apple and orange | propety managers and real estate agents

Property Managers And Real Estate Agents: What’s The Difference?

It is easy to confuse property managers and real estate agents because of the similar nature of the two positions. But, even though both work in the real estate industry, there are some differences in responsibilities.


Distinguishing Between Property Managers and Real Estate Agents

Investors often interchange the terms “property manager” and “real estate agent.” Though they work in the same field and generate roughly similar incomes, property managers and real estate agents are not the same. Whether you are considering entering the real estate industry or want to purchase a property, it is important to know the difference between property managers and real estate agents.

Is a property manager the same as a real estate agent? Do you have to be a real estate agent to be a property manager? Is there an overlap in duties and responsibilities? Find out below.


Property Managers vs Real Estate Agents: Differences Explained

To truly understand the differences between property managers and real estate agents, it is essential to break it down into four sections: Educational requirements, licensing, salary, and responsibilities.


Educational Requirements

education | filling rental vacanciesTo become a property manager, you must have at least a highschool diploma or GED. Some states also require you to complete a real estate pre-licensing coursework.

Though a college diploma is not mandatory, many property management companies do prefer it. There is no major specifically designed for property management.

However, if you want to have a higher chance of employment, aim for a degree in management, accounting, finance, public administration, or real estate.

On the other hand, you do not need a high school diploma to become a real estate agent. It is important to note, though, that some states require you to complete 30-90 hours of real estate education. Just like property managers, real estate agents with a degree receive more opportunities.



“Do property managers need a real estate license?” This is a popular question many ask when it comes to property management in the United States. The short answer is that it depends.

There are two general types of licenses in the real estate field: the more common real estate broker’s license and the property management license. Depending on state laws, you may need either one or both of these licenses to practice. In fact, there are only six states that do not require you to hold a license to perform real estate-related activities. These are:

  • Idaho
  • Kansas (only for residential)
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Vermont

While every state has its own regulations, a vast majority demand a real estate broker’s license for both real estate agents and property managers.

If you are an entry-level employee at a property management firm, though, you do not necessarily need a real estate broker’s or property management license yet, provided you are working under the close supervision of a licensed person or company.

Instead, you will need a real estate salesperson license, the requirements of which vary from state to state. In general, you must complete certain courses, pass an exam, and have no history of criminal felony charges. You will also need to pay a fee.



Although property managers and real estate agents generally share the same income bracket, they do differ in terms of sources of income. Real estate agents are compensated via commission, earning a percentage of the revenue of the properties they sell.

On the other hand, property managers can either charge a fixed rate or take a percentage of the rent paid to property owners, i.e. their clients. The percentage depends from manager to manager and company to company, though it typically dances between 8 and 12 percent. In 2020, the median salary for real estate agents stands at $47,925 and $49,965 for property managers.



responsibilites | fill vacant unitsPerhaps the most distinguishing mark between property managers and real estate agents are the responsibilities they carry out.

Property managers take care of properties for their owners, whereas real estate agents help with selling or renting out properties. Property managers perform their duties either on-site or off-site, while real estate agents typically work from an office or their home.

There is some overlap between the two real estate positions, though. Both property managers and real estate agents are involved in renting properties. Other than that, here are the responsibilities of each occupation:


Property Managers

  • Advertising rental properties
  • Meeting and screening applicants
  • Drafting rental agreements
  • Setting and collecting rent
  • Maintaining rental properties and repairing damages
  • Communicating with tenants

Real Estate Agents

  • Designing ads and marketing properties
  • Distributing promotional materials
  • Meeting potential clients
  • Describing the property’s significant attributes and qualities
  • Securing the terms of a sale


What Is the Difference Between a Realtor and a Real Estate Agent?

You may come across the term “Realtor” and think to yourself, “Is there a difference between a Realtor and a real estate agent?” Simply put, a Realtor is a real estate agent with an active membership with the National Association of Realtors.

To apply to become a Realtor, you hold a valid real estate license as well as have a spotless professional conduct record. You are also expected to abide by a Code of Ethics created by the association. As such, Realtors are generally perceived to have more credibility and a better reputation. A chief advantage of joining NAR is the ability to attract more clients.

About half of all real estate agents in the United States are members of NAR. Not all Realtors are real estate agents, though. For instance, home appraisers can be members of NAR and carry the title of Realtor.

Of course, that does not necessarily mean Realtors are confined to a specific designation. Can a Realtor be a property manager? In a word, yes. A Realtor can be a property manager provided they have all the necessary requirements.


A Starting Point

Though somewhat similar, property managers and real estate agents are quite different. They have different roles to perform and requirements to fulfill. Learning the distinction between the two occupations will help you decide which one to hire or which one to pursue as a vocation.

If you are in need of an HOA management company, property management company, or real estate agent in Florida, start your search using Florida Property Management’s online directory.