Considering A Career In Property Management?

    Real estate management professionals are more in demand than ever making property management a viable and lucrative career option for young professionals, career changes, college graduates and Realtors.

    By 2022, job growth for property, real estate and community association managers is projected to increase by 11.8%, or by 35,000 employment positions, based on findings supported by the U.S. Department of Labor. Many Houston Commercial Real Estate firms are already experiencing the challenges that come with workforce gaps and shortage of skilled professionals.

    "The majority of those working in the commercial property management profession migrated to this career via another career. So many have found their way accidentally, and then loved this line of work due to its diverse duties and ability to grow from each challenge. No two days are alike and that appeals to people who want to be active and engaged and make a difference," says Jo D. Miller, Executive Director of the Institute of Real Estate Management, Houston Chapter (IREM) which is a professional organization of 700 commercial property managers.

    For the newcomer, whether making a transition or just beginning their journey, what skills are necessary and where do they start? A handful of industry professionals offer their backgrounds and insider knowledge on what they consider prerequisites for real estate management.

    Multitask Much?

    There is an increasingly broad role to play in day to day operations, so possessing a wide range of skills is important in real estate management. A lawyer, salesperson, accountant, psychologist, teacher, financial advisor, IT troubleshooter, event planner, web designer, contractor, public relations representative – these are all professions with relatable real estate management skills that are implemented every day.

    Pius K. Leung, CCIM, CPM, CIPS is Principal of SPAK Interests, Inc., and began his career as a property accountant prior to making many accomplishments in the real estate industry. Leung says the ability to work with people is essential in any real estate position. “I have worked in the property management, investment brokerage, real estate software industries and knowing how to work with people is probably one of the prime commonalities.” He also credits adaptation and flexibility as necessary skills for a career transition. 

    James Sinclair, CCIM, CPM, is a Property Manager for Brookfield, went from producing and directing live television newscasts to managing office buildings. “Being able to present yourself to a potential employer as someone who has an interest in the field, who cares enough about it to learn, and who can bring something valuable to the table can mean the difference between success and failure in an interview.”

    A helpful 3-hour seminar can help you decide if Property Management is right for you. Introduction to Property Management was written and is taught by by real-world practitioners and is only offered once per year.

    “Discipline, training and a great attitude are significant to changing industries,” said Kathryn Currier, who transitioned from residential real estate with Heritage Texas Properties to Senior Accountant for Transwestern.

    It’s All About Who You Know (It Really Is).

    Networking is the number one way of discovering those hard-to-find, never-advertised job opportunities. The phrase “it’s all about who you know” could never be truer when it comes to the commercial real estate industry. According to a report from ABC News, 80% of today’s jobs are landed through networking. This percentage of networkers represents smart jobseekers who understand that looking for and finding work Being involved in professional real estate organizations is fundamental in a job search and for receiving the many benefits this industry has to offer.

     “Join one or more of the trade associations and be actively involved in the association you decide to join. Organizations such as IREM, CCIM, SIOR, CREW, NAR, etc.,” said Leung, who has been active in industry associations for over 30 years.

    Networking Tips:

    • Make a list of everyone you know in real estate. This is the beginning of your career database. Meet with them and get their insight.
    • Stay in close touch with college professors and coworkers from previous employment – it’s all about who you know!
    • Be a good listener. Ask questions, listen to the answers and follow up with another question. Get business cards. Take notes.
    • Always carry business cards. Everywhere you go is a network opportunity, so never forget them and keep your contact information current.
    • Join a professional organization and attend conferences.
    • DO: have a plan before you arrive, give more than just your name, dress appropriately and allow others to join the conversation.
    • DON’T: interrupt, avoid eye contact, forget their name, get stuck with an egomaniac or forget those you want to remember.


    Who Ya Gonna Call? Your Best Resource, of Course!

    Commercial real estate is a fluctuating business yet companies are continuously searching for new and experienced industry talent. Whether office, multifamily or industrial, those who specialize in this field are invaluable to their investor or owner, particularly during an economic decline.

    “The best resource for someone thinking about getting into the commercial real estate business is someone in the industry. Talk to them and really find out what they do on a daily basis. Find out their likes and dislikes and what challenges you will have,” said Sean Alley, CPM a Property Manager at Brookfield. 

    “I truly believe in training, get to know the market, soak up as much as you can from people that have been in the business a long time. If you are starting out in this industry, you need to work with someone who has been in the business for a while so you can learn as much as possible,” Currier stated.

    “IREM has helped me create my support network! Whenever an issue comes about that I am unfamiliar with I am able to connect with my peers and mentors to develop an action plan based on a variety of experiences, not just mine,” said Blaire Hoffman, CPM, a real estate developer, broker and manager at Dean Realty.

    “I would spend time with those currently in the field. The more you talk with others who are actively doing what  you want to do, the clearer picture you get of what it’s like and what you have to offer to this truly diverse and rewarding industry,” said Sinclair.

    Professional Organizations:

    • IREM – Institute of Real Estate Management ( An international community of real estate managers. IREM is the home for all industry professionals connected to real estate management – the only organization serving the multifamily and office sectors.
    • BOMA – Building Owners and Managers Association ( A network of professionals involved in building ownership, management, development and leasing.
    • NAIOP – National Association of Industrial and Office Properties ( A national association with over 10,000 members that represent the interest of developers and owners of industrial, office and related commercial real estate.
    • SIOR – Society of Industrial and Office Real Estate Specialists ( The Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS is a leading professional commercial and industrial real estate association. The SIOR network includes more than 2,800 members in 480 cities in 20 countries on six continents.
    • CCIM – Certified Commercial Investment Member ( A CCIM is a recognized expert in the disciplines of commercial and investment real estate.
    • Chamber of Commerce ( Join your local chamber to get involved in your community. Visit the National Chamber of Commerce site to locate your local office.


    Erin Holland is a Senior Property Manager for Stream Realty Partners  in Houston and an IREM Certified Property Manager®. Erin previously worked as a Property Manager for Brookfield, Parkway Properties and Hertz Investment Group.

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