The skills you need to be a property manager
Are you looking into a career in property management but don’t know where to begin? Property management can be one of the most challenging yet rewarding professions. It requires wearing many hats and performing many different services to enhance a property’s value and quality of life for its inhabitants. When hiring new property managers, a property management company will look for various skills. All property managers at Dynamic Residential are trained fully to understand the niche market, corporate culture, communities and service standards.
The best residential property managers will apply their broad skill set to the unique situations they encounter on the job. They move easily into situations requiring strong communication, negotiation, customer service, and organisational skills. Property managers also can manage more real property-related concerns, such as maintenance and repair issues.
Property owners may be hesitant to hire a property manager. After all, how could someone possibly care for your property as well as you can?
It’s nearly impossible to guarantee someone will be a good fit for your company or property. But if they have these attributes and skills, you have met your perfect match.
Strong Communication Skills
Communication skills are first on our list of the ‘must-have’ property management skills. Without strong communication skills, a property manager’s job will be cumbersome. A residential property manager must communicate effectively with people on all levels, including property owners/ landlords, current and prospective tenants, contractors, the whole property management team, and other professionals. This role is about coordination, requiring listening and delivering messages to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Knowing how to communicate effectively and diplomatically can make or break a career as a property manager. They must regularly share information with renters, owners, maintenance contractors, and real estate agents. While properties are an important part of a rental property management company’s portfolio, success in property management relies on maintaining a high rental rate by attracting and retaining new tenants. In essence, the quality of interactions will seal the deal for tenants.
Respect means that you communicate. You’re easy to access, and when unavailable, you have processes allowing tenants to connect with your property management company. Online tenant portals also allow tenants to self-manage by asking questions, finding information, and paying rent online at a convenient time is an investment that will pay off. Keeping lines of communication open is a valuable skill and ensures the building and maintaining good relationships with tenants.
Property managers often have several tasks on the go, requiring strong organisation skills. Being able to set up systems to streamline the workload and keep many balls in the air at once is a must.
They must manage a schedule while also screening and interviewing prospective tenants, inspecting vacant apartment units, and ensuring everyone has paid their rents and contractors are doing their jobs. The workload can feel stressful without the ability to organise, and your work will look rather sporadic to others. Well-organised property managers define their duties and create organised checklists and deadlines to ensure they don’t miss a thing.
Property management is very detail-oriented and requires a high level of organisation. Take a leaky roof, for example. They might have avoided the issue if they had conducted an annual property evaluation and identified maintenance concerns. This would have been possible through a stronger management process, enhanced by an ongoing maintenance schedule, including checking appliances, plumbing, and other common areas. These systems and programs can be automated with rental management software and help the process run smoothly.
Knowledge of Relevant Landlord-Tenant Laws
Guess who tenants and property owners often go to with their real estate-related inquiries? Their property managers. A property manager must know current real estate and tenant legislation in depth. These laws can change, so the property manager should stay current on all regulatory aspects of property management. It is often okay to admit that you do not know the answer, but an authentic property manager will look for the information and come back with a solution.
Customer Service Orientation
Customer service orientation is another one of the key property management skills. In essence, property managers serve their customers. Customer service is about being approachable and handling customer inquiries diligently.
A good property manager makes themself available to tenants. When tenants or the property owner ask questions about the rental property, a good manager will respond as soon as possible while taking urgent action. The manager will have a bank of reliable contractors for unexpected repair and maintenance work. Additionally, good property managers do not hide behind the organisational processes of property management. Rather, they prioritise people over other responsibilities, thus reaping the benefits of strong tenant retention.
Excellent customer service and robust communication go together. When they direct a question to a manager, they want an answer as soon as possible. Good property managers have a way of managing tenant queries and concerns for problem-solving. In addition, a tenant portal makes these questions and concerns visible to tenants. Suppose a tenant contacts their apartment manager about a possible leak in the roof of their unit. A property manager must take responsibility for this complaint, treat this issue as an emergency, and respond promptly. They will have a list of pre-approved contractors and a schedule showing when employees or contractors are available to inspect and manage the customer’s problem.
