How to Become a Property Manager in Virginia? (Step-by-Step Guide)


(**) Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning our website, JCHQ Publishing will get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, but at no additional cost to you.

As a property manager in Virginia, your duties may include finding and screening prospective tenants for a property, negotiating the lease terms. You could also be responsible for rent collection, property inspection, maintenance, repair, providing updates, and communicating with the property owner.

According to the Virginia Real Estate Board, to become a property manager in Virginia, you must be licensed as either a real estate broker or a salesperson (who works under the supervision of an employer broker). The salesperson license requires you to be at least 18 years old, complete 60-hour of pre-license education, and pass the real estate exam. 

You also need to submit an application and a fee of $170 through Board’s online services and go through a background check. The Virginia Real Estate Board is responsible for issuing real estate licenses and they also have the duty to ensure public interest can be safeguarded.

In this guide, I will focus on the steps on getting the “real estate salesperson” license, so you may begin your property management by joining a licensed firm. You’ll also find out the income updates and other FAQs about this profession.

But before we start, I want to give a brief disclaimer. This post is not intended as legal advice or state/federal real estate training. It is for general information only. Please always follow your State laws and best practices.

8 Steps to Become a Real Estate Agent in Virginia

Property manager showing units to perspective tenants

Step 1: Meet the eligibility requirement

  • Citizen of the United States or lawfully admitted alien
  • At least 18 years of age
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Hold a high school diploma or higher education

Step 2: Complete the pre-licensing education

The required amount of coursework in Virginia is not too much when comparing to other states. You only need to complete 60 hours of real estate salesperson courses. The core curriculum must include:

  • Virginia law
  • Ownership, valuation, and brokerages
  • Mortgages, lending laws, and other consumer-based themes

You’ll need to take them from a qualifying education provider. But make sure to search for one that is reputable and has a long track record in successfully helping their students.

When choosing a real estate school, I prefer one where you could take the courses online. This way, you could study at your own pace whenever and wherever. RealEstateExpress is a trustworthy real estate education provider. You may click here to see whether they offer pre-licensing course in your state. (**)

Step 3: Pass the Virginia Real Estate Salesperson Examination

This examination is to test your knowledge and understanding of real estate law, principle and practices, and mathematics. It is administered by PSI.

The Virginia Real Estate Salesperson Exam has 120 questions. The required passing score is at least 86/120 and you’ll be given 150 minutes to write it.

Since these are computerized exams, you’ll immediately know your score after writing them. You can find more info about the exam further down this post. Once you pass the test, you can begin the registration process with the Virginia Real Estate Board.

Step 4: Go through a background check

The Virginia Real Estate Board has the responsibility to protect the public interest, so they will conduct a background check on all real estate license applicants. Your next step is to to get your electronically fingerprinted at one of PSI Virginia sites. It can be done during regular testing hours.

There will be a $52.00 fee and can be made payable by money order, cashier’s check, VISA or MasterCard. The processing time typically is 4 to 6 weeks.

Step 5: Submit a Salesperson License Application to the Virginia Real Estate Board

Property manager submitting online real estate application

Within 45 days after you submit the electronic fingerprints and within one year that you passed the exam, you must complete the Salesperson License Application. You may find the forms here.

In addition to the application, you also need to provide:

  • Application fee $170;
    • Cheque payable to TREASURER OF VIRGINIA
    • You could also paid by credit card (VISA, Master, Discover)
  • Supporting legal documents
  • Transcripts or course completion certificates of the pre-licensing education

If you need any help on the registration, you could contact the Virginia Real Estate Board at

Step 6: Work with a licensed property management company

Joining a property management firm in Virginia

After you pass the exam, you must work with a property management company who holds the broker license in Virginia. This is the firm who would sponsor your real estate license. However, not all brokerage provide property management services to their clients. Most brokerages focus only on the buy-sell side of the business. So make sure you find one that specializes in property management in Virginia.

At the time that I’m writing this guide, I can see online job postings looking for property managers in Virginia. The demand is mainly from Woodbridge, McLean, Arlington and Virginia Beach.

You may search through job forums such as ZipRecruiter, Glassdoor, or LinkedIn.

Step 7: Complete post-license education

real estate career studying

Within the first year that you obtain the real estate salesperson license, you need to complete 30 hours of Post-License Education (PLE).

The PLE curriculum must include the following nine courses.

