In Illinois, a property manager handles different tasks, such as negotiating lease terms and vetting prospective tenants for a rental unit. Other key responsibilities may include showing rental properties, collecting rent payments or security deposits, and setting contract terms.
Furthermore, under Illinois property management laws, all of these activities fall into the real estate category, and anyone providing assistance intended to sell or lease a property requires a license.
If you plan to become a property manager in Illinois, you should learn about the licensing requirements, eligibility criteria, qualifications and certifications you need, and more. Fortunately, you can find all those details here.
What Is a Property Manager?
Property managers are professionals who handle operations related to real estate, such as leasing commercial or residential properties.
In some cases, property managers may also oversee a rental unit when owners are unable or don't want to manage their properties themselves. Therefore, they are also known as:
- Real estate managers
- Property administrators
- Asset managers
- Investment managers
Unlike other states, in Illinois, property managers providing general administrative duties, such as handling the unit's maintenance tasks and related accounting, don't require a broker license.
Besides knowing the responsibilities that require a real estate license, an Illinois property manager must meet some requirements (discussed below).
Those expecting to become property managers in Illinois and obtain a broker license must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Be at least 21 years old
- Get a passing score on a broker license exam (Illinois Real Estate Broker Exam)
- Complete 90 hours of pre-licensing education
- Complete 30 hours of post-license education
- Submit an application through the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation - Real Estate Division
- Pay a $125 fee
Moreover, those who work for property management companies must meet the same requirements and obtain a broker license if they often handle real estate activities.
In Illinois, people can also get a leasing agent license, but the requirements are slightly different. They have to complete only a 15-hour course, get a passing score on a leasing agent exam, be at least 21 years old, and pay a $75 fee.
On average, an Illinois property manager makes just over $103,000 a year, ranging from $89,700 to $118,900. However, the amount may vary based on the number of managed units and the professional's expertise level.
Other factors that may influence how much a property manager can earn in Illinois include certifications, education, or base salary if they work for a property management company.
Some property managers can make more if they have a greater understanding of the local real estate industry or related technology systems, including Realpage, Propertyware, and Yardi.
Property managers must fulfill several responsibilities, including screening potential tenants for a rental unit, which can also entail examining prospective lessees' credit scores, performing background checks, and more.
Also, a property manager can schedule inspections when the tenant moves in and when they vacate the rental unit.
Communication is another of the responsibilities that these professionals must handle. Both in Illinois and in other US states, property managers serve as middlemen between the tenant and the property owner when both parties need to be notified of changes or important issues.
Property managers can also handle finances, which involves collecting rent payments and maintaining security deposits. Most are also in charge of marketing efforts and must organize showings and property tours.
While they don't require real estate licenses in these cases, property managers in Illinois can oversee general administration activities, including paying general expenses, serving as an accountant for association dues, and contracting maintenance services.
In summary, according to Illinois law, property managers can perform the following activities:
- Schedule and conduct showings and property tours
- Market vacant units for rent
- Perform property inspections
- Maintain communication with the tenant and the property owner while serving as an intermediary between both parties
- Vet and screen prospective tenants
- Facilitate preparation and signing of rental agreements
- Ensure the Illinois rental property complies with all local leasing regulations and building codes
- Hire and manage services for property maintenance and repairs
- Set monthly payments amounts
- Collect rent payments and security deposits
- Process lease renewals
- Paying general expenses
- Provide customer service to tenants, property owners, and vendors
- Attend court eviction proceedings if necessary
- Track past-due payments
- Perform accounting and reporting activities
- Coordinate turnover processes
If you want to work as a property manager, these are some of the skills you must have:
- Communication: This job involves frequent contact with tenants, owners, and vendors. Since you must make calls, send text messages, and write emails and notices, strong written and verbal communication skills are important.
- Organization: Property managers must be in charge of different activities and follow up on multiple operations, including property maintenance, lease procedures, contract signing, and more. Therefore, you should have organizational or multitasking skills.
