10 Best Property Management Courses

10 Best Property Management Courses

The real estate market continues to boom. The old investment adage “safe as houses” has never been more true. As developers race to build enough homes for the burgeoning population and new real estate developments spring up like concrete wildflowers across cities, there has never been a more lucrative and reliable time to get into the property market and build a career.

This ongoing suffusion of newly available properties and the rise of the rental market has meant that property management has become a superb career to move into. Whether you are renting out a small AirBnB or looking to take charge of a real estate empire, knowing the basics of property management and how to effectively maintain and manage a sprawling portfolio is an incredibly valuable skill.

And you want to learn it! If you’re planning to take the reins of a property, either for yourself or someone else, knowing how to deal with tenants, ensure all licenses and regulations are met, and boost the value of your properties with simple sets are skills that are sure to pay dividends. These 10 great property management courses will put you on the right track.

Which Property Management Course Is Right for Me?

When faced with choosing an online property management course, the key is understanding your own ambitions. If you want to secure a career with a large housing developer or get involved in the brutal dogfight of commercial property management, it may be best to look at some of the accredited courses on our list.

The fundamentals of writing a contract, understanding deposits and obligations, knowing your way around regulations, and ensuring your wild-eyed loon of a tenant doesn’t destroy the place just for the fun of it, are all skills that every course on this list covers. So, if you’re just looking to start renting out your first place, even the smallest and most basic course on this list will give you all the tools you need.

The most important thing to consider is where you are in your journey, how adept you already feel, and what your end goals are. For most readers renting out one or only a few properties, an accredited course is overkill. Only consider these courses if you’re looking for a job managing someone else’s portfolio rather than your own.

We go into more specifics and detail about what you can expect to learn in a property management course in our Extra Credit section after our main course list.

A Note on Prices

With popular skills websites like Udemy and Skillshare, there are often frequent and notable discounts on offer. It’s rare to have to pay full price for a course and, if that’s the only option available to you, it can be worth waiting until the next offer rolls around.

Moreover, many of these websites offer further discounts or the entire course for free if you sign up for a monthly fee with their platform.

For simplicity’s sake, we’ve listed the highest possible price you can expect to pay for any of these courses. For academic and institutional courses, the story is different, and the price listed is often what you’re most likely to pay.

So, with that out of the way, let’s get the keys and take a look around the 10 best property management courses available online today.

Top 10 Best Property Management Courses 2021


1. Fundamentals of Residential Property Management

  • 1 hr 36m $24.99 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Taught by: Jacqueline Carrington
  • Level: Beginner
  • Resources included: Lectures

Why we like it

A great course for beginners, but one that doesn’t skimp on some of the more in-depth knowledge required. It is also slightly more holistic in its approach than other beginner courses.

Review

This is a beginner’s course with a slightly larger scope than just “getting your property rented.” Although it covers that effectively, it also takes a slightly more holistic approach and gives you an idea of the skills you might need, attitudes to cultivate, and some expectations about what a career in this industry would look like.

The legalese of property management is also covered in more depth than courses such as property management 101, and it also covers the basics of staff management and how you might look to grow your business as your portfolio grows.

This course, then, is perfect for beginners who are thinking about taking the profession more seriously than just renting out a single property but are not fully decided or don’t really know whether their conception of property management fits with the reality. Perfect for those who want to dip their toes in the water and get some practical skills out of it regardless.

Pros

  • The best simple, holistic introduction to the career
  • All the basics covered with aplomb
  • Simple, clear tuition

Cons

  • No career-defining depth
  • Suitable only for beginners


2. How to Start a Profitable Property Management Company

  • 3 hr 17m Free (with Skillshare Membership) Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Taught by: Ebonie Caldwell
  • Level: Beginner
  • Resources included: Lectures

Why we like it

An excellent course that focuses on creating a property management company as opposed to just developing the skills of property management itself.

Review

If you’re already managing a property or have recently acquired one that you intend to commercialize as part of a larger business, then this is a great course that takes you from beginner landlord to property mogul.

It deals with the fussy details of hiring contractors, more intense legalese such as evictions and nuisance policies, the fundamentals of real estate tax, and how to budget maintenance operations across a wider portfolio.

It also explains how you can offer to take command of another person’s portfolio and maximize it for their benefit – and your own. It talks about your basic fiduciary duties to someone else’s property and how you can take your motley collection of condos and cottages and turn them into a sprawling empire.

There is a good bit of content on return on investment, too, and how the housing market has changed and is changing and how you can take advantage. A great course if you’re a self-starter and want to take it to the next level.

