I was going to include this in my FAQ recent post which can be found here, but the answer became a bit drawn out, hence why it gets its own post.
When it comes to Property Managers it’s safe to say that a lot of Owners and Tenants have unfortunately low expectations, preparing them for lessened or expected disappointment when things go wrong and because of this we have an industry with transient clients, constantly changing Property Management providers.
Low expectations can also make exceeding expectations an easier task for Property Managers, do standards therefore decline?
So what are some of the expectations that you should have of your Property Manager, quite simple and basic in my opinion especially when considering that Property Management is essentially a service providing industry.
A Good Working Relationship
Whilst you’re not interviewing for your future best friend, you need to be able to communicate openly and honestly with your Property Manager and be well aligned in your aim and how you want your property managed. Make your preferences clear from the outset and gage the Property Managers willingness to deliver.
– Honest and Open Communication
– Develop Rapport and an Understanding
Whilst everyone must start somewhere, at the very least a Property Manager should have experience in managing their own assigned portfolio of properties. You ideally want someone that’s been in the industry long enough to know their market and has been around long enough to have experienced some of the pitfalls first hand, it isn’t always smooth sailing. In essence, expect that the Property Manager knows what they’re doing and when an enquiry or issue arises that they know how to respond to it and handle it.
– Tried and Tested on the Job Experience
– Knowledgeable in their field
Attention to Detail
Necessary for Property Managers throughout their role, Property Managers need to be across a lot of detail. From thorough inspections and reporting you want someone who can point out possible repercussions and therefore be proactive in preventing issues whether they be short or long term. As an owner or a tenant, you’re unlikely to know all of the ins and outs so having an adviser on all matters demonstrates their level of experience, attention to detail and communication skills.
– Proactive approach
– Detailed and specific reporting
A significant complaint I’ve heard from Owners and Tenants is a lack of communication, and it’s the most significant sticking point for many. Not replying to phone calls or emails in a timely manner, or at all in some cases, cannot be seen as acceptable in a service providing industry. You should expect effective communication and in a timely manner, anything less builds frustration and resentment. A lot of the time my clients and tenants just want to hear something, even if I have nothing ground breaking to report on a particular issue at least they know that I’m onto it, haven’t forgotten about or provide whatever update I have which doesn’t leave people wondering what is going on.
A lack of communication can be attributed to time poor Property managers or those who don’t have time management skills and that can mean a lack of organisation – another must have attribute for someone managing many properties and a wide-ranging list of daily activities.
– Highly Organised
– Regular and timely Communication
Time and Time Management Skills
Is it that they’re busy because of a heavy work load from a large portfolio or a simple lack of support? In the end a Property needs time devoted to it if it’s to be effectively managed. That means inspections, communication and coordination. If your property and its needs aren’t given time then small issues become significant ones. So, while delays in getting issues resolved can happen you can expect that they shouldn’t be caused by your Property Manager but more so followed up and pushed along by them.
– Responsive and timely communication
– Available to deal with enquiries
Knowledge of the Act and Updates to Legislation
Thorough, up to date and ongoing education is a must in this field, with the Residential Tenancies Act being reviewed every five years as well as regular regulation changes it can’t be up to an Owner or Tenant to keep abreast of all the changes that are relevant to them. It is a Property Managers role to ensure that all activity related to Owners, Tenants and the agreements in place are compliant and to pass on relevant education to owners and tenants so that all parties are in the know and ensuring they’ve taken appropriate steps towards being compliant as well.
– Communicating and sharing of relevant updates
– Continuing educating of themselves and therefore clients and tenants where relevant
Problem Solving Skills
Within reason expect that when there is a problem that you’ll be given some solutions or at the least some options that will lead to a solution. A Property Manager should always be focused on a resolution and not solely dwelling on the issue, where seeking instructions a Property Manager should offer suggestions or guidance and not simply be a messenger requesting instruction but actively take part in the Problem solving.
– Provide realistic and practical options towards solutions
– Focus on the Solution not the Problem
People and Listening Skills
Whilst it’s a Property Industry it’s even more so a people industry, when working with people’s properties and tenants homes some level of emotion and attachment is ultimately involved. People need to be treated with respect, empathy and courtesy so you want someone that will take care of a property but more so the people residing in it and clients.
– Active Listening i.e. Concentrating on what is being said, not passively hearing
– Acknowledging and Accepting of feedback and taking it on board
So how do you find a Property Manager that will meet your expectations?
The most helpful way is to ask for honest opinions and recommendations from family, friends or colleagues.
Failing that, do your research and find a Property Manager that suits your needs and can deliver on your brief, once you have short listed a few, meet with them individually and ask questions. Find out how many properties they manage, is the Director Involved in Property Management and do they have support and backing of a team.
Meet with the person that will be managing your property on the front line and use your intuition as well.
Lay out your expectations so you can be given some assurance that they can be met, a good property manager will tell you honestly if your expectations or instructions are not realistic or inline with proper practice, they should be able to communicate effectively and therefore not be afraid of raising concerns or having a difficult conversation.
Remember that it’s preferable to be aiming for a working relationship that is hassle free and enduring, in the long term you’re best off having the same person across all aspects on your Investment’s management as that person becomes familiar with your property as well as your goals and the way in which you want things done.
Property Managers are, at no fault of their own, sometimes handed a large portfolio of Properties to manage and it’s not unusual for one Property Manager to oversee the management of 200 Properties. If that portfolio is not being managed well or is a difficult portfolio that needs a lot of work then the service provided will reflect this and the efficiency needed will not be there.
While I firmly believe the expectations, I’ve listed are reasonable in some cases, Property Managers generally need to be cut some slack. It’s a tough role and it’s not for everyone so make sure you find the right one and then hold onto them.
You’ll be made a lot of Promises as either a tenant or owner, when these are met you’ll know you’re onto a good thing.