In real estate property management, the property manager or management company has four major areas of responsibility:
Marketing and Financial
Tenant and Occupancy
Administration & Risk Management
The property manager is the owner's partner in maximizing the return on investment of the property through efficient performance of these four functional areas of responsibility. The property management company acts in the best interests of the owner to maintain the property, keep it occupied with tenants, collect rents, budget improvements and maintain records.
Many real estate professionals have looked at property management and changed their minds when the scope of the management tasks and record-keeping are fully understood. It's definitely a niche for the more detailed and responsive in the profession.
Facility Management - Property management is also physical management of the structures and outdoor areas. Landscaping, electrical, plumbing, roof, walls, appliances, and much more are all part of the physical property. The property manager must maintain relationships with contractors and repair companies, budget capital expenditures, and monitor the quality of all repairs and maintenance. This function ties in with the financial piece, as some improvements will require signifiant capital expenditures and budgeting for them. It ties in with tenant and occupancy management because it is important to tenant retention to have well-maintained properties. More on the facility management function.
Administration & Risk Management - This is the files and records part of the property management function. Federal, state and local governments all have some jurisdiction over real estate property management activities. Certain reporting requirements must be met for all of them. Meticulous records for accounting and taxes are a must. For reasons of liability, all activities and tenant interaction must be recorded and maintained for specified periods. Though also related to financial functions, there are very rigid requirements in most states for the handling of funds paid by renters for disbursement to owners. More on administration and risk management.
Those considering specialization in real estate property management need to understand the requirements, and have a good feeling about being able to accomplish them all with efficiency and enjoyment. It's not as easy as selling real estate.