Pros

  • Focuses on property management as an enterprise
  • Has good insight into financial matters
  • Covers legal issues well

Cons

  • Can skip over some of the basics
  • Not long enough to do everything it tries to


3. Managing Single-Family Homes and Small Investment Properties – NARPM

  • 2 hrs $119 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Taught by: IREM
  • Level: Beginner
  • Resources included: Lectures and Exam

Why we like it

A NARPM/IREM-accredited course that focuses on maximizing the revenue from a tiny or single property portfolio.

Review

If you’re looking for a course with a bit more of an educational heft, but your lens of focus is only on renting a single property or two, then this is a great course which still talks about some of the more ethical issues and risk management that you get from a NARPM course but stays within a fairly small remit.

It’s a great primer to the world of property management as a whole. NARPM courses are the gold standard and ultimately lead to full accreditation if you follow the path. This course doesn’t provide that, but it’s a nice taster of a more serious approach to a property management career and the first step on the longer path.

As such, even though you’re only dealing with a smaller property, it does a good job of introducing you to cost-benefit analysis, record-keeping, and reporting systems that will be required should you wish to expand your business further down the line.

It also takes place in a single day, for two hours, between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm – with the course timing announced ahead of time.

Pros

  • Simple basic course from a top provider
  • Covers the essentials perfectly

Cons

  • It’s at fixed times
  • Content can not be replayed


4. IREM Certified Property Manager

  • 18 months $7500-$8500 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Taught by: IREM
  • Level: Advanced (requires experience)
  • Resources included: Extensive

Why we like it

This IREM course results in full accreditation as a CPM to launch a serious, lifelong, full-time career in property management that can take you right to the very top.

Review

If you’re looking to get serious, this course is for you. Taking this 18-month (max) course results in becoming accredited as a CPM (commercial property manager). Once accredited, your CV can be emblazoned with the title, and you can hunt for jobs at the largest property managers and pitch yourself to wealthy property moguls offering to manage their assets.

Naturally, this course is utterly comprehensive, and every nook and cranny of property management is covered so that you can present yourself as the complete package.

However, to get accredited, you will need to pass the exams. Like all courses of higher education, they can be challenging, and you should only take this course if you’re certain you have the commitment and drive to follow through.

With an average salary that’s $70,000 higher than other property managers (whose salaries are not exactly piddling), and a fantastic chance to take on high-level management positions, this is a course for the careerist.

Pros

  • The course if you want a lifelong career
  • Covers everything

Cons

  • Need one year’s experience and active portfolio
  • A true academic and financial commitment


5. Property Management From Ashworth College

  • 4 months (1 year max) Contact Course Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Taught by: Ashworth College
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Resources included: Extensive, including course textbook and access to the Ashworth community.

Why we like it

A lovely halfway house between a fully accredited and expensive course and a casual self-paced study. It has good support and aftercare, too.

Review

A self-paced, flexible study schedule that allows you to take up to a year to complete — but still carrying a diploma from Ashworth college that carries some heft — this is a great online course that takes roughly four months to finish. It’s a great bridge point between a full CPM qualification and one of the quicker online courses you can find on education and skills websites.

One of the advantages this course offers is the access to the larger library of materials Ashworth provides its students, and the jobs and career networks that continue to remain available to you once you complete the course.

Although not fully accredited by NARPM, it’s certainly a course that is recognized within the industry, and the pastoral care, Ashworth community and support network that is available with this course gives it a few advantages over the others on our list.

Materials such as mobile app, Binder, a property management textbook that’s yours to keep, and a learning resource center further augment the offering and makes this a great course if you want a community to go with your learning – despite the fact it’s all online.

Pros

  • Great community and support materials
  • Great halfway house between small course and full certification

Cons

  • The information is available cheaper
  • There is no full accreditation at the end


6. Property Management 101

  • 44 mins $13.99 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Taught by: RYJA Design
  • Level: Beginner
  • Resources included: Lectures

Why we like it

Simple and effective, this online course will arm you with all the basic tools you need to start renting your first property successfully.

Review

This course is ideal if you’ve just acquired your first property or have thought about putting a property you own out for rental but don’t know what the word “lease” means, or you have other large gaps in your knowledge. Property Management 101 is the perfect quick primer to get you assured of the basics of your obligations, and so you know that you are not making any drastic beginner errors.

It’s a fast course, simply presented and designed – as all 101 courses should be – for complete novices. It covers getting the property ready for lease, what you should care about when doing “move in” and “move out” expectations, the legalese, deposits, and all the other requirements so you can get your first property on the market with confidence.

