The phrase “property management expert” is a little vague – what makes someone an expert? How much experience do they need? Still, there’s a genuine divide between the average property manager and someone who’s genuinely skilled.
Property management isn’t easy; it goes beyond just filling vacancies and looking after maintenance. There’s plenty to juggle and work on, both short and long-term. But these seven crucial things make all the difference in your career – so here are seven things that the best property managers know.
1. People Skills are Critical
As a property manager, you’ll need to keep everyone happy: your tenants, contractors, and of course, your clients – the property owners. You’ll be interacting with many people daily, so you’ll need good people skills to manage.
Good people skills don’t just mean appeasing someone, though. As a ‘people person,’ you should:
- Communicate your point effectively
- Listen with compassion and empathy
- Handle issues with respect and sensitivity
- Build relationships based on mutual trust
You are the go-between of your tenants, contractors, and clients, and these will sometimes have conflicting interests. This makes property management a balancing act, but if you want to thrive, you’ll need to manage both property and people!
2. Assess Potential Tenants
This is a tedious but crucial aspect of the property management job. You’ll need effective marketing to find potential tenants and entice them to set up shop in your building or rent your apartments. If not, the good ones might end up with the competition.
You’ll need to present your clients with your plans for marketing their property, who your potential audience is, and previous results (including how long it takes you to fill a vacant space).
Of course, it’s not enough to market and recruit tenants – you’ll need to screen them, too. That requires sharp assessment skills alongside a solid procedure for interviewing and appraising tenants. Every bad tenant costs you and your clients money, so weed out the bad apples beforehand!
3. Networks Equal Partnerships
Managing property involves the upkeep of the building and land. That means you’ll need to have a network of third-party contractors in multiple industries to help maintain the property you’re managing. That includes plumbers, electricians, landscapers, HVAC, even lawyers.
But a relationship with third-party contractors shouldn’t just be one-sided. Networking equals building partnerships – meaning it’s beneficial for both of you. You can hire and recommend their services, while they can provide you with leads on potential tenants or keep you updated on the competition.
4. Keep Yourself Informed
The best managers are up-to-date on the laws, policies, and procedures involved in property management. That’s everything from current rental rates per square metre in the local area to the going rate for houses on the market. It would be best to stay competitive in such a fluid, constantly-changing industry – which means no slacking on research.
Besides the policies, property managers should be updated on the state of their tenants. Are they up to date on rent and dues? Is anything amiss in their spaces? Are there any outstanding complaints or issues? Being proactive in handling tenant concerns means keeping tenants happy – and happy tenants make happy managers.
5. Transparency is Key
The relationship between a property manager and a client is a two-way street built on trust and respect. Therefore, you need to be open and transparent in communicating with your clients and inform them of any significant goings-on in their property, not just the negative issues.
It’s also important to update your clients on any significant changes to market costs, policies, and relevant laws, so they’re not taken by surprise when these changes go into effect. Property laws can change frequently, and your client will need to know these issues significantly if they affect their investment.
By keeping your client informed and keeping communication honest, you’re showing your clients that it was worth trusting their investment with you.
6. Technology is Your Friend
Use the technology you have available to your advantage. You can do everything from automating rent reminders to creating spreadsheets to keep track of all your duties. Current technology can help free you from more tedious and routine tasks to focus on more essential duties.
Technology is also significant in terms of communications. You can email the necessary updates and reminders to tenants, but texting them on a day-to-day basis shows you’re engaged. That circles you back to your people skills – remember, effective communication!
7. Think in the Long Term
Sure, that tenant looks good for the near future, but will they be valuable in the long term? Will investing in certain upgrades and renovations now be worth the cost down the road? Acting for the short-term benefit may seem reasonable, but you need to think long-term as a property manager. The priority is your client’s return on investment – both in the property and in you.
By assuring your client that you have long-term plans in place and that you’re thinking ahead as well as for the present, you demonstrate your effectiveness. And an effective, skilled property manager provides their clients with one of the best things – peace of mind.