  1. Agency Law (3 hours)
  2. Contract Writing (6 hours)
  3. Current Industry Issues and Trends (2 hours)
  4. Escrow Requirements (3 hours)
  5. Ethics and Standards of Conduct (3 hours)
  6. Fair Housing, ADA and Civil Rights (2 hours)
  7. Real Estate Law and Regulations (6 hours)
  8. Real Estate-Related Finance (2 hours)
  9. Risk Management (3 hours)

Step 8: Maintain the Virginia real estate license

You are required to renew your real estate license every two years. You can do so within 60 days before the expiry day through the online services on the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation website.

According to the DPOR website, new salespersons are not required to take CE in their first two-year license term. (Keep in mind you still need to complete the post-license education.)

But for subsequent renewals, you need to complete 16 hours of continuing education. Of which, it must include:

  • Ethics & Standards of Conduct (3 hours);
  • Fair Housing (2 hours);
  • Legal Updates and Emerging Trends (1 hour);
  • Real Estate Agency (1 hour);
  • Real Estate Contracts (1 hour).

Then for the remaining 8 hours, you could take Real Estate elective classes that are approved by the board.

Here’s a snippet of what a property manager thinks about this career

“I’ve been a property manager for six years, and for three years before that, I was an admin and then an assistant property manager. Being a property manager is an excellent career. The schedules are long days but flexible. If you are a parent, you will be able to attend your kid’s functions as long as you are willing to work late to make up. It’s not a micro-managed industry, so you must have the drive and high standards all on your own, else you won’t last very long. The mistakes are bigger and cost more money than other real estate lines, but the pay is great, and you can create the life balance you need if you work at it.

My advice to someone wanting to get into property management is to learn everything you can as soon as you can. Take advantage of resources and lean on experience people’s knowledge and experience.”

– Nandi Cavil, Commercial Property Manager at Cushman & Wakefield

Here’s another post where you can read more on Nandi’s thoughts about the property management profession. In there, you can find my research and analysis on this career path and valuable insights from other property managers.

How long does it take to become a property manager in Virginia?

It takes approximately four months to become a property manager in Virginia. But it also depends on the time it takes you to complete the pre-licensing course, exam, background check, application, and get employed by a licensed property management firm.

You may speed up in getting in becoming a property manager by taking online courses. This way, you’ll have the flexibility to finish the pre-licensing education at a quicker pace.

How much does it cost to become a property manager in Virginia?

Calculate the cost to become a property manager in Virginia

It costs approximately $582 to become a property manager in Virginia. That is the cost to get the real estate broker license and here is the breakdown:

  • Pre-licensing courses $300 approximately (with exam prep)
  • Application fee $170
  • Background check: $52
  • Exam fee $60

Can you become a property manager with a felony in Virginia?

It is possible for an applicant with felony to obtain a real estate license in Virginia. It is subjected to the Real Estate Board’s evaluation. They typically be more alarmed on incidents that impact the applicant’s honesty, trustworthiness, character, and integrity.

The Board will evaluate each case independently. Applicant will go through a 3 Step Process:

  1. Documentation
  2. Informal Fact-Finding (IFF) Conference
  3. Board Meeting

So don’t get discouraged as everyone has a past. The most important is that you can demonstrate that you will serve the public in a fair, honest, and open manner.

Here’s another post that covers how to apply for a real estate license with a felony record. In there, you’ll find practical ideas which could help your application.

Are there any exceptions to the real estate license requirement to work as property manager in Virginia?

You do not need a real estate license if you are just managing your own properties. But you must be licensed as either a real estate broker or real estate salesperson if you are managing properties for other people.

The supervising broker undertakes reasonable steps to ensure only licensees undertake activities requiring a license, including:


a. Show property;
b. Hold an open house;
c. Answer questions on listings, title, financing, closing, contracts, brokerage agreements, and legal documents;
d. Discuss, explain, interpret, or negotiate a contract, listing, lease agreement, or property management agreement with anyone outside the firm; and
e. Negotiate or agree to any commission, commission split, management fee, or referral fee.

Quote from 18 VAC 135-20-165. Duties of Supervising Broker.

How Much do Property Manager Make in Virginia?

Figuring out how much do Property Manager Make in Virginia

Property managers in Virginia make an average annual income of $100,807. It typically range between $87,507 and $115,975. (*) Your earning as a property manager would depend on your skills, knowledge and experience in managing the properties. The type and number of real estate in your managing portfolio may also affect your compensation.