There is very little depth, though; there is nothing beyond the basics. It’s wholly focused on giving you the essentials to actually rent one property out rather than being focused on the career as a whole.

What’s more, each topic is covered very briefly, and although the information you require is there, you will almost certainly need to do some follow up research to let out your property with confidence. If you treat it on that basis, however, it’ll serve you very well.

Pros

  • Learn the basics in one lunchtime
  • Simple and easy to understand

Cons

  • Enormously basic
  • Average production values


7. Effective Property Management Advanced Course

  • 1.5hrs (x3) $89.99 (x3) Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Taught by: Nelius Smit
  • Level: Beginner
  • Resources included: Lectures

Why we like it

A three-part course, this property management journey is very comprehensive and covers all the material an accredited course would — just in less detail.

Review

If you’re looking to start a career in property management or rent out a series of properties but don’t necessarily want to plump for a fully accredited (and expensive) course, this advanced module follows the professionals and teaches you everything you need to run either your own portfolio or somebody else’s.

It focuses on giving you insights into the professional day to day and even spends a lot of time asking you whether it’s not just better to use a management company. Once it’s ascertained you want to go it alone, it shows you the steps to get there. It poses questions other courses might not cover, about whether it’s possible to run properties from a distance (and how you would do that), how to conduct market surveys, and how to formulate market strategies.

In every respect, this is a far more financially-minded course. It’s about maximizing your investment and getting the most money you can out of the properties you have.

Our criticism? It’s unnecessarily divided into three parts — Module 1 covers the basics of managing property, Module 2 explores the ins and outs of rental agreements, and Module 3 goes into brand awareness.

The financially minded element stretches to the course as well, as it’s effectively asking you to pay three times for three separate pieces of content, which in truth should be one long course. There’s also a four-minute lecture on rating the course itself. Some of the topics are covered in very wishy-washy depth, too. It basically drives you to want to use an exterior agent rather than take on the work yourself – which you may be looking for.

Pros

  • Lots of topics covered in a short time
  • Good insight from professionals in the industry
  • Somewhat collaborative

Cons

  • The course should not be split into three
  • Some time is used to get the students to rate the course


8. Accredited Residential Manager Course (ARM) From IREM

  • 2-3 months $1100 (approx) Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Taught by: IREM
  • Level: Intermediate (requires experience)
  • Resources included: Extensive

Why we like it

This IREM course is a great early career option for those looking to be a residential property manager.

Review

If you are in the early stages of a residential property management career, then this certification from IREM will put you in fantastic stead. It will help you rise the ranks either within your pre-existing company or help you forge one, having acquired a sound theoretical basis from which to work.

Covering the core competencies of budget management, leasing, maintenance, evaluating risk and – most importantly – creating an excellent relationship with your tenants so that you can attract and retain them for the long term, this course is packed with all you need to know and gives you the foundation to expand and develop your profession.

As with all IREM courses, it comes with membership to IREM and all that it entails and counts as credit towards becoming a fully qualified CPM. It’s a little tricky, requiring you to pass a 100 question ARM exam, and keep in mind this is not a course for a beginner: you need to have a portfolio of properties already and complete 12 months of experience managing that portfolio. So, this is for the serious careerist.

Pros

  • The perfect first step for a serious careerist
  • Counts as credit towards full accreditation
  • Top provider

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Only focuses on retail, considering it’s so long
  • Requires experience and active portfolio


9. Commercial Property Manager Course (ACoM) From IREM

  • 2-3 months $1100 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Taught by: IREM
  • Level: Intermediate (requires experience)
  • Resources included: Extensive

Why we like it

An IREM course that focuses on commercial property management – an altogether different kettle of fish than residential management.

Review

Commerical property management requires a slightly different skillset than renting out residential properties. Unlike setting rents for residential tenants, which often fits a fairly obvious template based on current market conditions, commercial property is more about making pitches, squeezing the best rent possible out of a business, and tying up massive multi-year contracts that allow you to get the owner of the property the best possible return on their investment.

Moreover, you’ll have a lot more staffing issues when dealing with large commercial properties. This type of management often requires significant efforts towards maintenance, as well as periodic employment of contractors to ensure all regulations are met and licenses maintained. This can be a very large operation depending on the demands and expectations of the client.

This course, administered by IREM, delivers early-career certification as an ACoM in all of these matters so you can launch your career. As part of the benefits of the course, you get to expand your network and meet future employers and your peers. The IREM Membership is bundled into the course, and you will get a crash course in high-end negotiation practices that will stand you in good stead for the rest of your career. It also acts as credit towards a full CPM course.

