A good property manager can be hard to find. But they affect a high percentage of your business, from maintaining properties and collecting rent to creating goodwill with tenants, vendors, and the community.
Your business depends on good property managers to make things happen. Here’s what you should look for in a good property manager and what you should avoid in a bad one.
What Can a Bad Property Management Company Do to Your Business?
Let’s start with the worst-case scenario: You’ve hired a bad property manager or management company. When this happens, few things are easy about the property management business. A bad property manager adds risk to the variables that matter to the success of your business. They can add a lot of stress to processes that should be fairly seamless. Ultimately, a bad property manager can reduce your bottom line.
They can also affect your reputation in the marketplace and the community where your property resides. If your property management team develops a reputation as dishonest, unresponsive, or even rude, the quality of the tenants will begin to decline. Who wants to live in a place where they have to fight to get their home taken care of? It’s a slippery slope, but a good property manager can turn everything around.
Good Property Managers: Jack—and Master of All Trades
The best property managers we’ve seen are both a jack of all trades and a master of just about everything they take on. Good property managers are smart enough to hire out the vendors to do the jobs they can’t handle while still juggling various tasks every day. When you’re looking for a good property manager, experience matters. Experience teaches most property managers the discipline they need to succeed in this multifaceted and challenging role.
Good property managers exhibit both soft and hard skills to do their job well. They must have the right temperament, patience, and diligence to do the work. But they also must exhibit an understanding of the technologies needed to do the job.
Some of the key soft skills of a good property manager include:
- Communication is at the top of the list. Communicating with people, including tenants and vendors, is a critical part of the property manager’s job. Sometimes dealing with unhappy tenants or vendors who are less than responsive makes this job challenging. You’re looking for a property manager who can conduct themselves appropriately to keep communication flowing even in the toughest circumstances.
- Positive attitudes go a long way when the job presents challenges. You’re looking for that diamond in the rough that is so even-keeled they can handle job pressures and still be pleasant to tenants. Continuing their positive interactions with the public while juggling tenant demands, building issues, and rent collection is all in a day’s work for a good property manager. On a tough day, a positive attitude can get them through—and this is probably true for just about any job.
- Organization is a top skill for good property managers, and for good reason. These professionals handle multiple tasks every day, every hour, and sometimes, every minute. Good property managers are able to juggle all of it while still paying attention to changes in local fair housing laws that affect your business.
Technology can help automate many tasks, but it doesn’t take away from the basic level of task management that a good property manager must undertake when they come to work each day. A disorganized property manager will come off as frustratingly unresponsive to your tenants. This will affect lease renewals and client retention. Look for property managers with a strong system for managing tasks each day on the job.
- Professionalism is a characteristic necessary if you don’t want your property manager to be perceived as a pushover by vendors and tenants. Professionalism separates good property managers from bad ones in many ways. For example, a professional property manager will come off as matter of fact but not angry during even the worst customer interactions. They will handle all situations with aplomb. They are courteous and kind but firm.
A professional property manager is the one that never or rarely lets frustrations show. They do not react rudely to any situation, which could reflect poorly on your business.
The hard skills that good property managers practice include:
- Technical skills that allow them to use property management software, billing tools, or even email to streamline their efficiencies.
- Marketing experience that helps with promoting your property and selling potential tenants on the merits of residing there, is an important manager skill. Property managers need sales skills to engage with potential tenants. But they also must be able to write and post vacancy listings and come up with innovative ways to engage potential tenants.
Good property managers approach the job from a learning framework. Their job is to continually improve their approach to reduce the volume of problems associated with managing a property and the people that work or live there. They are not complacent or reactive as a regular rule—or at least they don’t want to be. Their goal is to stay on top of the work so they practice a certain level of proactivity over just reacting to problems as they come up.
This means not only staying on top of changes in local building ordinances or tenant laws, they must also be proactive in their approach to building maintenance. This is particularly important to protect the buildings and landscape because it heads off problems before they arise. Look for a proactive manager that not only knows the geography of the property like the back of their hand but that also establishes routine maintenance schedules to keep things in tiptop shape.
Tenant Planet is California’s leading property management team. We couple our on-the-ground people skills with technology to less your risk, improve collections, decrease vacancies, and proactively protect the properties you own. Find out why building owners choose our team first for all of their property management needs. Get in touch today.