Biggest Challenges for a Property Manager and Relief to Overcome Them
Property Management Tips
from a Former Property Manager
By Cindy Fisher, Account Executive, RPA® | July 5, 2017
With 10 years as a Property Manager, and now sitting on the other side of the table, I feel I have a unique perspective and would like to share a few tips that will help you address the challenges you face daily.
- Tenant Complaints
- Unexpected Maintenance & Emergency Repairs
- Time Management
- Knowledge & Experience
Let’s face it, Property Managers don’t just manage properties, they manage people, too. Complaints come in all shapes and sizes from nit-picky to serious problems. No matter what the issue is, the best plan of attack is to address the issue up front. The longer it goes unaddressed, the further escalated the problem can get. Meet with the tenant, listen to what they have to say, and reassure them that you have their best interest at heart. Even if you can’t fix the problem, this will earn their respect and trust. One of the leading tenant complaints is work being completed inside the building. Be sure to hire a vendor that has experience working in occupied buildings. Less noise means less complaints to you. This goes a long way for you and your tenants!
Unexpected Maintenance & Emergency Repairs
Unscheduled, emergency repairs are never fun and can be costly. This is why adding contingencies and reserve accounts to the budget is vital. Also, why not take it up a notch and create a scheduled preventative maintenance plan and put a T&M contract in place? It can go a long way to drive down expenses and keep your budget on track.
Everyone has heard the saying “Jack of all Trades.” Property Managers and Engineers are required to be competent in many skills and they are called upon 24/7. The fact is, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Before their alarm clocks go off, the management team has already started preparing the building for their tenants’ arrival. The essentials tend to go unnoticed but the one light bulb that is out is suddenly life-threatening! The tenants also call upon us when they need to hang a picture or move a piece of furniture. Besides the liability this raises for our staff, engineers don’t have the time to act as a handyman to all of our tenants. Property Managers don’t like to have to say “no” to our tenants but it is necessary sometimes. Next time say “no” and offer an alternate solution. Have a reliable contractor in place that can handle the small stuff so saying “no” is not the end result for your tenant. They will appreciate your problem-solving and you can rest assure that your engineer’s time will not be interrupted.
Communication is key in this field. Good communication is the mortar that holds the building together. In order for the Property Manager to do his/her job of making sure everything runs smoothly, everyone in the building must understand one another. The Property Manager is the go-between for everyone in the building. This is not an easy task when you’re dealing with so many different personalities and different jobs that need to be accomplished immediately. Property Managers need to listen, understand and translate messages between all parties — tenants, engineers, contract staff and vendors. A great way to keep an open line of communication is to hold quarterly tenant, vendor and staff meetings. Keep them short – one hour or less – offer breakfast or lunch and mix up the topics. These meetings allow tenants, vendors and staff to get to know each other and ultimately, communication improves! Not to mention, tenants always appreciate a free meal so you gain brownie points at the same time!
Acknowledge & Experience
The bottom line is Property Managers have to know it all. Being in property management may seem simple to those with little experience, those looking in from the outside, but in truth, it is actually a very complex job. Property Managers need to be skilled in multiple trades such as building maintenance and repairs, finance, property inspections and compliance codes, customer service, management and let’s not forget about knowing how to be a good babysitter and therapist! Tenants depend on us for many things. Nothing beats time in the industry, and as much as we hate to admit it, emergencies sometimes can be the greatest education. That being said, taking a BOMI or IREM class can really make a difference. These are also great opportunities to get to know other people in the industry, share ideas and make new friends! Do you have follow-up questions or comments on the “Challenges of a Property Manager” blog? Would you like solutions for additional challenges you may be facing today? Or maybe you would like a few topic suggestions so you can start holding tenant meetings or tenant events. Whatever your need may be, feel free to contact Cindy Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org.