Property management is often a complex, demanding role. But, what challenges are actually experienced every day on the job and what solutions are there to combat these challenges?
Many property managers are experiencing high levels of burnout and are unable to manage their workloads, as a result of competing priorities, conflicting expectations from owners and tenants, as well as a lack of support in traditional agencies.
We’ll be exploring some of the most common challenges faced by property managers and diving into the latest research into the state of the property management industry.
What are the top 10 property management challenges for 2023?
1. Mental health and the ability to switch off
Mental health is a big topic of conversation and many real estate industries are facing increasing burnout rates and mental health struggles from their team.
In fact, *53% of property managers say they struggle with mental health and have a hard time switching off after work. Property managers also said that upset tenants and landlords contributed to their increased stress levels, making this one of the biggest property management problems.
With these stats pointing to an overly stressed workforce, it's no surprise that *23% of property managers say they intend to leave the industry altogether.
With such high numbers of property managers reporting struggles with their mental health, the need for a solution has never been more urgent.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways agencies can help their employees manage mental health struggles and find solutions to better switch off after work.
- Put systems in place to deal with out-of-hours requests: This can include setting up automatic email responses, giving tenants emergency contacts if a major issue occurs out-of-hours and using the right property management software to help tenants resolve urgent issues.
- Launch well-being and mental health initiatives: Consider flexible working arrangements with work-from-home days and free counselling for all team members.
- Provide better support to team members: A good place to start is to check in with team members to ensure they are able to handle their workload and aren’t feeling overwhelmed. Plus, make sure you have enough hands on deck managing properties to reduce individual workloads.
2. Dealing with aggressive or abusive customers
When property managers have to juggle opposing demands and expectations between owners and tenants, conflict is just part of the territory.
However, this can come as a major challenge to property managers and *60% say dealing with aggressive or abusive landlords and tenants is one of the hardest parts of their job.
Let’s take a look at ways agencies and property managers can put systems in place to manage conflicts and deal with aggressive customers.
- Training in conflict resolution and negotiation: To manage the demands of tenants and property owners, property managers should be properly trained to deal with conflict resolution and negotiate competing interests to keep both parties happy.
- Frameworks and scripts for dealing with common issues: Consider offering scripts to junior employees to help them handle tough conversations. Plus, role-playing common customer issues can better equip property managers to handle common situations they’ll likely face.
- Escalation processes and plans in place: Make sure there is a formal policy in place to escalate customer issues so property managers feel supported. This can include speaking to another team member or having a clear protocol in place for more complex situations.
3. Managing a heavy workload
*63% of property managers feel their workday is too busy and burnout is a common experience leading to high turnover in many agencies.
From the 2021 Voice of the Property Manager Report, participants noted that “a lot of property managers are leaving the industry as there are too many hours required and the job is never finished.”*
With that in mind, agencies and principals need to find ways to help their teams manage increasing workloads to avoid high burnout and turnover.
There are various systems agencies can put into place to better support their teams under increasing pressure.
- Use tech to automate routine tasks: One of the simplest ways to reduce workloads is to harness the power of tech to automate mundane tasks (like data entry) and get things done more efficiently (with a lower chance of human error).
- Use tech to understand capacity and resourcing: Through the right tech, agencies can see the number of properties a property manager is responsible for and make adjustments if the workload is overwhelming. Plus, project management tools and timer apps are a great visual way to manage and understand property managers' workloads and tasks.
- Put processes in place to save time and boost efficiencies: By using a centralised way to communicate with tenants and owners, property managers can reduce the number of methods of communication. Another great tip is to make sure all tenants have direct debits set up and property managers have accounting software to automate bank reconciliations, too.
4. Keeping up to date with legislation
Not only do property managers have to understand the legislation but they have to be able to keep up with compliance changes, too.
In fact, *31% of property managers say keeping up with legislation is their biggest challenge.
With workloads already high and a stack of demands and responsibilities, it can be pretty difficult to keep up with changes in legislation.
Compliance is an essential part of the job, where rules and regulations have to be met. So, agencies have to find ways to support their teams better while also ensuring that all properties meet rules and regulations.
- Bring in specialist assistance in compliance to support property managers: Bringing in people who are experts in compliance can ensure property managers have more time to keep up with their existing workloads, while other team members are responsible for ensuring properties meet compliance standards.
