8 Characteristics of a Good Property Manager
Owning commercial real estate can be an excellent way to diversify an investment portfolio, establish passive income and develop long-term wealth. But ownership is only half of the story. Once you are a landlord, managing your property quickly becomes the other—and sometimes overwhelming—half. Imagine getting a phone call from a frantic tenant with a water leak. Or perhaps another tenant is late paying rent. Of course, there’s also regular maintenance that must be arranged and scheduled. For these reasons and more, experienced CRE investors are happy to work with a good property manager. But how do investors find a commercial real estate property management company they can trust? Here are some helpful tips.
Details, Details, Details
A property manager must focus on the details. Property ownership is genuinely a business, so every penny must be accounted for and documented. Record keeping and financial reporting skills are a must. Come tax time, you’ll be glad to have these detailed documents.
Organized, Organized, Organized
Hand in hand with attention to detail is organization. Details are not missed when a property manager is organized. There should be a process for every aspect of management, from collecting rent and setting a budget to scheduling preventive maintenance and handling repairs. A property manager looks after so many details during a day—leases, renovations, maintenance, evictions and more—that the only way to make sure nothing slips through the cracks is to stay organized.
A Great Communicator
The last thing you want is a property manager that you or your tenants have trouble reaching. Fortunately, technology has almost made this concern obsolete. Conversely, a good property manager will reach out to you when there is a problem. They may take care of it on their own, but they should alert you so you’re never in the dark about what is happening at your building.
Another important aspect of communication is the ability to write and speak intelligibly. With a property manager that is able to convey a precise message, there will likely be fewer disputes among all the parties connected to your property.
Quick Response Time
Being able to reach property managers quickly and easily is important, but only if they are responsive. Do they return phone calls and emails in a timely fashion? The answer to that question needs to be an unequivocal, “Yes!”
They must also respond immediately to an emergency situation in order to keep people and property safe. Failure to do any of these could mean they are managing one too many properties.
Prepared and Proactive
Although a fast response to problems is critical, proactively working to prevent them in the first place is preferable. Therefore, a good property manager will schedule preventive maintenance, upgrade the HVAC system, make sure the interior finishes are fresh and work to resolve problems before they impact tenants or the value of your building.
A commercial real estate property management company that has working relationships with vendors will likely be able to save time and money. They’ll know whom to contact when a product or service is needed, and they may be able to negotiate lower rates or use discounts.
With knowledge and understanding of the local market, your property manager will be able to choose amenities that attract the type of tenants who would be appropriate for your building. Furthermore, setting acceptable lease terms and conditions is also dependent on knowing what the market will bear. The same can be said for when it’s time to sign a construction or service agreement.
There are so many descriptive phrases that can be used to characterize someone who is professional: confident yet humble, patient yet aggressive, competent yet willing to learn, respectful, well-spoken and a good listener, reliable, ethical and friendly are but a few. Combine these qualities with the others mentioned above, and chances are you’ve found a good property manager.
The information contained in this article is general in nature and should not be construed as financial, tax or legal advice. As with any financial or legal matter, consult your tax advisor and legal counsel.