Being a property manager is one of the best jobs in the world:
- Exercise – walking up stairs, through houses, out into the backyards, every day…
- Travel – in our company cars all over Perth…maybe you have never even heard of Koongamia, Menora or Treeby, now you get paid to travel to those suburbs!
- Variety – every day has a different mixture of tasks, like human relations (both owners and tenants), maintenance management, and financial analysis.
So how do you become a property manager in Western Australia?
1. Training Course
The first step in becoming a property manager is completing a training course that will teach you the basics of the property management industry.
The legal requirements for the training course are outlined in regulation 6A of the REAL ESTATE AND BUSINESS AGENTS (GENERAL) REGULATIONS 1979. Your course will need to be conducted by TAFE, Curtin University (selected units), or a registered training provider.
You have two broad choices, being classroom-based learning or online learning. The classroom-based learning will take longer but you will learn more through being able to discuss issues with the lecturers and other students. The online learning is best suited for those with prior real estate experience, independent learners or those wanting to complete the course quickly.
There are many training providers, here are a few examples:
- REIWA Training the industry standard, the course costs $1,000 and the duration is five consecutive days in the classroom plus a post-course assignment to complete.
- TAFE long course but comprehensive
- West Coast Property Training note this is predominantly a sales-focused course but covers some property management.
Once you have finished the training course and obtained your certificate of completion, you need to continue working through these steps until you apply for registration.
Please note that your course will have plenty of detail about the regulatory framework surrounding property management, but very little of the practical details of your everyday duties.
The timeframe to apply for registration is one year after completing the course.
Many people think that once they have completed the course they are a property manager. Definitely not, keep reading…
2. Australian Police Check
To apply for registration with DMIRS you must first have an original or certified copy of an Australian police check (not more than three months old).
You can apply for the NPC through the WA Police website or at participating Australia Post outlets. The results may take up to 10 business days to issue, plus another 3 to 7 business days for postage if you have requested a hard copy certificate.
Some private organisations also provide NPC, including CV Check. Using a private organisation to obtain the NPC can be faster but may cost a bit more. If you want to obtain your registration quickly, I suggest using the private pathway.
Which ever way you go to obtain your NPC, you will need to pass a 100-point identity check.
Having criminal convictions may prevent you from obtaining registration as a property manager, as you will be entering peoples’ homes and also handling money in trust. Alternatively, some minor criminal convictions may still allow you to obtain registration, but you may have special conditions imposed such as providing an annual NPC to DMIRS.
3. Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) Application
Real Estate is a regulated industry and you need DMIRS registration before you can work as a property manager.
You need to have your certificate of course completion and your NPC before you can apply for registration with DMIRS.
The DMIRS registration process is explained here. The page heading is a little confusing as it says “Sales representatives – real estate”, but you are in the right place. You will be applying for registration as a Sales Representative with your registration restricted to property management only.
4. Receive Registration Certificate
Once you have applied for registration, it typically takes two to four weeks to have your application processed.
Your certificate will give you a registration number like RR82971, which you will use later when preparing official property management documentation.
Your registration will last for three years.
Your registration details will be publicly available here.
You will need to do annual CPD of around 1.5 days training to maintain your registration. This CPD requirement is normally waived in the first calendar year that you obtain your registration, but always confirm this with DMIRS.
You are now a registered real estate representative (property management) but you are not a property manager.
Most newly-registered real estate representatives have absolutely no idea of what they need to do to successfully manage property.
For comparison purposes, if you were learning to drive you have just got your L plates.
5. Obtain Employment
You are now legally qualified to work as a property manager, but the reality is that you know very little about the actual duties involved.
The best way to learn and develop your skill is to start working for a real estate agency.
Common starting positions for newly-registered property managers are:
- Assistant Property Manager – this is your best option as you will be working under the supervision of a senior property manager while you learn the duties.
- Property Manager – some agencies may offer you a job as a full property manager; in particular small agencies who are desperate to fill a vacant position in a portfolio. Most newly-registered people who accept a full PM role will be put under huge pressure, feel overwhelmed and either resign or be fired; alternatively if they make it through the fire there will likely be large gaps in their training and/or incorrect procedures learned.
- Receptionist – this is a slower pathway to learning than an Assistant Property Manager, but it will get your foot in the door of an agency and an exposure at surface level to many aspects of property management.
- Leasing Consultant – you will be doing private viewings and home opens at rental properties. Again a great entrance to real estate, but try to progress beyond this to an Assistant position as soon as possible.
What to look for when selecting a real estate agency to work with:
- Specialisation/expertise in property management
- Most real estate agencies are built around sales and property management is a secondary duty. Seek out an agency that views property management as important and not just the poor cousin that looks after properties until they are ready to sell.
- Medium-sized team
- There needs to be enough people around that someone who knows what they are doing will have time to train you, but not too large that you are lost in the system.
- Family/friendly people
- Well I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time at work so like to have people around me that I can get along with. Property management is stressful enough without having to worry about office politics. Blessed are the peacemakers…
6. Learn the Basics
Congratulations, you are now employed by a real estate agency in a property management role. Your next step is to learn the basics of how to correctly perform the many duties of a property manager.
