What makes a successful property manager?

How to be a successful property manager?

A good property manager is like a hip dad as he needs to have a certain set of specific traits and other, harder-to-define skills in order to be successful.

A property manager needs to be able to listen and communicate, as well as be proactive and involved, current and knowledgeable. He or she should also be levelheaded and resourceful, personable and articulate. For all the property managers diligently trying to excel, the list of “and’s” goes on and on. However, most people working in the management industry agree that the most fundamentally important trait for a good property manager to possess is the ability to communicate and relate to people.

When you are a property manager, filling vacancies and looking after properties are not the only things on your to-do list. You have to make sure your tenants are happy, the contractors are doing their job, and your actual clients – the property owners – are making money from their investment. To cut a long story short, life in property management is never dull or easy. While a few property managers drop out after some years, unable to meet the long hours, never-ending stress, and hectic demands of the job, others manage to have it all. Ever wondered why? It’s because they have mastered these secrets of being a successful property manager. Take a look!

Communication is Essential

Good communication is the grease in a building’s wheels. It is the property manager‘s duty to make sure everything runs smoothly, and that requires everyone involved in the building to understand one another. Conflict is generally a result of a misunderstanding, often precipitated by a lack of or breakdown in communication. Like a good foreign diplomat, a property manager needs to be able to see other peoples’ perspectives, to hear what they are saying, and to solve problems. The property manager needs to understand and balance the views of multiple interested parties.

A Side Order of Knowledge

In addition to communicating well, a good property manager keeps the board of directors informed on several different levels, financially and otherwise. 

The second report should consist of all correspondence between management, tenants/owners, the board, etc., and any other paperwork regarding the building’s operations. By keeping the board of directors updated monthly, the manager can see to it that the board is informed and prepared, and, thus, less likely to be caught unawares by any unpleasant surprises.

Professional Decorum, Staffing, and More

In addition to looking towards the future, a property manager must also be physically present, visiting each building in their portfolio at least once or twice a week—though not on a set visitation schedule. Managing the building’s employees means keeping them on their toes, and a flexible visitation schedule helps prevent a building from falling into disarray during the periods when the staff knows that there will be no pop-ins from a manager.

The manager must provide support to building supers and staff. If a staffing relationship doesn’t work. It is the manager’s job to assist the super, explain to them what needs to be done and provide enough time to handle things in an appropriate manner. In the end, a property manager has to do what is best for the building and community as a whole. Whether the manager fires a staff member, or the staff member fires himself, is a matter of perspective with the result the same.

When dealing with professionals associated with running a building, such as attorneys, accountants, or other service providers, a good manager must also act professionally. Dealing with lawyers and accountants requires the same basic interpersonal and communication skills needed to work with anyone, with an understanding of exactly what duties a professional must perform.

In terms of accountants, by keeping the building finances in order and supplying the board of directors with the financial reports on a monthly rather than a yearly basis, an organized property manager makes the accountant’s task easier. If the manager has kept up with paperwork and has delivered it to the board, the necessary materials will already be thorough and organized properly.

The responsibilities of the attorneys, on the other hand, include collecting arrears and implementing the board’s policies. By attending every board meeting, the managing agent is better able to assist attorneys in doing their job.

Tips to be a successful property manager.

Get Organized

This may seem like a no brainer, but it’s an essential step in property management, especially if you manage multiple rental properties. Plan out 2020, and set your professional goals and resolutions for the year. Furthermore, create a working process if you don’t already have one- this is key to being a successful residential property manager. A working process is a standard action plan to follow, a detailed checklist that will allow you to provide the same high-quality service for all of your property management clients. This can make all the difference in your organization and the management of your property management business.

Assemble the Right Property Management Team

There is no doubt that you can be a successful property manager with your own set of skills. But a successful property management company can’t be complete without the right property management team. This is especially true when you begin to scale your business and grow your operations. Say you start with a small property management company and have two team members on board. The three of you can indeed handle managing rental properties. But as you grow your portfolio, your clients, and network base, you’re going to need a bigger, more specialized team.

To do so, you need to vet, interview, and hire the right team members, train them as needed, and manage effectively.

Work on Your Communication Skills

A good property manager should have excellent communication skills. Being a property manager means you will be dealing with rental property owners, property management clients, tenants or Airbnb guests, as well as cleaning and maintenance staff, etc. You can start by reading different self-help books on communicating in the business world. But a good tip is to listen carefully when communicating and use simple, straightforward language as much as possible.

There are also several online tools that can help you with managing your client base and to better communicate with your real estate network. Look up the different communication management options, and choose the ideal tool for you.

In addition to the above, you’re also managing a whole cohort of individuals – the staff or the team at your property management company. It’s thus important to ensure that your team has open communication channels, and that information is running clearly and smoothly between team members. Even the strongest teams can suffer if they don’t communicate well.

Become More Knowledgeable

We live in an information age. So the best way to be a successful property manager in 2020 is by acquiring knowledge and becoming a source of knowledge in the industry. This is the best way you can aid your clients as well as grow your property management business. You need to know all about the competing rental properties and management companies in your area, the rental properties you manage, and general real estate market information.

