Real estate agent: property manager vs salesperson – what’s the difference?

Considering getting into the world of real estate, but don’t know what avenue to take, or even what the difference is between all the roles?

Read on to see us dissect one of the most commonly asked questions, ‘what’s the difference between a property manager vs real estate agent?’, so you can get your head around what role may be best for you.

What is a property manager?

A property manager is someone who oversees the management of a property. The property may be a residential unit, a block of units, a stand-alone house, a housing community, or a commercial and retail building.

Property managers are in charge of overseeing the everyday operation of a property. They are usually engaged by property investors or regular property owners who can’t or have no desire to oversee the property management themselves.


The role of a property manager is to oversee the property on behalf of the owner. Their main role is to ensure that the renters and rental property providers adhere to all rules and regulations regarding the property, and that the property stays in a well-maintained condition.


A property manager’s responsibilities are:

  • communicating with tenants to make sure all rent is paid on time, and that the correct amount is paid
  • conduct regular property inspections, to ensure the tenants are looking after the property, and abiding by the set rules
  • managing the process of tenants moving out and into the property
  • responding to all tenant communications
  • vetting potential tenants
  • advertising the property to find tenants
  • dealing with all property v tenant-required documentation
  • organising any repair work that needs to be done

Training & education

Whether you need qualifications, and what those qualifications are to become a property manager, is dependent on the Australian state. In most cases, property managers are required to do a course in property services or real estate, to gain their licence to practise property management.

At Entry Education, we provide a range of courses across Australia to help students get the qualifications needed to become a property manager. Our courses span across Property Manager Registration (PMR) in South Australia, Restricted Property Management in Western Australia, or the Cert IV in Real Estate Practice in Victoria, among others.

What is a real estate agent?

Real estate agents are licensed professionals who organise the sale transaction of real estate property. They connect and represent sellers and buyers in their property negotiations. Real estate agents can sell any property, residential or commercial.


The role of a real estate agent is typically to help broker a sale of property. However, there are many subsections of being a real estate agent and they can actually help the sellers and the buyers. So, how they go about their role is based on what client they are working for, and what section of real estate they specialise in.


The most common responsibilities of a real estate agent are:

Key responsibilities:

  • communicating with clients
  • being the go-between a buyer and a seller
  • negotiating the sale of property
  • advising on market values for property

Marketing responsibilities:

  • having and managing a social media and online presence
  • networking with clients to drum up more business
  • producing and distributing promotional material
  • create a blog or website for visibility
  • push advertising campaigns

Research responsibilities:

  • staying on top of real estate trends and market values
  • finding open listing properties
  • consistently do real estate market analysis

Administrative responsibilities:

  • schedule appointments
  • organise and attend property showings
  • answer communications via email and phone calls
  • create documents regarding sale
  • update property listings

Training & education

To become a real estate agent in Australia you need to obtain a real estate licence. Obtaining a real estate licence is done by completing real estate courses which vary depending on which state you want to work in.
If you are thinking of becoming a real estate agent, look into the different real estate courses offered by Entry Education to see which one might be right for you. We offer training across the different states, for varying levels of accreditation and learning.

property management vs real estate agent

Key differences between a real estate agent and a property manager

There are two main differences between a real estate agent and a property manager, that aren’t just focussed on their responsibilities.

  1. A real estate agent is focused on the sale of a property, and a property manager is focused instead on the retention of a property.
  2. Property managers deal with tenants of properties, whereas real estate agents work with owners or soon-to-be owners.

 How are real estate agents incentivised?

Real estate agents earn typically a percent of the property’s sale, so are usually running solely on commission. This is great if the house is selling for the current market’s prices of well over a million dollars in most major Australian cities. The average percentage made by a real estate agent is 2 – 4.5% of a property sale, the agent receives a portion of this commission.

How are property managers incentivised?

Generally, a property manager company is paid around 5 – 12% of the weekly rental income generated from the property. A property manager is paid a salary and is incentivised by management KPIs goals and targets.
Fees are split into three categories, management fees, letting fees, and miscellaneous fees.

  • Management fees – These are the normal payment draw for managing the property.
  • Letting fees – Letting fees are charged when a new tenant is required for the property, the property manager must go to extra lengths to try and secure a new tenant.
  • Miscellaneous fees – Admin costs that may be incurred from things such as statement fees, lease renewal fees, and tenancy tribunal costs.

The letting fee can only be claimed if the property manager secures a tenant. The cost is typically two weeks rental income.

Miscellaneous fees are dependent on the task and can’t be averaged.

Real estate agent vs. property manager – key skills and personality traits

The key skills and personality traits for real estate agents are:

  • sales
  • chasing goals for sales
  • pursuing bonus’s
  • driven work ethic
  • persistent personality

Driven by the chase of the sale, real estate agents are hungry, as they normally only get a percentage of whatever they sell.

The key skills and personality traits for property managers are:

  • client satisfaction
  • overly organised
  • effective communication skills
  • don’t shy away from conflict
  • detail oriented
  • great time management

Property managers are organised and great communicators, as they normally have many properties they are managing at a time.

Published On: June 5th, 2024 / Categories: Real estate industry /

About the Author: Michael Dewar

Michael is the co-founder and co-director of the Entry Group, and has nine years of experience in the real estate industry. Michael is a natural born entrepreneur, and has a keen understanding of the world and the importance of changing with the time. Running Entry Group in his own unique way, Michael has put a focus on the human element of business, focusing on building trust and relatability with clients.

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