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Key Differences of a Property Manager and Real Estate Agent

September 28, 2023


In the realm of real estate, professionals play diverse roles to ensure that the industry functions smoothly. Two critical roles are often confused due to their similarities but are fundamentally different in their responsibilities and objectives: property managers and real estate agents.  In this post, I’ll discuss the main differences between the responsibilities of a real estate agent and a property manager. Alright, let’s get to it! 

Real Estate Agent: Your Guide to Buying and Selling Homes

Primary Role: Real estate agents facilitate the buying and selling of properties (houses, condos, townhouses etc.) on behalf of their clients.

Licensing Requirements: In British Columbia, including Victoria, real estate agents must complete education and training programs, pass a licensing exam, and work under a licensed brokerage.  You can check out this article on how to become a realtor in BC for more information on real estate licensing and education. 

Client-focused: Real estate agents work directly with clients to help them buy or sell properties. They act as intermediaries in real estate transactions. In BC, a listing agent and a buyer’s agent cannot represent both sides of the transaction.

This is known as dual agency and is banned in BC.  Other helpful professionals clients will interact with when buying or selling a home will be lawyers or notaries, appraisers, and home inspectors. 

Property Marketing: Real estate agents market their listings for sale by hiring professional photographers, creating floorplans, virtual tours, organizing open houses, and utilizing their network to reach potential buyers.

Negotiation: Negotiating offers and counteroffers is a significant part of a real estate agent’s role. Through negotiations, they look out for their clients’ best interests and negotiate terms and conditions that are important to their clients.

Contracts: Real estate agents help clients navigate the complexities of contracts and agreements, ensuring all legal requirements are met. For more information on contract terms, you can check out 6 Main Elements In a Contract of Purchase and Sale.

Market Insights: They provide their clients with insights into the latest market trends, property values, and investment opportunities in the housing market.

Commission-based: Real estate agents earn a commission based on the sale price of a property.  The commission is split between the listing agent and the buyer’s agent, and the seller is typically required to pay the commission of both the listing agent and the buyer’s agent.

Property Manager: Your Guide to Rental Properties

Primary Role: Property managers focus on managing and maintaining rental properties on behalf of their property owners (landlords).

Licensing Requirements: In British Columbia, property managers must be licensed under the Real Estate Services Act, hold an active property management license, and work for a licensed brokerage.

Client-focused: Property managers work on behalf of property owners (landlords) to maximize the rental income and efficiencies of rental properties. 

Tenant Relations: Property managers are responsible for finding and screening potential tenants, handling lease agreements, and addressing tenant concerns.  Because of this, the landlord does not have to communicate directly with their tenant.  All communication is done through the property management company. 

Property Maintenance: Property managers oversee property maintenance, repairs, and regular inspections to ensure the property is in good condition.

Rent Collection: They collect the tenant’s rent and handle financial aspects of the property, including budgeting and financial reporting. 

Legal Compliance: Property managers ensure that the property complies with all local, provincial, and federal laws, including tenancy regulations.

Emergency Response: They are available to address emergencies and urgent matters concerning the property.

Fee-Based: Property managers are usually paid a fee based on a percentage of the rental income they manage or a fixed fee.  A typical fee is 10% of the monthly rent. So if the month’s rent is $1700, then the monthly property management fee would be $170 plus 5% GST. 

Key Differences Between Property Managers and Real Estate Agents

  1. Clients: Real estate agents work with the buyers and sellers of properties, while property managers work on behalf of property owners (landlords) to manage rental properties.

  2. Objectives: Real estate agents aim to facilitate property transactions, whereas property managers focus on maximizing the return on investment for rental properties.

  3. Responsibilities: Agents market and negotiate the sale or purchase of properties, while property managers handle tenant relations, maintenance, and property management.

  4. Licensing: Both professions require licensing in Victoria, BC, but the licensing authorities and processes are distinct.

  5. Compensation: Real estate agents earn commissions from property sales, while property managers are compensated based on property management fees.

When to work with a Real Estate Agent in Victoria, BC:

Purchasing a Home: A real estate agent is your best ally if you are looking to buy a property in Victoria, especially if you are unfamiliar with the local real estate market. They can guide you through the buying process, help you find the right property, and negotiate on your behalf.

Selling a Property: When it’s time to sell your property in Victoria, a real estate agent can help you market it effectively, attract potential buyers, and negotiate the best possible terms and conditions to help you get the most value and sell your home quickly.

Property Investment: Real estate agents can provide valuable insights into the Victoria, BC, market, making them an essential resource for investors seeking to expand their real estate portfolio.

When to Engage a Property Management Company in Victoria, BC:

  • You have a rental property or vacation rentals: If you own rental properties in Victoria, hiring a property manager can save you time and effort. They handle tenant screenings, rent collection, maintenance, and tenant complaints, help to establish an accurate rental rate, and conduct property inspections.  Hiring a property manager for your rental property will provide more of a passive investment strategy for rental property owners.

  • You’re a long-distance landlord: Property managers are especially beneficial for landlords who don’t live in the same area as their rental properties. They can oversee day-to-day operations on your behalf a

  • Time constraints: If you have a busy schedule and can’t devote the time to manage your rental properties effectively, a property manager can take care of these responsibilities.

  • ​The property management fee is higher for short-term rentals.  Oftentimes, the fee is between 20-25% of the monthly rental amount.  This is important to remember when doing your calculations and financial statements for short-term rental properties. Depending on your situation, it may be a better idea to self manage your short term rental.

While property managers and real estate agents in Victoria, BC, have distinct roles and responsibilities, they often collaborate to achieve the best outcomes for their clients.  Real estate investors who own rental properties may work with both professionals, with real estate agents helping them acquire properties and property managers ensuring their investments run smoothly.

Ultimately, understanding the differences between these two crucial roles is essential for making informed decisions in the buying and rental aspects of the Victoria, BC, real estate market. Whether you’re a prospective homebuyer, seller, or property owner, aligning yourself with the right professional who has a strong understanding of the local market is key to achieving your real estate and financial goals.  

September 28, 2023

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