We talked to a millennial about a career in property management. Here is what she had to say.

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The great resignation has led many professionals to seek new opportunities that are both rewarding and more aligned with their values.

With demand for housing continuing to grow, the need for housing professionals is taking off. We sat down with Andie, who manages housing throughout Portland, to learn more about what a career in property management has to offer.

How did you get into this career?

I used to manage tanning salons way back in the day, and one of my customers worked as a property manager. She had an open position, and she asked me to join. I liked sales, and I liked meeting people, so I was like, “Yeah, that sounds great. I get a housing discount. I understand this role.” It sounded like a fun environment.

I started as a leasing agent and then worked my way up from there. I discovered a love for leasing apartments, meeting people and helping them find the perfect home. I enjoyed creating those connections and building relationships.

What do you like most about your career as a housing provider?

You get to meet so many people and create so many relationships. You get to see their families grow and help them with new opportunities in their life, whether career changes, home changes, or family changes. You get to experience all of it, and I fell in love with that connection to people.

How did the pandemic impact your communities?

These past two years have shown that even when we have to be apart, our communities can become closer.

We switched to having regular virtual resident events, with interactions through social media, grab-and-go items that people could take home, and partnerships with our retail tenants in the buildings that would provide to-go menu items or outdoor workout classes.

We also opened our community rooms when we were able to, so residents had a place to work from home.

While the past two years have been hard for people, it has strengthened the relationships within our communities—despite the social distancing measures.

Do you think there are misperceptions about who property managers are?

Absolutely, that is why when I have conversations with residents, I really like to let them know who I am. I’m Andie. I’m a mother of a six-year-old son. I grew up in SW Washington. I’m a person. They’re a person. I care about them as people. I want to do the best and be the best housing provider that I can be for them. We’re always just trying to do our best.

We also have maintenance teams who work with us, and they are also housing providers—though many people don’t see the work they do. Sometimes they come in at 3:00 in the morning when there’s a flood in an apartment. They leave their own homes to come and make sure that our residents’ homes are taken care of. They work to make sure that residents’ families are not disrupted, and that their homes are protected.

What does it mean to be a housing provider to you?

The basic requirement of our job is to provide quality housing to everybody. It’s incredibly important in our work to treat everyone fairly and equally. A cornerstone of our professional training is becoming an expert in fair housing standards, both federally and locally.

Something that I find very helpful is that our regional housing association, Multifamily NW, offers ongoing educational opportunities to gain experience in housing laws. Multifamily NW has partnered extensively with the Fair Housing Council of Oregon to promote and educate housing providers and renters on these laws.

For me to be the very best property manager for my renters, I need to ensure everyone is treated equally and fairly no matter their background. That’s why I find these continued education opportunities so valuable for my professional development. They help me ensure that I am compliant with all regulations and knowledgeable about what I’m obligated to provide to my renters.

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in starting a new career in housing or growing in their career?

Join your regional housing provider association. When I was looking for opportunities to gain experience professionally, Multifamily NW was offering a lot of classes, professional development events, and networking opportunities that all helped me learn and grow professionally.

Property management is a great way to create a career for yourself, and it can lead to so many other opportunities. Many of my former colleagues who started in property management are now construction project managers, corporate leaders, marketing professionals or financial analysts. It can be the first step to countless other opportunities.

Multifamily NW will be hosting this year’s virtual Fair Housing Fair on April 13, 2022.

For more information on Multifamily NW’s Fair Housing educational programming or how to find your career in rental housing through Multifamily NW, please visit multifamilynw.org.