While some property manager skills are more obvious than others, marketing skills tend to be ignored but are no less important. Why would a property manager need marketing skills? Property managers will advertise vacant apartment units and write about them to excite them while knowing where to list to reach the desired groups of prospective tenants. Writing a great property description requires a deep knowledge of the property’s amenities and location and an understanding of how those amenities will attract a specific group of tenants.
Luckily, marketing is a learned skill, and there are good resources online for learning real estate marketing. Indeed, plenty of support is available if you feel your core competencies lie within other property management functions.
While most property managers are skilled in property maintenance, not all have extensive marketing knowledge. However, marketing is a complementary skill and can make a great property manager.
Technical Property Know-How
Property managers may have very different backgrounds, but the key denominator is a basic technical understanding of buildings which ensures well-documented inspections. The result? Keeping properties safe and secure. Their technical knowledge also helps foresee common problems at their rental properties and proactively mitigate them. It is one of the most essential property management skills owners and tenants expect their managers to possess.
Portraying Characteristics of a Property Manager
Being a property manager requires different approaches in different situations. Property managers must show patience and flexibility yet assertiveness and know when to display each. Patience, especially, can be tested when working with stakeholders with different expectations. Contractors running late, tenants stopping paying their rents, or property owners expecting urgent reporting are all moments that require patience and flexibility.
Conversely, a property manager must be tough, especially when tracking late rent payments and handling evictions. It requires a high level of professionalism and tact. Social intelligence ensures property managers adjust their behaviour according to any situation.
Think Like Investors
Property managers manage the properties of investors. This means they must manage the property as real estate investors. To this end, they must understand the goal of owning a rental property is to increase value and revenues.
Anyone working in real estate and property management knows that the industry is quickly digitising. This also impacts the property management skills managers are expected to master. New and improving technological tools are available to assist you, your tenants, and the rental property in various ways. Good property managers use these tools to create additional value for their customers’ experience. Today’s tenants are used to different and emerging digital tools, and most are willing to embrace them. So, property managers need to stay up-to-date on the latest apps and digital property management tools to aid better customer experience and competitive advantage.
The property management industry is evolving at a rapid speed. Both property managers and their customers must be comfortable using technology because #proptech is here and a way to stay competitive in the marketplace.
The only thing certain is change. A diligent property manager is committed to ongoing professional development in training and education to support and further develop their skills. There are many professional development books and other resources online to ensure they are up-to-date with industry developments and the requisites of the role.
Be dependable and available.
Being available when clients need you is critical. A property manager must interact with different kinds of people, and it’s their job to satisfy them.
They will respond to emails and phone calls promptly. They will let them know if they cannot respond immediately and offer apologies. A good pro[perty manager will show them that they care about resolving their issue as soon as possible.
Property is a fast-paced and highly competitive niche. It’s therefore important to have the skills and abilities to keep ahead of the rest. These habits will make an excellent property manager with self-discipline and determination.
Commitment to Ongoing Education
A candidate’s commitment to ongoing education goes hand-in-hand with all of the above qualities.
It’s difficult to find a ‘perfect’ property manager. Some have stronger skills in certain business areas than others. Regardless of their hard skills, you’ll want to find someone who displays all the qualities of a good property manager discussed in this article.
Property managers must have diverse skills and understand properties and, most importantly, people. Some property managers come from a background in customer service, while others come from experience in building maintenance. Each manager should understand how buildings work to ensure thorough inspections and the typical problems of rental properties. This allows them to respond appropriately and rank maintenance issues according to their urgency.
Successful property managers get things done in a timely fashion. They’re also savvy and experienced enough to know which parts of their job take priority over others. If you’re considering joining the industry, practising the above and your strong work ethic are vital.