With multifamily buildings, who is in charge of the property and how well those people are trained are critically important factors in the successful operation of the community. Board members are a part of this management class, which is often shepherded by a competent property manager. But all property managers are not equal in their abilities and knowledge; the smarter ones try to bridge the gap.
The best property managers stay current in their industry by keeping abreast of new developments in building technology, administration and communication. While networking with other professionals is a way to stay up to date and reading industry publications like The Chicagoland Cooperator also helps, few things are better for a manager’s professional development than taking continuing education courses.
Where to Learn?
Opportunities abound, since there are many classes and enrichment programs available to Chicagoland’s property management professionals. These programs are not only an industry requirement for some, they also help improve one’s professional skills and can help advance careers. Maintaining certain professional accreditations with industry associations also necessitates taking such classes. And to professionals like Randy Rosen, president of Rosen Management Services in Chicago, continuing education is essential to competency. “I am a big believer in people being licensed, getting professional designations and continuing to learn their trade,” Rosen says. “I also believe that formal classes—whether in a classroom setting or online—are essential to property managers keeping abreast new innovations, ethics and so forth.”
According to Alan Toban, founder of the Real Estate Institute in Niles, the state of Illinois requires property managers have a brokers license if they provide any service that aids in the selling or leasing of property, as of 2012. Community Association Managers (CAMs) are also required to hold licenses, according to the Community Association Institute’s Illinois chapter (CAI-IL). There is a 12-credit-hour continuing education requirement for each two-year renewal cycle that property managers must fulfill in order keep their licenses valid. Out of the 12 required CEU hours, six have to be out of a category considered to mandatory and cover topics such as fair housing, federal anti-trust issues, Illinois property law updates, instruction on working with the public and handling agency relationships, Toban explains. Elective courses include topics such as risk management and ethical practice. Property managers looking to gain CEU credits to renew their licenses can earn 12-credit hours through REI’s self-study program for $85. If only interested in taking a single enrichment course, REI has options starting at $35.
Multiply & Diversify
Property managers must wear many hats in their jobs, and this means having a strong understanding of all the different facets their position entails and more. “The marketplace needs are always changing, so in order for property managers to really stay on top of changes, they really need to keep up educationally,” says Sharon Peters, public relations manager of the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) based in Chicago. “The requirements and duties that they had 20 years ago have evolved. A lot of them are getting into asset management in addition to being responsible for bricks and mortar. If they really want to up their mobility in a career, then we encourage all of our members to take classes. Because things are changing, and if you want to succeed you really need to pursue lifelong education,” Peters says.