- Basic accounting: In Illinois, these professionals must also collect and track payments, calculate late ends, and create expense reports. Therefore, understanding accounting basics is essential. While some software solutions can help property managers perform these tasks, having these skills can help them succeed in the real estate industry.
- Patience: Real estate managers must be able to resolve conflicts or issues that may arise, walk prospective tenants through the leasing process, and prove to the property owner that their units are in good hands. All these responsibilities require patience.
- Attention to detail: If you plan to work in the property management sector, you have to keep in mind that you will have to handle a lot of legal paperwork and sensitive information. Therefore, you must pay close attention to all details when completing lease agreements, understanding local regulations, and writing or delivering notices.
In Illinois, real estate managers need the following qualifications to earn their property management certificate:
What Education and Certification are Needed for a Rental Manager?
Are you ready to become a property manager? You must meet some educational and certification requirements.
Education Requirements for Real Estate Managers
The minimum requirement to obtain a real estate license and work in the Illinois property management sector is a high school diploma. However, if you plan to work with a company, you may be required to have college experience.
Some property management firms may require real estate managers to complete the following courses:
- Property management
- Real estate principles
- Risk management
- Business administration
Also, if you expect to join a property management company, real estate practice is also essential.
Illinois Property Manager Certifications
A broker license or similar document is often determined by state regulations. However, certifications relate to national property management and real estate accreditations.
Therefore, if you want to start working in the property management sector, you should consider some certifications, including the following:
National Apartment Leasing Professional (NALP)
The first step to obtaining this certification is to apply for entry-level employment with real estate brokers or property management firms. It could be a leasing agent position, for example.
Leasing professionals or assistant property managers who take the NALP accreditation can develop basic skills to work in the real estate management field. To obtain the certification, applicants must complete these requirements:
- Have at least six months of experience in an onsite property management position
- Complete seven NALP courses for 25 total credit hours
- Receive a provisional certificate for the 6-month experience requirement
- Meet all requirements within 12 months of enrollment
Certified Apartment Manager (CAM)
Once you acquire basic knowledge in the real estate industry, you should start gaining experience in property management. CAM training allows onsite managers to develop the skills they need to interact with tenants on a daily basis.
Through this certification, you can become an excellent representative for property or community owners and investors. If you want to complete the course, you must meet these requirements:
- Have at least 12 months of onsite property management experience
- Complete all CAM courses for 40 total credit hours
- Receive a provisional certificate for the 12-month experience requirement
- Meet all requirements within 12 months of enrollment
Certified Property Manager (CPM)
This certification is a highly-regarded designation for real estate managers. If you want to obtain CPM accreditation, you must meet these requirements:
- Hold a qualifying property management role for at least three years
- Meet 19 of the 36 CPM Function Requirement activities
- Hold a real estate license if required for your role
- Meet all requirements within 12 months after enrollment
Master Property Manager (MPM)
An MPM certification is the highest level of distinction property managers can obtain. It requires the following requirements:
- Work in this field for at least 60 months
- Meet all CPM certification requirements
- Meet portfolio requirements (500 residential units at one or more sites or 100 units at five or more sites)
The Bottom Line
If you plan to become a real estate manager, you must be prepared to work hard and invest time in training and certifications. However, once you're an accredited professional, the job is rewarding!
Can People With Felonies Become Property Managers In Illinois?
If the Illinois Division of Real Estate considers the offense too severe, a person with a felony could get their application for a real estate license rejected.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Real Estate License In Illinois?
Here's the breakdown of the costs that people must cover to get real estate licenses in Illinois:
- Exam fee: $55
- Application fee: $125
- Pre-licensing courses and exam prep: $415
- Background check: $60
How Long Does It Take to Become a Property Management Professional in Illinois?
It depends on how long it takes you to complete the pre-licensing course and other requirements. However, the process can take anywhere from four to six months.
Are Real Estate Agents, Property Managers, and Leasing Agents the Same?
No, they aren't. Real estate agents and real estate brokers can buy or sell property, whether residential or commercial, and require a license for their operations. However, a leasing agent license only authorizes activities related to residential rental units.