Ways into the apartment business

I met with a reader of this blog last week (hi Christina!) to discuss how she could get started in the apartment business. I spent a bunch of time blabbering to her and then realized that some of what I had said might interest those of you who are also considering making a career in this industry.

We discussed several ways into the business. The first was through the property management side. I suggested to Christina that she try to find a resident manager position at a large apartment complex.

Resident managers are typically employees of either the owner or the management company. Their job is to handle maintenance issues (by taking complaints from tenants and making arrangements for repairs), rent vacant apartments, collect rents, and generally keep an eye on the building.

In exchange for the above, resident managers typically receive a free or discounted apartment. And, most importantly for someone trying to get into the management business, they offer experience plus face-time with the management company. Do a good job as a manager of one complex and you are likely to find yourself offered a job with the management company overseeing multiple complexes.

Where do you find these sorts of positions? Well, Craigslist is, as always, a good place to start. You want to go to the main page and click “real estate” in the “jobs” section. Look for listings with “resident manager”, “on-site manager”, etc. in the title. I just looked for five minutes and found seven suitable jobs.

Incidentally, I’ve never understood why more people don’t look for these kinds of jobs – even people who aren’t that interested in real estate. If you don’t have a lot of money and you’re looking to get rich, you could do a lot worse than finding a way to live for free (and thereby accumulate capital by saving).