Additionally, as a residential property manager, you need to have extensive knowledge about laws and regulations in your housing market. This will help you avoid any legal issues that may arise with traditional or short-term rental properties.

Use the Right Property Management Tools

Using smart real estate tools is vital in 2020. This is one of the best ways to be a successful property manager and distinguish yourself from other companies in the property management industry. After all, it’s a competitive market for property managers.

Never Take Good Marketing for Granted

Never underestimate the power of marketing, especially in real estate. Today’s market is very different than what it used to be a decade ago – and so are property management marketing strategies. To keep up with the market, and marketing trends, do some research and go ahead and outline a marketing strategy.

This year, aim to enhance your presence on social media. Many property managers are employing social media marketing for real estate, using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to promote their services. Using social media marketing can give you more visibility and exposure among clients. This can then boost the number of properties under your management, and ultimately – your profit. With a market saturated with property managers, a good way to stand out is through marketing.

Evolve and Develop

Our last tip to be a successful property manager in 2020 is to evolve and develop professionally. Successful property managers constantly work on developing their businesses as well as their careers. You can do this by continuously asking for feedback from your clients and improving accordingly. A simple “How could this experience have been better?” can go a long way. Moreover, keep up with market trends by using the latest property management tools available in real estate. Finally, learn from your network, and continue to explore options to evolve. Resistance to change can be valid, but not when it comes to real estate management!

Here is an easy checklist of the top qualities to look for in a full-service property management company.


The right property management company will help guide your community to a successful future. When interviewing potential property management companies, ask not only who your manager will be, but who will be supporting him or her. A skilled team of experts in various fields including HR, engineering, training and accounting support each property manager with advice and best practices in order to deliver the best service for your property.

Standard Operating Procedures

The best property management company should have proven operational procedures, which have been developed through years of experience. You will want to ensure the company has standard practices they put into place for every community or building they serve. These operating procedures should include preventive maintenance programs, a full audit of all contracts and vendors, a transparent financial system and budget, and solutions that enhance the value of your property, as well as the lifestyle of all the residents in it.

Financial Stewardship

Look for a residential management company with an internal financial management team led by certified accountants. The best management companies will follow rigorous internal review and accounting protocols to promote financial health and stability of your association.

Vendor Relationships

A property management company that has strong, long-held partnerships with quality service providers will be able to negotiate savings such as discounts on community purchases and lower rates on regular maintenance, while still maintaining a superior level of service.


Weak communication is one of the most often complained about qualities in property management. Look for companies with a 24/7 call centre and other forms of technology that allow you to communicate with a professional who can answer your questions or respond to your requests in a timely fashion.

Attention to Detail

From your property itself to the people who live in it, the right residential management company will provide you with a manager that pays great attention to detail. You probably know the unique features and eccentricities of your community — a property manager who asks about them and seeks to understand what makes your property tick will be able to provide you with the best service.


There are a variety of issues that may arise in a community association, and it is nice to have a management company with the know-how to steer you in the right direction. Great property managers take the time to truly understand daily life in the communities and buildings they serve. They are ready and well prepared to respond to issues that arise.

Commitment to Training

Expert property management and exceptional customer service can only be provided by a knowledgeable, unified and superbly trained team. Look for property management companies that are committed to providing continuing education and development programs for their managers, including hands-on training, classroom learning and online training systems. This way, your manager will be on the cutting edge of industry and product knowledge and equipped to deliver the highest levels of service to board members and residents.


It is also important that your residential property management company operates under full transparency. The company should be able to provide you with disclosure on any affiliated companies it does business with. Another valuable asset, which your property management company should provide to its associates, is an internal ethics hotline in order to report and record unethical activities.

Focus on Sustainability

A company that is committed to going “green” will help reduce your community’s carbon footprint, energy usage and operating costs to create a healthier (and more cost-efficient) living environment. 


Great residential management companies should not rest on their achievements. They should be open-minded, collaborative and continuously looking to improve their service offerings and customer service. Ask if your company will obtain candid board member feedback regularly about how they are performing – and whether they will take action as a result of that feedback to become even better at providing your community with the best service.

Ability to Listen

It may seem basic, but it is essential – and often a fault of many highly-experienced property management companies. Some companies may assume that just because they have been in the business for years, they already know exactly what your community needs. A company with the ability to listen and collaborate with your board will be able to customize their full-service association management solutions and value-added services to meet your needs, achieve your goals and realize your community vision.

It may sound cliché, but teamwork does make the dream work. All of the responsibilities that come along with being a property manager are too much for one person to take on. The more resources you have for owners and tenants to utilize, the happier they will be.

One specific system you can use is the tier system: property manager, assistant property manager, and leasing agent. The property manager will handle all owner related and delicate matters. The assistant property manager will be the main point of contact for all existing tenants. The leasing agent will handle all rental inquiries and schedule all property showings. This way, there is a specific person for clients to speak with, and issues are resolved a lot quicker. It is also important to have maintenance, accounting, and insurance departments in order to handle specific issues, respectively.

Client satisfaction is your main goal. Happy clients mean more business, and more business means more success!

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