What Is the Difference Between Property Management & Real Estate Agents?

Real estate agents and property managers can help investors in different ways. Though different, both occupations are involved in helping to ensure your real estate investment deals are profitable. By knowing the differences in each occupation, you can gain a better understanding of how to use these professionals in the transaction and maintenance of real estate.

Time Frame

The time frame during which you enlist the help of a real estate agent is different from a property manager. Real estate agents are involved in the research and identification of properties that meet your requirements. They walk you through a range of options until you make a final selection and close on your deal. Property managers come into the picture once you have closed on your real estate. They continue to work with you until you decide to sell your property and hire a real estate agent again.


Another key difference between real estate agents and property managers is how they are paid. Real estate agents are paid commission only. They get paid when you buy or sell your property. Property managers get paid on a monthly retainer. If the property manager works for a larger company, he usually receives an annual salary in lieu of a monthly retainer.


A real estate agent's responsibilities include locating properties that match your interests and advising you during the sale process. Agents have access to supra lockboxes to show you properties throughout your selection process. Property managers occasionally show properties for rent, but they access the property using a key or combination lock. The main responsibility of a property manager is to ensure the success of your investment by collecting rent from tenants, performing maintenance to the property and identifying quality tenants when your property is vacant.


Real estate agents have access to comprehensive multiple listing services to market your property to thousands of other agents. This is beneficial to investors seeking warm leads on selling or renting their properties since agents typically only work with tenants and buyers looking to take action. Property managers rely on traditional advertising methods such as online and print classifieds, yard signage and their own referral network.


Avoid seeking advice from real estate agents regarding your tenants. Property managers are skilled in the process of rent collection, systems of tracking financial information and performing extensive background checks. Real estate agents also have access to some of these same tools, but once they receive a commission on tenant placement, they are no longer involved in the process. Property managers may be more accountable for their tenant selection since they will be working with the tenant throughout the duration of the lease.