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Real Estate Agent Vs Property Manager: It’s More Different Than You Think

The world of real estate is vast, with property managers and real estate agents occupying the majority of professions within this ever-growing industry. 

When you are on the lookout for an investment property, these two roles are the go-to experts for advice. That being said, new investors confuse the two and often overlap with each other in terms of service. However, both careers are involved in very different niches. 

While we acknowledge that both real estate agents and property managers play essential roles in locating and maximising long-term investment goals, it's vital to have a clearer understanding of their dissimilarities if you are looking to kickstart your career in the property development industry, or at a reputable real estate agency. Having a comprehensive insight into these roles can help you find the profession that best aligns with your career aspirations. 

The following article compares the differences between real estate agents and property managers in terms of the job description, training requirements, and salary expectations. 

Job Descriptions & Responsibilities

Property Managers:

A property manager looks after investment properties on behalf of the owners, landlords and property investors. In rental agreements, they can serve as an intermediate between owners and prospective tenants. Property managers exhibit a sound familiarity with state regulations on a wide range of commercial and residential properties. They possess excellent people skills to effectively deal with all parties involved in a rental agreement. Property managers can also have sales skills and at times, work irregular work hours.

Property managers can supervise and manage the rental responsibilities of multiple properties, from commercial spaces, houses and apartments, offices, industrial areas and retail premises. 

Most property managers in Australia are employed by a real estate agency. 

Job responsibilities include: 

  • Meeting potential renters.
  • Preparing rental contracts.
  • Ensuring rent payments are paid on time.
  • Hiring and scheduling repairs to investment properties.
  • Resolving issues with renters.

Real Estate Agents:

Unlike the former, a real estate agent is a professional responsible for renting, buying, or selling a property. They help clients find appropriate properties to purchase or rent that match their needs. They are also in charge of finding tenants or buyers for their properties. Real estate agents will negotiate with buyers and sellers and prepare contracts to finalise the property purchase. Most Australian real estate agents will specialise in residential or commercial real estate.

Responsibilities range from: 

  • Hosting open houses in the real estate market. 
  • Accompanying potential buyers and tenants looking for/inspecting properties. 
  • Inspecting rental properties and reporting damage, repairs required and lease violations
  • Promoting available properties and recent sales through property listings. 
  • Research into the local property market. Leverage this data to appraise new properties and advise prospective clients about current conditions.

Real Estate Agent & Property Manager Qualification Differences

Real Estate Agents:

To work as a real estate agent in Australia, you are required to show proof of post-secondary education, professional experience, and a licence to practise. The conditions for obtaining a real estate agent's licence vary by state or territory. 

You are also required to complete the following: 

  1. Complete the approved real estate course offered from a registered training organisation, including the Certificate IV in Real Estate Practice (CPP41419). Please note that study requirements vary between states. Check online to learn about your state’s governing body for approved real estate courses.
  2. Obtain at least 12 months of full-time work experience (under the supervision of a licenced real estate agent or agency). Must be completed within 3 years of your real estate licence application.
  3. Apply for your real estate agent’s licence.
  4. Keen on running your own real estate agency? Then we suggest completing the Diploma of Property (Agency Management) (CPP51119).

Property Manager :

Similar to real estate agents, you must hold a valid licence to practise and hold at least a year of experience to become a property manager in Australia. 

Other qualifications include the following:

  1. Completing the relevant VET course, the Certificate IV in Real Estate Practice (CPP41419). The following course teaches how to provide expert advice to buyers, tenants, vendors and lessors for the lease, purchase or sale of a property.
  2. Although not essential, it might be in your best interest to complete a Bachelor of Property and Real Estate. This three-year bachelor degree can provide you a wider range of career opportunities.
  3. As mentioned previously, only property managers who are licensed can work in Australia. Three different categories of licences to work in property management agencies exist including real estate strata, stock and station agent. Check your state’s governing body to apply for the correct licence. 
  4. Fulfil at least 12 months of work experience as well as the class II real estate agent work experience requirement.
  5. Consider taking the short course, Diploma of Property Services (Agency Management). Ideal for those without a bachelor degree and designed to meet academic requisites for a Class 1 Real Estate Licence. You will learn effective administration of a real estate firm, how to process budget, payroll, and finances. You will also be trained on how to control tenancy agreements, and trust accounts.

real estate agent

Real Estate Agents: 

Depending on years of experience and expertise, real estate agents can earn between $65K - $130K, with the average salary sitting at $95K. Projected job growth is expected to increase by 8.5% in 5 years. 

Property Manager:

The typical salary for property managers in Australia ranges from $65K - $75K depending on experience. However, job opportunities for project managers are more plentiful compared to qualified real estate agents. Projected job growth is also predicted to increase by 8.5% in 5 years. 

Can a Real Estate Agent be a Property Manager?

While possible, this heavily depends on the state you are licensed in and the registered organisation where you completed your qualification. Generally, property managers and real estate agents who completed their qualification prior to 2021, may be allowed to operate as both roles as long as: 

  • The state licensing requirement is met. 
  • A proper disclosure agreement is completed to ensure there isn’t any conflict of interest. 

Most states across Australia require real estate agents to have a salesperson licence, which is an essential path to becoming a property manager. However, standalone property management licences also exist. Check your state's governing body to obtain the correct accreditations. 

For example, in WA (Western Australia), The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia has recently updated their training courses to include the 'Unrestricted Registration Course' which allows professionals to work as both property managers and real estate agents. 

If you are determined to grow your career as a property manager or real estate agent, why not consider other job opportunities such as a property appraiser or a home inspector? 

Learn more about these career options by speaking with our property recruitment specialists at Gough.

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