May 15, 2014
A property manager is an all-round problem solver
Try going without a property manager when you rent out your apartments and you may quickly come to see why they are indispensable. If you want your units trashed, the rent unpaid, the area echoing to the (not so) dulcet tones of bickering neighbors, trash piling up in front of entrances, a rapid turnover of disgruntled tenants and, possibly, a condominium with the highest degree of litigious activity per square foot in the country, then DO NOT hire a property manager.
Similarly, if you believe that chaos, disorder, acrimony and neglect should reign supreme – and that “fair is foul and foul is fair” to quote the witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth – then DO NOT hire a property manager!
A burden and a blessing
Landlords who rent out their property face many problems in keeping everything under control, especially from a distance. The day-to-day running of a property is a burden that your average owner will not want to undertake. The property manager not only keeps his eyes peeled for any sign of illicit activity but also serves as the vital intermediary, a kind of personal secretary who manages the administration and implementation of all agreements.
Being a property manager is increasingly lucrative but the rewards are very different from those of the realtor. The property manager handles a large number of properties, all of which generate a smaller amount of income. The realtor, on the other hand, tends to deal with a smaller number of properties but the commission is greater. When rents go up, the property manager benefits as this means that landlords are keener to hire their services. So when the rental sector booms, so does the workload/pay of the property manager.
Documenting the documents – on an app!
A property manager deals with a large volume of documents relating to lease agreements, purchase and sales, rules and regulations and maintenance and repairs. He must be a fastidious guardian of all paperwork, although advancing technology has meant that documents and records are now generally computerized.
Property managers will also be responsible for analyzing pertinent data and keeping abreast of sometimes complex laws relating to tenancies and tax. He will also be boss to leasing agents and maintenance workers, entrusted with overseeing their work and addressing their complaints and concerns.
Adaptable, versatile and jack of all trades
The human touch, as so often applies in all jobs, is a vital component in a successful property manager. Good people management skills, friendliness and assertiveness are essential prerequisites. The good property manager has to multi-task. He must be a good listener but also adept at dealing with conflicts and sundry conundrums as well as a practical person capable of finding solutions to problems.
Insiders are aware of the importance of property managers having to juggle between different roles. Several professionals from the Linkedin group Property Management Experts gave their views on the key attributes of a property manager. Steven Van Zile, Portfolio Manager at Guardian Real Estate Services, stresses “the love of people, stewardship, ethics, honesty (integrity) and commitment to excellence” as the core essential attributes of the good property manager. Cory Chisholm cites accountability, honesty and experience (in operations and leadership) as the key qualities.
For Marsha Bergeron, from Canada’s Homestead Land Holdings Ltd, “adaptability” is another key to success: “No two days are alike in property management, which is what makes it great,” she says, citing the importance of versatility, effective training and patience.
Vivian Ho, a property manager at Essex Property Trust in San Francisco, stresses that property managers should be “customer oriented, possess integrity and accountability and be excellent team players”.
Geeky and proud!
New technology has helped to back up the human touch and property managers are learning the value of new technology and its instant advantages. Modern tech and web applications like the tenant portal of Property Vista help to facilitate instant messaging between property managers and tenants and they both need to have the knowledge and skills to use innovative software products that enable solving pressing issues immediately.
It would seem that the definition of a successful property manager – for those who want to join this ever-expanding profession – is a person who succeeds in balancing good interpersonal skills with an interest in innovative apps.
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