The evolution of a property manager

Whether you’re looking forward to your career in property management, in the thick of it, or reflecting back on it, here’s what the journey to the top looks like.

Good property managers somehow manage to be trust accounting geniuses, technological wizards, top communicators, gifted organisers, occasional crisis counsellors, and savvy business-people. They’ve got a black belt in pretty much everything except krav maga (and we’d suggest not testing the krav maga hypothesis, just to be on the safe side).

And yet, the number one quality of a good property manager is their ability to evolve, and keep evolving. These are the pros who understand that it's not just about working harder or multitasking more than everyone else. Let’s start at the beginning.

The new kid on the block

If you’re new to the business, welcome. Your first mission is to learn your agency’s real estate software and get your head around the maths. Don’t just stop at the basics. Help your principal get the best value for money from their property management software and they’ll thank you for it.

As you quickly become the most technically proficient property manager in the office, share those skills. Early signs of leadership include sharing knowledge that helps the whole team do their job better. On that note, if you’re new to Console Cloud or Gateway, head to our support page for more. We have a number of different ways to skill up.

The time management master

This is also the time to master organisation. While having good tools will help you work faster, the key to next-level organisation is taking the time to figure out how long everything really takes to do. That way, you’ll budget your time better, and smash through those tasks in the time you said you would. Time measuring can be as simple as keeping a diary, or using a tool like Toggl to help you track your speed.

If you want to learn more about organisation, here's how to use design principles to improve your productivity

The good character judge

Property managers are judged by so many things. Not least of these are metrics: vacancy rates, rent in arrears, and churn of landlords and tenants. That’s a lot to keep on top of and still go home on time.

The go-getter property managers we’ve seen tend to focus on the screening process. We mean screening of both tenants and landlords here. Since a good match of both landlord and tenant means less work on your part, the result is better metrics, and the more valuable it is to your portfolio.

The difficulty in the current property climate is that principals wanting agency growth feel the pressure to get more business fast. And that might mean getting more bad business. Bad business is the kind where landlords won’t spend money to maintain their property, or call constantly, or invade tenants’ privacy. Or, it could mean a painful tenant who believes you should answer every call on the first ring... at 6 pm on a Friday night. For a leaky tap.

We've noticed that the best property managers learn from their peers and mentors here. They learn to read the signs of a landlord or tenant that is worth their while, and one that's likely to be trouble. Put simply, the next step to excellence is all about mastering character judgement. 

The crisis counsellor

Every day, tenants and landlords call their property managers. Sometimes they're concerned about very real and very urgent concerns. Sometimes, they call about, well, a light bulb that needs changing.

Whatever the request, you know that letting people feel heard is the first step to resolving the issue. The unique position of property managers is that they must balance a person’s primary home and personal space with another’s mortgage or nest egg. A lot is at stake in a lease, to put it bluntly. And when it comes to money and rooves over heads, people can get emotional.

Fair enough. But wise property managers understand that there’s a pretty close correlation between the quality of the relationships with your contacts and your cost to serve. Poor conversations, in other words, are going to lead to problems.

The best property managers communicate with empathy, and respond quickly. Somehow, despite the stress being thrown at them, they remain calm and handle it (maybe they do all study krav maga after all). And they understand that even though properties are their bread and butter, they essentially manage expectations and stress for people. In other words, they’re also part-time crisis counsellors.

Feel like you’re not quite there yet? Check out The Communication Book: 44 Ideas For Better Conversations Every Day.

The property market authority

The property market authority keeps an eye on the market. They’re reading Macquarie’s Residential Real Estate Pulse Check Reports, checking trends, and learning all they can about the residential tenancy market.

These are the property managers that real estate principals dream of having on their team. Not only do they fill landlords with confidence, they bring valuable business knowledge to the agency, and help your team make better choices about what to do next. Best still, everything they bring to the table, they bring to the agency’s property management reputation. And in a saturated market of agencies, reputation matters.

Want a place to start? Podcasts such as The Profitable Property Management Podcast and Elite Agent Magazine’s Elevate are replete with pearls of wisdom from the best in the business.

The customiser

Experienced property managers look at how they can customise the services their agency offers to each owner in their portfolio. How do they want to be contacted? How often? Do they want extra surveyor or renovation services? Do they want you to simply help them maintain the value of the asset, or grow it?

2018 has been dubbed the year of the customer. It was the year businesses really began to pay attention to not only what customers wanted, but how they wanted it. Customers did not want the cookie-cutter treatment: they wanted options, and they wanted them everywhere.

Property managers at the very top of their game saw this on the horizon, and they looked for ways to provide that next level of service. Between their property market prowess, interpersonal skills, technical abilities and big picture thinking, these property managers know what owners want, and how to help them get it. 

The entrepreneur

The ultimate goal for many property managers is to become the next principal, or take their expertise and reputation to start their own agency.

While the path to excellence may be long and windy, the demand for talented property managers in the industry is high. So for those with an entrepreneurial spirit—and the drive to succeed—starting your own agency is a real possibility.

It’s never too early to start preparing for your big break, but you’ll need a whole raft of other business skills to take you there. Why not start with some free online marketing training from Google Digital Garage? And if you think you might be ready to make the leap, visit in Australia, or to get started. Good luck!


Wondering what to read next? Here’s why neither email nor letters will win the communication wars, and why joining Console Lab has serious perks for you and your agency.