Pros

  • Great way to start a commercial property career
  • Counts as credit towards full certification
  • Top provider

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Only focuses on commercial considering it’s so long
  • Requires experience


10. Penn Foster Property Management Certificate

  • Self-paced (1 Year Max) $479.99 - $579 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Taught by: Penn Foster
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Resources included: Lectures and Quizzes

Why we like it

This online course from Penn Foster, one of the premier names in property management courses, is a great way to advance a pre-existing career.

Review

An excellent course that does a good job focusing on the legal frameworks required to be an excellent property manager and gives you a solid grounding to look after multi-family residential properties and commercial and single-family properties.

Penn Foster has been accredited for 50 years, and the course is highly respected. It does not shy away from the nitty-gritty; expect to learn and understand financial accounting and the basics of real estate law by the time you finish this course.

As such, this course is probably best for those who have already begun a career as a property manager and are looking to finetune those skills and understand what the necessities are to take it to the next level. That does not mean a complete novitiate couldn’t take this course, only that they should expect to have to study quite hard to keep up with its demands.

One of the advantages of this course is the good support network that comes with it. You get access to a good library of materials and communication with your peers, which means you can get your networking in early. The aftercare of the course is a little less than the Ashworth program, but arguably Penn Foster provides a slightly higher level of education.

Pros

  • Great provider
  • Covers everything
  • Accredited

Cons

  • Content is a little dryly presented
  • Can be slightly overly academic rather than practical



Extra Credit: From Village to Metropolis

Now that you’ve had a gander at the best property management courses available on the internet, let’s look in more detail at how to choose the right one for you. Below is an overview of what general skills you’re likely to learn and the nature of online education before we send you on your merry way.

What Are the Main Things I Will Learn on a Property Management Course?

When you’re thinking about pursuing a career in property management, you may be curious about what the bricks and mortar of the learning material actually consists of.

Obviously, each course’s mileage varies, and some of the more expensive, accredited, and longer courses on this list cover far more information and in more detail. Yet, there are some things that you will find in every course in this list, and that’s what we’ll cover in brief here.

Leases and Contracts

When renting out a property, you’ll want to have a contract. This is in order to set a regular rent and payment schedule and ensure tenants of all shapes and sizes adhere to some basic rules when occupying your property. If you’re renting out a large commercial space like a skyscraper, this contract can be hundreds of pages long with provisions for every single imaginable thing so that the thousands of people and multifarious companies who occupy your space are operating within certain agreed-upon parameters.

More likely, though, it’ll simply be telling rowdy students to not smoke in your once-upon-a-time bedroom and that, yes, you will be coming round every three months to check they haven’t demolished one of the connecting walls to make room for the table tennis table they lifted from the local landfill. A basic property contract that is legal under state law is essential so that you don’t end up on the wrong side of a lawsuit.

Maintenance

Renting a property is easy money, right? Just stick ‘em in and forget about it! Wrong. A good landlord will ensure regular maintenance is done to ensure the property does not fall into disrepair. Whether that’s doing regular checks on the boiler, ensuring the fuse boxes are in working order, or even applying new coats of paint now and again, keeping a property maintained keeps it valuable. What’s more, your tenants will appreciate it (provided you’re not doing “maintenance” every three days), and the property will stand the test of time and – far more crucially – make sure to say within license and regulations.

Licenses and Regulations

Properties are subject to a variety of state and federal laws that must be adhered to consistently. No, you can’t ban service animals. Yes, you have to fix the roof that is leaking, and it is your problem. No hot water? You’re the one calling the plumber. No smoke alarm? Get ready for a life in prison if the place burns down.

Knowing these regulations intimately and ensuring they are kept to is one of your essential roles as a wannabe project manager. The courses on this list will give you varying arrays of advice on what you need to be doing. Some of the courses might only send you to the right resources, whereas the more in-depth ones will explain your responsibilities at length. Any which way, it’s incumbent on you to know what regulations must be kept, and the courses on this list will help you do that.

Money!

Real Estate, like all asset classes, is a money-making enterprise – especially if you’re seeking a career as a property manager. The financial aspects of property run deep and are covered in different depths in these courses. At a basic level, it’s understanding how to set a competitive rent that covers your expenses, possible buy-to-let mortgage, and understanding what is an appropriate rate of return on a standard investment property.

