/So, what is the difference between a real estate agent and a property manager?

When you’re looking for property to invest in, real estate agents and property managers are, of course, the go-to experts. This said, investors are often confused about the difference between the two as many real estate agencies also offer property management services.

While we acknowledge both have an important role in helping you locate and maximise your investment, if you’re really serious about growing a property portfolio, you need to clearly understand the fundamental differences between them and how they can, respectively, assist you in achieving your investment goals.

Fully trained property experts

When dealing with either a real estate agent or a property manager, it’s essential both have the appropriate training and experience. Indeed, the training required for real estate agents and property managers is similar as both must hold appropriate industry certificates to trade.

Training is typically a combination of on the job training – where day-to-day tasks are completed under the guidance and supervision of a licensed real estate agent – as well as the completion of appropriate exams and assignments.

Different relationships

Training aside, the first fundamental difference between the two is the type of relationship you have with them and the time frames in which they work with you.

Real estate agency

Typically, the relationship you have with a real estate agent is a transactional one and generally lasts as long as it takes for the sourcing, purchase and settlement of a property. A good real estate agent will listen to your property criteria and using their knowledge and expertise, will research and present a range of suitable properties.

They can also provide relevant sales related and pricing advice on each property so you can make an informed investment decision.

Property management agency

The relationship with your property manager, however, begins once you’ve purchased a property and are ready to rent it.  While real estate agents do offer this service, it is rarely at a level offered by a professional and dedicated property manager.

Typically, investor and property manager relationships are much closer and much longer – indeed, for the duration of property ownership. They extend well beyond straight sales and into the support and development of your property invest portfolio overall.

They manage your property from the smallest detail to the largest issues – ensuring you can sleep at night knowing it’s in great hands.

A great property manager will use their extensive expertise to undertake all aspects of property management from vetting and selecting tenants and organising property maintenance, tenant rent payments, to rental increases and timely, relevant market reports.

These (and the many additional activities they undertake each day for your investment), can be complex, time consuming and simply unappealing to the property owner. A great property manager will take all of these issues in their stride while ensuring you are always kept updated on your investment’s financial performance.

As you grow your portfolio, you property manager will build you profile and ensure each new property is managed in a seamless manner.

So in essence, the true benefit of using a specialist property manager is that they will not only ensure you property is well tenanted, maintained and rent is flowing, they will also proactively investigate ways to grow its value.

How they are paid

Real estate agents and property managers are remunerated in different ways. Real estate agents generally work on a commission basis, getting paid a percentage of the properties they sell. This is a great incentive for the sale process, however, there is little value for them in maintaining an ongoing relationship with you.

Property managers, however, are paid via a percentage of the rent paid by your tenants. This payment process ensures your property receives the attention it needs week on week. When it comes time to sell, your property manager will understand the inherent value of your property (as they have managed it for so long) much better than a real estate agent.

The main difference is focus

The fundamental difference between a real estate agent and a property manager is focus. Real estate agents offer property management as a secondary service, while property managers are solely focused on managing your property and are dedicated to growing your investment.

Typically real estate agents will pass investors on to their property management department where it is a lottery as to the experience, skill or interest level of the person that takes on your property.  When you engage a property management specialist you should be able to interview the property manager who will be your one point of contact, deep dive into their experience and knowledge plus, set up a clear understanding on how you want to be communicated with.

If you have one or more investment properties and would like to engage the services of a truly professional property management specialist, talk to the team at Property Alchemy. We are experts in all aspects of property management and will ensure your investment is not only managed and cared for, but will grow in value.  With Property Alchemy, your property is always in expert hands.


As co-founder of Sydney-based property management agency Property Alchemy, it is my goal to ensure our clients (both property investors and tenants) experience property management services well beyond their expectations. From a personal point-of-view, I make it my responsibility to identify the best opportunities from investment to tenancy selection while mitigating and carefully managing risk along the journey. Our end goal is positive financial outcomes for our clients with minimal risk and maximum enjoyment!