A property manager needs to have a certain set of specific traits and other, harder-to-define skills in order to be successful.A property manager needs to be able to listen, as well as be proactive and up to date in the current world around them. Great characteristics such as level headedness, personable and articulate helps create a well balanced property manager. At the end of the day however, most people working in the management industry agree that the most important trait for a good property manager to possess is the ability to communicate and relate to people.
Communication is Key
Good communication is the basic building blocks of management. It is the property manager’s duty to make sure everything runs smoothly, and that requires everyone in the building to understand one another. Conflict is generally a result of misunderstanding, and can be easily avoided if an open communication is established. Like a good leader, a property manager needs to be able to see another’s’ perspectives, to hear what they are saying, and to solve problems. Understanding and balancing multiple points of views may be difficult, but necessary to create a positive environment for the building’s inhabitants.
The property manager is the go-between for everybody associated with the building,they need to be a good interpreter and show diplomacy: listening, understanding, and translating messages between various parties. If you are a member of your board and you have been having problems with the super or the doorman, or unit owners have been complaining, you might want to take a closer look at your manager. Do they maintain open lines of communication?
In addition to communicating well, a good property manager keeps the board of directors informed on several different levels. According to Greg Cohen of Impact Management in Queens, “A managing agent should provide two reports on a monthly basis—a financial report… and a physical report that covers the day-to-day operations of the building.”
The financial report should consist of a general ledger that shows the projected versus the actual budget, as well as accounts payable status reports on shareholders or unit owners. It should also include a check register showing all money disbursed for the month. This should also include copies of bills, bank statements, checks, and a bank reconciliation. In short, the property manager should provide the board with ALL financial information they require.
The second report should consist of all correspondence between management, tenants/owners, the board, etc., and any other paperwork regarding the building’s operations. By keeping the board of directors updated monthly, the manager can see to it that the board is informed and prepared, and, thus less likely to be caught unawares by any unpleasant surprises.
Put People First.
The job of a property manager is a balancing act that requires the agent to anticipate and handle the logistical issues of the building without losing sight of the responsibilities to all the people of the building. With cell phones, and e-mail, a property manager is accessible nearly all of the time—for better or worse. They are in charge of supplies, finances, employees, professionals, boilers, and a whole slew of responsibilities that require incredible multi-tasking abilities. Ultimately, however, they must be responsible with answering questions and dealing with people on a daily basis.
Balancing the logistics while still catering to people suggests that a property manager should split their time 60/40 between being in the field and being in the office. Having an assistant manager in the office to handle calls and relay messages to the manager would be a good way to delegate. Proactively being involved in the present will help prepare a property manager and it’s staff to be prepared for future endeavors.
Professional and personable
In addition to looking towards the future, a property manager must also be physically present, visiting each building in their portfolio at least once or twice a week—not on a set visitation schedule. Managing the building’s employees means keeping them on their toes, and a flexible visitation schedule helps prevent a building from falling apart during the periods when the staff knows that there will be no pop-ins from a manager.
When dealing with professionals associated with running a building, such as attorneys, accountants, or other service providers, a good manager must also act professionally. Dealing with lawyers and accountants requires the same basic communication skills needed to work with anyone, with an understanding of exactly what duties a professional must perform.
In terms of accountants, by keeping the building finances in order and supplying the board of directors with the financial reports on a monthly rather than yearly basis, an organized property manager makes the accountant’s task easier.
The responsibilities of the attorneys, on the other hand, include collecting arrears and implementing the board’s policies. By attending every board meeting, the managing agent is better able to assist attorneys in doing their job.
Whether it be inspecting a boiler, informing the board of a new law, or even making sure the board of directors have all necessary materials monthly, a good property manager’s job is never done. If you have someone who can check the prices of oil or gas against the budget, console a tenant with a sick cat, and mediate a disagreement between two staff members, odds are you’ve got a keeper.
Property managers often refer to their properties as communities, and rightfully so. But have you ever thought about strengthening that community? One of the things that apartment dwellers typically comment on about living in an apartment is a sense of isolation. In order to build and strengthen your community, consider starting up a few of the suggestions below:
Have a decorating contest – you can apply this activity to virtually any holiday or occasion!
Form a community watch program – people working together to keep your residence safe.
Grow a community garden in whatever space you have to use.
Plan monthly events like community barbecue, garage sale, or even monthly movie night.
Hold a monthly drawing for a gift card or free gas. Enter everyone who pays their rent on time.
Send a monthly newsletter giving you a personality with recipes, resident announcements, and a few coupons to local stores.
These events may require some additional time and effort from you and your staff, but creating a sense of community should be at the top of your list. By providing your tenants with a sense of belonging, you’ll create loyal group of tenants who are likely to remain happy renters long term.
There are numerous things that property managers can do in order to conserve energy on a larger scale. It’s currently estimated that about 40 percent of outside heat comes through windows, while 10 percent of heat is lost through windows during the winter, so while it’s important to keep those shades or curtains closed, it may be time to upgrade your property with more efficient window coverings.
One of the biggest energy savers are ‘smart shades’ that help conserve energy. And while any window covering is better than nothing, with current energy prices increasing, managers may want to start thinking about replacing those traditional window shades with more energy efficient ones.
Energy Efficient Cellular Shades – Cellular shades help to filter out damaging UV rays. The shades contain air pockets inside that protect against cold drafts in the winter months. During the summer, direct sunlight and damaging UV rays are blocked by blind fabric, preventing energy waste.
Blackout Shades – These are not like the old blackout curtains used by hotel rooms. Blackout shades block 99% of incoming light.
Thermal and insulated shades – These shades are designed with up to four layers of insulation and are made to fit as closely to windows as possible. Insulating window panels not only offer insulation from the heat, but block out most light as well.
In the home, where do you spend most of your time? Just a guess, but it’s probably your living room. So it’s important this room is designed just the way you want it because it sets the tone for the rest of the house. It says a lot of about your personal style and you as a homeowner.
Here are some creative tips for your living room design that are sure to help get you started.
Set the Tone:
The best way to plan a room is defining its purpose. Is it for entertaining? Or do you want it to have multiple functions? Determining the room will overall help create a useful and comfortable area in your home.
Fixate on the decorations:
Once the purpose is defined, you now have to find a centerpiece: that one feature that draws the eye. Most of the time, it’s the TV. Instead, consider being more original with your living room design. Focus on something more personal to you, like photos or a painting.
Once the focal point has been defined, the next step is furnishing. In order to make things look fresh, you don’t have to buy new stuff. Instead create a whole new atmosphere with just a little imaginative rearranging. Before you start moving around heavy couches and loveseats, picture how the new arrangement would flow in your home. Remember, not everything has to be against the wall.