Step One: Complete Pre-Licensing Education

As long as you meet the age requirements and have a high school diploma and Social Security number, you can get started on your real estate classes. You will need to take 90 hours of pre-license real estate education from a state-approved school. The course must include 60 hours of real estate fundamentals and 30 hours of real estate practice.

Step Two: Pass the Washington Real Estate Broker Exam

This exam is designed to test your knowledge of real estate law, principles, and practices, as well as mathematics. You’ll have three and a half hours to complete the exam, and you need a score of 70 to pass. The good news is that you'll receive your results immediately after completing the test.

Step Three: Submit Your Application

Once you pass the exam, you will have one year to apply for your real estate broker license. You can apply online through the Washington State Department of Licensing website.

Don't forget to include the fee of $146.25 if you are applying for a broker's license. The fee for a managing broker's license is $210. You must also include a fingerprint background check, which you can obtain through IdentoGO.

Step Five: Get a Job with a Licensed Property Management Company

After you've been working as a broker for at least three years and you meet a few more requirements, you can apply for a managing broker's license and work independently. But as a new real estate broker, you are required to work under a managing broker.

The easiest way to do this when you're starting out is to search job sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter and apply for property manager jobs. A word of warning: not all managing brokers do property management, so be sure you are applying to a company that does.

Ready for the Next Step?

Now is the time to launch your career as a property manager in Washington. Register for Aceable's 90-hour pre-licensing education course to get started.