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How do I Become a Commercial Property Manager?

Harriette Halepis
Harriette Halepis

Commercial property managers are responsible for maintaining and promoting commercial spaces. These managers often perform various job-related tasks including selling spaces, fixing structural problems, and renting available suites. Therefore, in order to become a commercial property manager a person must possess a number of different skills. Often, property managers of this sort begin their careers in the maintenance field.

It is not uncommon for a maintenance professional to obtain a job as a property manager. Since those within the maintenance profession already know how to fix, maintain, and scrutinize commercial spaces, these people are perfect candidates for the job of property manager. People who have held various other managerial positions may also be selected for the role of property manager.

Commercial property managers may buy and rent out vacant storefronts.
Commercial property managers may buy and rent out vacant storefronts.

In addition to the various tasks listed above, the position of a property manager includes scheduling building repairs, evaluating other employees, comparing building costs, keeping records and reports, and negotiating contracts. In short, in order to become a commercial property manager, a person must be able to critically look at the management world.

Commercial property managers might oversee day-to-day operations at a shopping mall.
Commercial property managers might oversee day-to-day operations at a shopping mall.

While some property managers have obtained university level management degrees, most managers do not have one specific type of educational training. Instead, in order to become a commercial property manager, candidates must demonstrate on-the-job experience. Employers of property managers also tend to hire candidates that are trustworthy, since a large portion of this position may require handling large sums of money.

Successful property managers stay abreast of the commercial real estate industry. Frequently, employers rely upon property mangers to make real estate suggestions based upon learned information. This difficult task can only be accomplished if a manager has up-to-date knowledge regarding the present real estate market. Thus, managers with extensive real estate knowledge are often in high demand.

The best way to become a commercial property manager is to secure a management position within a smaller company. This can be accomplished by applying to various jobs through an employment agency. After a few years of managerial experience, candidates can hope to advance within a company in order to become a commercial property manager. More often than not, property managers have proven track records within the management field.

Since developers and owners of large commercial buildings need to rely upon a wise managerial source, the role of a property manager will always be a sought-after one. Candidates who love the real estate business, enjoy working with people, and possess great organizational skills will thrive within this profession.

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Discussion Comments


@everetra - While I do agree that a management background gives you an edge in becoming a good property manager, I think that realtors entering this profession can be even more successful right from the start.

They know a lot of things you need to know about the real estate market, including current laws and licenses and so forth. If you want to enter this profession (and you’re not a realtor) I would at least consult with a realtor and see if they can point you in the right direction and provide you with valuable resources.


@allenJo - That’s true, but in either case I think your success may be limited by other factors as well. You’re in the real estate industry and of course that is cyclical; it has its ups and downs.

In the area where we live we have parts of downtown with tons of unused office space as a result of economic downturns. Of course I expect that to pick up at some point, but until then, it’s tough sledding to be a property manager – even if you have energy efficient windows or other amenities installed.

You have to work twice as hard to find tenants and I think you need to throw in some other perks to sweeten the pot. Some businesses may decide to sub lease for example to split the rental costs, and you can offer this option to help lure businesses to rent office space.


I think a successful property manager will always look for ways to keep costs low as he maintains the property. This is why the maintenance technician has an upper hand in this field.

One of the most challenging aspects of any real estate project is to know how to fix the property in a way that doesn’t bust your budget. That’s certainly the way it is with home ownership and I believe that it holds true for the commercial property manager.

I would place energy efficiency updates at the top of the list for updates to the property that will help to keep energy costs low. I think it will also help to attract new tenants, too, who are more conscientious about energy costs as well.


There are all kinds of commercial property managers so it is hard to point to one general path to become one. But I think there are a few general skills and subjects that someone should master before they think about managing commercial properties. It makes the job easier and increases your chances of getting a job.

First you should know about leases and real estate law. This can be both complicated and consequential. Having a background in this will help you in a hundred ways. Also, you should know how to deal with people. You have to be both a cop and a salesman. Finally, you should understand the real estate market in the place you are trying to get a job. Real estate is competitive. Knowing who you are up against will give you an advantage.


My parents are commercial property managers. They own two old industrial building and they rent out space in the buildings to various other businesses.

They kind of backed in to this line of work. They owned a business that made cabinets for a number of years and it operated out of one of the buildings. They retired and closed the business but they still had this big old building on their hands. They did some mild renovations and started renting it out to other small businesses.

It doesn't seem to take up a lot of their time or be a huge source of stress. They have the occasional headache when a major repair is needed or a tenant misses the rent. But in general it seems like a very easy way to make some money.

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    • Commercial property managers may buy and rent out vacant storefronts.
      By: michelaubryphoto
      Commercial property managers may buy and rent out vacant storefronts.
    • Commercial property managers might oversee day-to-day operations at a shopping mall.
      By: Photocreo Bednarek
      Commercial property managers might oversee day-to-day operations at a shopping mall.