Becoming a Building Manager: Job Description & Salary Information

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What are the pros and cons of a career as a building manager? Get real job descriptions, salary information and career outlook data to see if a career as a building manager is right for you.
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The Pros and Cons of a Building Manager Career

Working as a building manager puts you in charge of the day-to-day operation of a single property. To learn a bit more about the pros and cons of a career as a building manager, just keep reading.

Pros of a Building Manager Career
Good salary payoff for education requirements (median salary around $54,000)*
Job location flexibility*
Offers independence and autonomy**
Occupations generally offer job security and good working conditions**
Average job growth (12% from 2012-2022)*

Cons of a Building Manager Career
Long hours fairly common*
Tenant complaints and violations can complicate work*
Potential for high levels of stress**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*NET OnLine.

Essential Career Information

Common Duties

Building managers have many responsibilities related to the day-to-day operations of a piece of property. In order to ensure that property is safe and properly maintained, your work as a building manager will involve frequent inspections of grounds, facilities and equipment. You need to determine if and when repairs are needed. Routinely meeting with tenants is another important responsibility of building managers, since they need to monitor concerns and complaints.

Your work as a building manager will also involve keeping accurate records of income and expenditures related to property operations. This financial information will likely need to be reported to property owners on a regular basis.

Salary Information and Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects average job growth for property managers in the coming years, with overall employment expected to increase by 12% from 2012-2022. The projected increase in the elderly population may lead to especially good opportunities for those with experience managing medical facilities. As of May 2014, the BLS reported a median annual salary of about $54,000 for property, real estate and community association managers.


While some building manager positions may require only a high school education, many employers prefer to hire college graduates. For management positions involving commercial properties, employers often prefer a bachelor's or master's degree in business administration, finance or real estate. Particularly for prospective building managers without much practical experience, a degree in a business-related field is often necessary.

Organizational skills are important for building managers, as they need to keep track of expenses related to maintenance and repairs. Customer service skills can also come in very handy when dealing with prospective tenants or complaints from existing tenants. Settling disputes and resolving complaints may be necessary in your work as a building manager, so good interpersonal skills and negotiating techniques can also be very beneficial.

What Are Employers Looking for?

If you have some experience in property management, or if you have a business-related degree you want to apply in a career as a building manager, you might find work in a wide range of settings. Some job postings open in May 2012 can give you an idea of the current job market for building managers:

  • An investment company based in Dallas seeks a property manager to oversee all aspects of several retail, office and land properties. Accomplishing financial objectives, maintaining tenant relationships and identifying property maintenance needs are important duties of the position. A bachelor's degree and five or more years of experience are required.
  • A residential care facility in Texas is looking for building managers to work in a group home setting. This is an entry-level position with no specific education requirements.
  • A property management company in California seeks a property manager to lease office space to commercial and medical tenants. In addition to leasing responsibilities, the position also involves supervising building operations and tenant improvement projects. A bachelor's degree and 2-5 years of managerial experience are required.

Standing Out in the Field

An increasing number of employers prefer to hire a building or property manager with a college degree, according to the BLS, so a business-related bachelor's degree is probably the best way to make yourself a more attractive candidate. Earning an advanced degree in business administration, finance or real estate can give you an edge over many other jobseekers.

Certification is another way you can set yourself apart from other prospective building managers. The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) offers the Certified Property Manager (CPM) designation to property management professionals. This credential covers residential, commercial, retail and industrial assets. If you have a college degree, you can earn the CPM certification by passing an exam and completing a short management training program.

Alternate Career Options

If you'd like to apply your skills in managing daily operations in an office setting, you might want to consider a career as an administrative services manager. These positions involve planning and coordinating supportive services for an organization. Administrative services managers often have a bachelor's degree, although many positions require only a high school education combined with work experience. As of May 2010, the BLS reported a median annual salary of about $80,000 for administrative services managers.

If staying in the property and real estate world is your objective, you may want to consider working as a real estate broker or sales agent. Many real estate sales professionals are self-employed, and the BLS projects average job growth in the coming years. Real estate brokers and sales agents generally need a high school diploma and licensure. The BLS reported a median salary of about $59,000 for real estate brokers as of May 2011. Real estate agents earned closer to $39,000 in that same timeframe, the BLS noted.

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