- Private viewings
- Home opens
- Application for Tenancy
- Background checking
- Lease document preparation
- Induction of new tenants
- Bond lodgement
- Payment methods
- Arrears Management
- Court application
- Routine Inspections
- Trouble-shooting – some maintenance issues can be nipped in the bud by a switched-on property manager, helping out the tenant and saving the owner money.
- Reporting of Maintenance Issues
- Obtaining Authorisation from Owners
- Issuing Work Orders – with the job required clearly described and defined.
- Following up completion.
- Processing payment
7. Master all Tasks
Examples from the three categories include:
- Renewal of existing leases
- Marketing management
- Obtaining new properties to manage
- Breach Inspections
- Final Inspections
- Property Condition Reports
- Managing payments in advance
- Controlling end of month disbursements
- Adjusting partial and incorrect payments
- Representing owners in court – including contested hearings before a Magistrate, not simple uncontested cases before a Registrar.
- Contract dispute resolution.
- Induction of new contractors.
- Supervising renovation projects.
8. Obtain your Own Portfolio
After all this time and effort it is only now that you can truly call yourself a property manager.
You are fully-responsible for a group of owners, properties and tenants. You are now a grown-up with the keys to the kingdom. In driving terms, you are now on P (for property manager) plates. The real fun starts…
Congratulations and well done on completing the groundwork for a successful career in property management.
Following the Bible story of the bags of gold, I say well done, good and faithful property manager. You have been faithful and trustworthy over a few things, now I will make you in charge of many things.
A property manager can not only handle well all the duties listed above, but more importantly can maintain and grow the number of properties under their management without any external input of new managements. In other words, replace all their own losses and more.
The better a property manager gets, the less preventable losses they will have, and the more personal gains they will add.
And for those who have come so far in their journey, remember to continue your education and training to become a licensed real estate agent.
This process is exciting and I hope you have enjoyed the journey of reading through this process to become a property manager. I welcome your application to join my team at HouseSmart Real Estate.
Frequently Asked Questions about becoming a Property Manager
- Are there any particular personality attributes that would make someone a good property manager?
- Personal organisation.
- Action-taker rather than contemplater.
- I was planning to do the course on Sales rather than Property Management, and get registration as a Sales Representative (unrestricted).
- Yes this is technically possible and will give you a wider range of career options. But do you want to work as a property manager or salesperson? The sales representative training course includes around half a day on property management – you will learn practically nothing! By contrast, the standard five-day property management course goes through more detail and you will actually learn some of the systems and procedures required to do your job. Even then, the full property management course is only barely scratching the surface of what you need to know. So I suggest if you are serious about becoming a property manager, do the property management course. You can always pick up a few sales units later if you wish to expand your registration category.
- I have worked as a Sales Representative but not been very successful, should I become a property manager?
- This is a commonly-considered alternative pathway for unsuccessful sales representatives. The attraction is that the sales registration also covers property management (no extra licensing is required), and the sales representative already has some experience in real estate. Although these technical considerations are true, on a practical level I have seen very few successful transitions from sales to property management. Many of the keys tasks to success in sales – discipline, organisation, good personal relations – are the same required to succeed in property management. Sales representatives, before you make this move, consider carefully why you didn’t succeed in sales and whether property management will be any different. If you are simply looking for a regular paycheck and lower-pressure environment, I suggest trying a different industry.
- I own three rental properties and already know how to manage property, I would be a good property manager.
- Is that a question or a statement? Many owner-managers think they have what it takes to be a good property manager, but most are not. As Donald Rumsfeld said, there are known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns. Owner-managers have handled a few tenants and think they have most known knowns, and perhaps a few known unknowns. The reality is most owner managers have many unknown unknowns, property management tasks they don’t even know they need to do. It is possible that an owner-manager can be a good property manager, but you will have as many misconceptions as you will have existing known items.
- I really want to help people, is it a good idea to become a property manager?
- Yes and No. Yes helping people is an excellent motivation if by help you mean provide excellent customer service to tenants and to owners. Yes if you are willing to go the extra mile for tenants, like getting their hot water system going again on a Saturday night. Yes if you want to assist owners to have successful rent-paying tenancies that build their property portfolio. No if by help you mean “giving people a chance”. Always do full due diligence on any application for tenancy, that rental property is likely our owners’ most important investment. You can take chances on borderline rental applications on your personally-owned property, but don’t risk our client’s assets on your warm feelings.
- I am renting myself and my agent is so bad, I could do better than that.
- Great, fantastic, take that enthusiasm and complete the course. Maintain the rage through the whole registration process and email me your freshly-minted registration certificate. Go for it and make a difference in this world!
- Can males be successful property managers?
- Yes for sure. I have supervised over three thousand tenancies and last time I checked I was still male (Adam). The property management sector has traditionally been female, but in the last decade I have seen more male property managers than ever before.
- Do you have any employment vacancies?
- Most likely yes, we are a growing company and often hiring. We advertise our positions on Indeed. I welcome your application for employment. Please note I receive a high volume of employment applications, so any extra individual detail you can include in your cover letter will help your application to stand out from the crowd.