Envisioning the job of a property manager can be viewed in many different ways depending on the person. A passive rental real estate investor might view it as a company employee who is taking excellent care of their property. A hands-on landlord might want to take on the job themself to outsource as many tasks as possible. A real estate job-seeker might see it as an exciting opportunity to oversee rental properties and help tenants. No matter which way the job of being a property manager is viewed, its role in rental real estate is extremely important for ensuring that the property is operating at its most efficient and profitable capacity.
What Do Property Managers Do?
The day in the life of a property manager can vary depending on how many properties (or units) they oversee and also what type of rental property they manage (commercial rentals or multifamily rentals). Although there are different types of property managers, there are overlapping job duties that exist no matter what type of rental property being managed which include Rent Collection, Leasing, Budgeting, Non-Payment of Rent Legal Proceedings, Maintenance Requests, Resolving Tenant Disputes, and overseeing third-party vendors for maintenance and construction.
What Is A Remote Property Manager?
According to ZipRecruiter, a remote property manager handles the day-to-day management of a rental property including responsibilities such as explaining lease terms to a new tenant, coordinating any maintenance of the buildings and grounds, and ensuring compliance with local, state, and federal regulations. Marketing and leasing to find new tenants is usually done via contracting out a real estate agent. While they may be similar in roles, a true property manager should had industry knowledge and experience beyond a generic Virtual Assistant (VA).
So Can A Property Manager Job Be Remote Work From Home?
Since the field of rental property management is vast and oversees many different types of duties, we need to explore both sides of the debate to better answer the above question.
The Case for “Yes”
In all honesty, answering phones and coordinating rental property maintenance technicians can be done anywhere with cellular reception and WiFi. Furthermore, collecting rent can be done electronically via ACH, Wire Transfer, or via an online payment transfer app such as Zelle or Venmo – No more need for someone collecting and depositing physical checks. Lastly, the case for “Yes” relies heavily on leveraging technologies such as digital signatures (DocuSign), video chat (Zoom), smart locks (Sentrilock – Smart Lockbox), and other electronic devices. These technologies eliminate decades old practices of signing a paper lease agreement with a pen or physically walking a property to inspect a repair. The aforementioned points all support the “Yes” case for being a remote work from home property manager, but what about the other side of the debate?
The Case for “No”
As a property manager, you are the “go-to person in charge” for all important decisions to be made. That can be something simple like selecting a paint color, to more advanced responsibilities like an onsite legal issue or life-threatening emergency. While generally 95% of the time on the job as a property manager issues are able to be outsourced, there will always be the 5% of extraneous circumstances that genuinely require a “boots-on-the-ground” person to properly handle the situation. If you are a third-party manager, some owners may prefer and depend on you to be the onsite person on their behalf since they may be far away. Additionally, some states require that a property manager live onsite. For example, California Code of Regulations, Title 25, Section 42, requires property owners of apartment buildings with 16 or more units to have on-site resident managers living on their properties.
While there are strong points to be made for both the “Yes” and “No” camps of can a property manager job be remote work from home, the decision ultimately depends on the property owner. Since the median salary for a property manager is $104,943, it is worth considering valid points of both sides. Some property owners may feel more comfortable that a physical person is around the oversee the property. Other owners may not care if someone is there or not, as long as the property is operating well. Fundamentally, the decision ultimately comes down to the property owner and what they are comfortable with. As the world or work continues to move online, it will be interesting to see how much physically interacting jobs will shift daily duties online.
About the Author
I’m an investor, developer, and property manager with experience in all types of real estate from single family homes, up to hundreds of thousands of square feet of commercial real estate. RentalRealEstate.com is my mission to help anyone break into the world of rental real estate investing.