From sales to property management – the career transition you don’t hear about

When it comes to career transitions within the real estate industry, there’s a natural tendency to focus on the oft-discussed move from property management to sales. But is sales really the holy grail of real estate? For many, the answer is a resounding yes.

For Property Manager Rebecca Fogarty though, the lure of property management pulled her away from a career in sales, resulting in a fulfilling role, offering her the illustrious work/life balance so many of us long for.

“I fell into sales when my son went to school,” says Fogarty.

“I made a few sales but at the expense of my weekends and nights with my family. A role in PM came up and I decided to make the move.”

And she’s never looked back, forging a successful career in property management that she finds both rewarding and fulfilling.

“I always say that sales is the date and PM is the marriage,” says Fogarty.

“Sales is a transactional relationship where PM is a longer term trust relationship.

“The main trait a property manager needs to possess, I believe, is the passion to help people.

“Sales agents need skills in negotiation but PM is more mediation.

“The difference being that negotiation is getting a good outcome for both parties, while mediation means getting a good outcome for both parties, that they feel good about.”

So, why is it that we hear so many stories of property managers moving into sales, rather than the other way around?

Fogarty says it comes down to one thing – money. Or at least, the perception of money.

“PM is not the highest paid industry by far considering the skills required.

“PM’s are sitting in the office while some sales people are settling on a sale commission that may be one quarter of the PM’s annual wage.

“Sales also has more of a prestigious feel.”

While the transition in reverse is rare, Fogarty says it’s been the right fit for her.

“I love helping people and have built a good business on customer service.

“I enjoy the relationship building and helping people through a tough situation.

“Sales people do this too, but then the relationship is over. For me it’s a continual build.

“You are never ‘over’ or ‘finished’ in property management. It’s just about prioritising tasks, it’s the ultimate multitask job!”

But while some skills and attributes do differ between the roles, there are plenty of characteristics that sales agents can bring to property management.

“BDM style skills are great because you still need to ‘sell’ houses, just to tenants not buyers. You also need the confidence to be able to handle difficult situations.”

If you are going to take that less common leap from sales to property management, Fogarty suggests starting from scratch.

“Most sales agents can move into PM straight away but I don’t recommend it.

“There are so many more laws governing renting than there is selling. Do the full PM course at the REIQ first, then shadow a property manager.”

Make the transition the right way, and reap the benefits, of which there are plenty says Fogarty.

“Stability of market.

“Sales can ebb and flow but there are almost always people renting and investing.

“This then means good steady income.”