It’s back to school month and with that in mind I want to focus on why continuing education is important in property management. Some of us love learning so taking CE classes is up our alley. For others, it isn’t a high priority especially when juggling a million tasks and just trying to keep your head above water. I hope the following will highlight and convince you of the importance of continuing education beyond keeping your licenses renewed and active.

  1. Risk Management

If your state requires licensing to work in or own a property management business, then you will have continuing education requirements to keep your license in good standing. Second to the requirements the larger reason for investing in your education is to understand how best to manage the risk of being in property management. Property Management is a career choice fraught with liability from all angles – Owner Clients, Tenants, Vendors, Employees, and Accounting. Staying educated through webinars, classes, workshops, attending conferences and monthly trade group meetings will keep you at the forefront of what is happening in the industry and how to protect yourself, clients, and the business.

If you are new to property management or looking to start your own business, it is imperative that you seek out education and mentors. What you don’t know you don’t know. Mistakes will be made but you want to mitigate and lessen the risk by having a support system and resources to access such as a good attorney to advise when necessary.

  1. Professional Development

If you are going to invest your precious time into your craft, you must make professional development a priority. Continuing education increases knowledge and builds expertise to grow into a professional that has a career not just a job. Professional development includes not only increasing your experience but giving back to colleagues and the industry through mentorship, teaching and volunteering. Continuing education contributes directly to best practices in business operations, staff development and ultimately profitability. We can’t expect continued success without investing in ourselves. As business owners and leaders, it is our duty to set an example for others to emulate. We can’t do that if we are an empty vessel.

Curiosity and problem solving are key characteristics to possess in property management. Those that truly are open to learning ask questions and lots of them. Be curious and not afraid to ask for help. Curiosity is the answer to problems, and we have a stream of problems to solve daily in property management. You don’t have to have the answer, just the ability to seek out the answer. Educate yourself so that you are confident in your decision making and problem-solving abilities.

  1. Elevating the Industry

When you actively participate in your own development, contribute to the industry, and extend your knowledge to colleagues you elevate the profession which hasn’t always had the best reputation among property owners. 75% of rental housing is still self-managed. As tenant rights laws accelerate, the need for experts in property management will increase, and the value that you bring to the table will be recognized and sought out. Professional property managers will then have a seat at the table in crafting legislation that is common sense and serves the needs of all involved with housing for the betterment of property owners and residents alike.

Continuing education is meant to extend to the greater public. Creating awareness of what professional property managers do is on all of us. For the property owner who has managed themselves they don’t know the current laws, don’t use legal and current documents, and don’t understand the benefits that working with a professional brings.

Covid and the eviction moratorium showed us that as professionals we do a better job screening and placing tenants than private owners do on their own. In surveys conducted by NARPM professional property managers had less than 1% nonpayment of rent during the eviction moratorium period. All the sad stories of property owners not receiving rent for three years were usually property owners who manage themselves.

It is imperative to continue to educate yourself, your clients and the community through statistics, best practices, legislation and by attaining professional designations so that property owners can make better informed decisions when owning and managing their real estate. The smart owners will seek out professional management.

As a kid you looked forward to summer vacation and although you probably won’t admit it, you loved going back to school to see friends and to learn new things. As adults, learning never stops. Seek out continuing education in all its forms and you will have a rewarding career in property management.