At the beginning phase of your property management career, you could be working as an assistant for a property manager. So your earning could be limited at that time.

But once you have developed the necessary skillset and demonstrated your ability to work independently, there should be a significant improvement to your earning.

(*) Source: Salary.com May 27, 2021

Here’s salary guide you may be interested. In there, you’ll find the income figures for residential and commercial property managers. What makes one earn more than others? How do education, experience, and certification play a factor in earning?

Practical strategies to build a property management career in Virginia

Tip#1: Network with other real estate professionals

Networking with real estate professionals in Virginia

You may consider joining the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). This allows you to connect with other property managers, thus learn from their valuable experience and share ideas with one another. You will also find updates on the housing markets, changes to the laws and regulations.

Another group you may consider is the Virginia REALTORS. It consists of mostly real estate professionals. If you plan to run your own property management company, this can be a great referral source for your business.

Tip #2: Keep up to date with the real estate laws and best practices

Property managers are constantly tasked with new responsibilities and challenges. With the rise of online rental applications, environmental health and safety requirements, it’s important for property managers to be up-to-date on what their renters are looking for in a home.

The Board has a 97 pages file on the Real Estate Regulations. It basically covers most of the topics on VA real estate. You can find its link in the reference section below.

You may also consider taking the following courses to equip yourself with the property management knowledge. They are offered by Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). IREM is an affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS®.

Even though they are not part of the pre-license education requirement, your enhanced knowledge will help to set you apart from other candidates in the job search.

Tip#3: Start your own property management company

Rather than working for someone else, you may consider getting a real estate broker license and start a property management company. This allows you to hire other licensed property managers, thus, lead to a scalable business model.

However, running a company is very different from working as an employed property manager. You need to figure out all the different aspects of the business, such as marketing, branding, prospecting, hiring, training, and accounting.

The expenses will also be a lot higher. In addition to the broker license, you also need to account for business insurance, staff’s salary and benefits, office rent, furniture, office supplies, software, many more.

To obtain a real estate broker license in Virginia, you must:

  1. Have at least 36 months of active real estate work experience;
  2. Complete 180 hours of pre-license courses from an approved education provider;
  3. Pass the Virginia Real Estate Broker Exam;
  4. Submit a Broker Application and a $210 fee;
  5. Complete CE and license renewal requirement

Here’s a complete guide on getting a real estate broker license in Virginia.

I have more questions about the real estate license in Virginia, where can I get help?

You may contact the Virginia Board Office:

  • Phone at 804-367-8526 (Licensing Section) or 804-367-2406 (Education Section),
  • Fax at 1-866-826-8863,
  • E-mail at [email protected].

Alternatively, if there are additional information that you would like to mail to the Board, you may send them to:

  • Real Estate Board, Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation
  • 9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 400, Richmond, VA 23233

Since you are reading up to this point, I bet you must be interested in becoming a property manager. If that requires you to get a real estate salesperson license in your state, your first step is to complete the pre-license education. You should select one that has an excellent reputation and a long-term track record of satisfying students. RealEstateExpress is exactly that! You may click here to check it out yourself. (**)

Disclaimer: The information in this post is for general information only, and not intend to provide any advice. They are subjected to change without any notice, and not guaranteed to be error-free. Some of the posts on RealEstateCareerHQ.com may contain views and opinions from the interviewees. They do not reflect our view or position.

(**) Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. Our website, RealEstateCareerHQ.com, will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking on the link. Please understand that we include them based on our experience or the research on these companies or products, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something through the links. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

Reference:

  • Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation- Real Estate Board (source)
    • Continuing Education (source)
    • Post-License Education (source)
    • What if you have a criminal conviction (source)
  • PSI- Virginia Real Estate Candidate Information Bulletin (source)
  • Virginia REALTORS ®Housing Market Data (source)
  • April 2021 Home Sales Report (source)
  • Zillow.com (source)
  • Commonwealth of Virginia Real Estate Board – Real Estate Regulation STATUTES, Title 54.1, Chapter 21 (source)
  • Salary.com – Property Manager in Virginia (source)

Jacob Coleman

Jacob is a content writer and a real estate investor. He has experience working with different real estate professionals throughout the years. (i.e., appraisers, real estate agents, property managers, home inspectors.) In order to build a career you love, Jacob believes not only you need a thorough understanding about the profession, but you also have to find out what type of jobs could match your personality, lifestyle and expectation.

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