It goes further than that, though. Once you’re managing a large amount of properties and seeking to expand to more, it’s about appropriately evaluating risk, opportunity, and how adding infrastructure and investment to certain properties ups both their yield and resale value, and whether the extra investment is worth it.

It’s also about synthesizing your long-term assets and debt and how to produce a regular rate of return for either yourself or the owner. In short, it’s complex and goes a bit further than X minus Y, especially when you have multiple properties under your management.

People Skills: Tenants, Staff and Clients

Tenants

Property management is as much about people as it is about buildings. If you’re a small housing manager renting to the retail market, then managing tenants is of the utmost importance. That includes ensuring they know the rules and obligations associated with the property, making sure their complaints are handled fairly, quickly and lawfully, and generally not being some odious scrooge rinsing every last dime out the people who have chosen to call your place home.

Staff

Yet it’s not just tenants. Even a small property manager will have a handful of contractors or staff to undertake maintenance or complete audits – and much else besides. If you’re looking after commercial properties, then that can become a much larger cast of full-time employees that are maintaining the lot or skyscraper you are running so that the commercial tenants get the most out of their stay in your property.

Clients

Finally, there are clients. Not only will you have to pitch for the rights to assist a wealthy entity in renting out their skyscraper, but you will also have to keep them sweet and ensure you are getting the best deal out of their commercial tenants. You’ll also have to assure them they are not going to fall foul of any important regulations that could run up a lengthy court case and a bill in the millions.

Finally, you’ll need to negotiate if you’re a commercial property manager. Businesses which have taken flight whilst working in your domain will want to renew, and that’s when you need to be skilled at extracting the best deal for the owners you are working for.

So, property management is just as much about networking as it is about keeping the lights on. It’s certainly a people-person’s profession, and these courses will give you an insight into that in varying degrees.

Accredited or Non-Accredited

You don’t need a certificate to rent out a property. retail property management is often a self-employed enterprise. As you seek to build up your own portfolio of houses that you run for yourself, you don’t need a certificate.

However, to pitch to a client to rent out their property, it’ll certainly help to have some qualifications to boost your chances.

NARPM – the National Association of Residential Property Managers – is the main accreditation body in the US. They often offer courses in association with IREM, the Institute of Real Estate Managers, the body that offers the premier property management courses.

Accredited courses are usually what you need if you want to get in commercial property management rather than residential management. Note that state requirements do differ. If you’re taking a longer, accredited course, you have to check how that course pertains to your individual state.

In that sense, the skills taught are similar in all the courses; it’s just a matter of depth and how much confidence and experience you already have going.

To gain CPM accreditation or to begin that course, you will have to have relevant property management experience beforehand.

The Nature of Online Learning

Online education is booming. With recent events and the advance of technology, it’s also become a lot more effective. High-quality video, interactive tutorials, and online exercises that bring pedagogy to a new level have helped create a multiplicative effect on the effectiveness of online learning.

As such, more and more institutions are switching to online learning and, crucially, course quality is not being sacrificed. Online communities are a lot more comfortable and vibrant than they were ten years ago, and this means that you can still gain a sense of inclusion and peer achievement from an online course.

However, be aware that some courses are more focused on being high-quality YouTube videos, whilst others feel a lot more like regular education delivered in an online format.

Sitting back with a cup of tea, putting your feet up, and letting the content wash over you is perfectly reasonable, but it may not get you to the level of knowledge you need to be at. You need to actively learn in order to get the most out of online courses, and different courses make different efforts towards providing that. Some have a great practical component and are follow-along, while others can be a bit light in the additional resources they offer.

If your course is more passive, we at Learning Nest recommend taking active steps to maximize your investment. Take notes. Pause and regurgitate as much of each module as you can. And always seek to put your knowledge into practice. Active learning is half the battle, and even basic pencil scribbles will go a long way towards helping you retain the information in these courses.

Thankfully, unlike going to a lecture hall and hearing from a professor, online courses can often be watched as many times as you like, so don’t worry about not understanding everything the first time round!

An Incredible Estate of Affairs

Property Management is a career that grows and grows. From humble beginnings, you can soon find yourself running whole city districts, holiday villages, and towering skyscrapers. The joy of the profession is the way you can see the buildings under your care starting to cultivate their own business and residential communities, and you can have the satisfaction that you’ve provided a safe, useful — and most of all — profitable climate for you, your clients and your tenants.

These top courses on property management will give you all the tools you need to kickstart your career or get your rental property ticking over nicely and bringing in the tithes. So, enjoy learning the required skills and seeing the monopoly board of life as it continues to fall under your kind dominion.