Being a property manager is probably one of the most challenging careers out there. It requires the patience of a saint, the juggling skills of a circus performer, and the stamina of a professional athlete. At the end of the day, however, it is much like any other endeavor: challenges loom larger when we’re overwhelmed, and making some simple changes in our daily routine – and our attitude – can yield amazing results. Here are a few foundational things you can put in place for managing multiple properties that will help you excel at your job and keep your sanity.
Choose Your Partners Carefully. Whether you are part of a larger company or a solopreneur, working for a single principal or many tenants in a high rise, you will need a team of vendors and service providers who can jump in, sometimes with very little notice, to deliver supplies and make repairs. The vetting process therefore needs to include more than a cursory glance at their website, resume, or even a list of previous projects. Ask for references, and reach out to them. If they have Yelp or other online reviews, read them. Find out not just about their skills, but how they deal with clients and whether they stick to deadlines. You might even do a gut check when speaking to them and ask yourself, “Would I want this person working on my home?”
Build Relationships. Just as you want your partners to be good at interacting, so must you be if you want your business to go smoothly. Check in with them regularly – not just when a problem or delay arises – to see how they are doing, if they are enjoying their work, and what, if anything, you can be doing to better support them. The same is true when it comes to your clients. Get to know them and their preferences, especially if one of the services you offer is stocking the home with foods and so on. Obviously, if you’re managing an apartment building with tens or even hundreds of people or managing multiple properties, you’re not going to be BFFs with everyone. You can, however, make yourself accessible and check in with them through online surveys – just be sure to actually read them and address any issues!
Embrace Digital Tools. If there is one ingredient crucial to success as a property manager, it is organization. Everyone knows this, but the word means different things to different people. Some are just naturally more organized than others, and if that’s you, great. But if you’re still running around with a little notebook (or a later iteration – a notes app on your phone), you’re still operating at a disadvantage. For example, there are singular platforms, such as EstateSpace, that provide a digital hub for all of your business-related activities. You can upload documentation, including work schedules and vendor and resident contact information, as well as an accounting of all assets within the property. You can even create a photographic library of before and after pictures during a renovation. No matter how great your memory and attention to detail are, they cannot compete with that!
To sum up, if we learned anything during the pandemic it’s that we do not necessarily need to be physically present to do our jobs well. This was especially eye-opening for the real estate community, who learned to create virtual walk-throughs and conduct closings online – unheard of before 2020. That said, we have also had to find new ways to engage and keep our ears to the ground to anticipate problems and deal with them in a timely manner. The good news is that with the right partners and the right tools for managing multiple properties, you don’t have to go it alone.