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A career in Property Management

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Sharee Aitken, Property Recruiter for Cobalt shares advice and answers some key questions about Property Management careers in New Zealand. 

How do I get into Property Management and is a degree essential? What are some common pathways into Property Management?

A qualification in property is a prerequisite for many New Zealand employers in the property industry.  It can really set apart candidates from others that don’t have those academic skills.  Common pathways include residential property management, database, analyst or research positions. These roles are often available to students while studying simultaneously.  Many universities run evening networking events that match students with employers in the industry so it’s a good idea to actively check your university job board for these great events.

In New Zealand, property centric degrees include:

  • University of Auckland (Auckland City) – Bachelor of Property

  • Massey University (Auckland North)– Bachelor of Business Studies (Valuation and Property Management)

  • Lincoln University (Canterbury) – Bachelor of Land & Property Management

What are the most important skills for a Property Manager?

Communication Skills
A Property Manager communicates with a lot of different stakeholders who often expect everything to be done yesterday so it’s important that you can multi task and be flexible in your approach depending on the person you are dealing with, whether it’s owners, tenants, contractors or your peers in the workplace.

Property Managers are responsible for generating revenue for the owners and managing the expenses for the asset, so financial skills are essential.  Qualifications in banking, finance, or accounting can be very advantageous for this position.  Key areas for the knowledge bank for a Property Manager include NZ building legislation, housing laws and other real estate regulations pertaining to the NZ Tenancy Act, as well as building warrant of fitness. 

People Skills
The ability to work with all types of people and personalities is one of the most important characteristics of a Property Manager.  They must have a friendly and positive attitude.  Previous experience in any customer service related role is helpful, while being patient, tolerant, and having a temperament to handle issues and complaints in a rational manner is important.

This is paramount when dealing with tenants, clients, owners, employees and vendors.  Separating emotions from the business decisions and treating everyone impartially is key.  Property Managers must be friendly, dependable and responsible, whilst remaining patient and calm under pressure.

The ability to prioritise will assist in your success greatly.  You will need to be well organised, and remain focused to accomplish the most important items on the to-do-list. Organisation of due dates for inspections, lease payments, work orders, financial statements, and expenses need to be well organised and documented in a systematic manner.  Without organisation, important elements can be missed and are costly.  Paying attention to the finer details protect landlords, tenants and the business as a whole.

Who will you be working with? 
Successful candidates may be working alongside a Senior PM or Asset Manager or a Head of the Property department.  Your knowledge gained working alongside senior people with key experience will advance your skills quickly.  Be ready to soak up the knowledge, roll your sleeves up and get stuck in.  Remember to ask lots of questions and apply your knowledge.

Will you be exposed to most areas of the business?
In the commercial industry,  you may be exposed to senior members of the team, management, finance managers, marketing teams, analysts, development managers to name a few.

What will a Property Manager in New Zealand earn?
At graduate level to 2/3 years experience, salaries can start at approximately 40K to 50K and be extended to 50-70K depending on the practice, performance and company growth.

What benefits should you expect?
Benefits in Property Management can vary.  Some packages include a base salary, vehicle use and petrol allowance. Other incentives can include insurance and commissions gained for business developed.

Job hunting can be full of uncertainty. But with us, you can be sure that we’ll do everything we can to get you to your ideal job. Send your CV to us to get started or search for the latest job vacancies and we’ll get the ball rolling.