5. Dealing with technology
*17% of property managers say dealing with technology is their biggest challenge.
Additionally, just *34% of property managers thought they have the right tools needed to do their job properly.
With the right tools and harnessing the power of technology, property managers can automate a lot of processes and communicate more efficiently with tenants and owners.
This has trickle-down effects in reducing workloads, boosting efficiency and helping property managers switch off after hours.
- Stay ahead with a purpose-built solution that doesn't rely on clunky integrations: When choosing tech for your team, you’ll want to look out for tech that doesn’t rely on integrations (which can make life harder). Our tip? Find a truly all-in-one tool that means everything can be done from a single dashboard.
- Don’t avoid innovation, embrace it: *25% of property managers are completely satisfied with the tech they use, yet, *64% say they won’t be changing software again within the year. By not embracing tech, property managers can miss out on innovative platforms that can aid in time management and boost productivity and efficiency.
6. Growing expectations from owners and tenants
Customer demands have changed, especially with COVID and the impact of technology, making instant replies a common expectation and norm for real estate industries.
Recent research reveals that property managers find growing expectations from owners and tenants either a perceived problem (*15%) or a challenge (*39%).
As owners and tenants come to expect more from their property managers, there’s never been a better time to level-up your customer experience and find smarter ways to take care of your rent roll.
Property managers have to find a balance between meeting customers' expectations yet managing their existing workloads and taking care of themselves.
- Using tech-driven systems: Sometimes customers' expectations may exceed the capabilities of property managers. So, it's important to use tech-driven systems to meet the needs of modern customers who need answers to questions in a time-efficient manner.
7. Changing work practices: flexibility
A consistent finding in the Voice of the Property Manager Report was that *66% of property managers value flexibility, yet *34% of real estate directors don’t permit working from home.
This presents a real challenge for property managers and agencies. Workplace practices and requirements are changing across the board, yet this is not reflected in practice.
Changes in workplace practices and environments have to be employed by agencies to meet the needs of their team and provide flexible working arrangements.
- Rethink traditional approaches to property management: Adopting team-based and specialist functions that aren’t reliant on individual property managers allows for greater flexibility in the workplace. Having a team of property managers (backed by niche specialists) can reduce individual workloads and offer a better customer experience.
8. Lack of career growth or progression
Just *37% of property managers agree that their job offers good career opportunities. This number has significantly dropped from 56% in 2018.
We know that a large part of career satisfaction and retaining your best people is the opportunity to grow in a role. So, agencies have to prioritise career growth and progression to reduce turnover.
Prioritise the needs of employees in wanting career development, training and room to grow within the business.
Some of the simple ways agencies can combat the lack of career progression in property management are:
- Make training and development a priority: Training and development are a major part of ensuring property managers feel equipped to handle the job, but did you know that only *34% of property managers believe they have been trained properly to succeed in the roles? Training ensures they’re constantly upskilling and growing in their roles.
- Establishing career development plans: employees who feel like there is an opportunity to grow in their careers are more likely to stay with you. In fact, research shows that 54% of working professionals said they would leave an organization if professional development wasn’t on the table.
9. Staff retention
As we’ve mentioned, a lack of career development, high burnout rates and mental health struggles are the leading factors in The Great Resignation in property management, with *23% of property managers intending to leave the industry altogether.
To keep your best people around, agencies have to put the right systems in place to avoid losing staff and spending more time and money recruiting new property managers.
- Give support, training and resources: one of the best ways to boost retention is through the right support systems in place, training and resources for property managers to access when they need it. This can better equip property managers to handle the complexities of the job and manage high-stress environments.
10. Streamlining processes and boosting productivity
One of the top priorities for agency principals and property managers is improving processes and increasing productivity.
With a stack of rent rolls under management, working productively and efficiently is pretty important.
To get all your work done, manage your portfolios and handle communication with tenants and landlords, going digital can save you a lot of time - ultimately boosting productivity.
Here’s how to do it.
- Skip manual processes for smarter digital workflows: manual processes can take too long and come with the risk of human errors. Switching your manual processes for digital workflows that give you access to everything you need in one single dashboard means you’re not wasting your time running through a bunch of different apps and software.
Property management is a complex job, where difficulties, conflicts and increasing demands from tenants and property owners can take a toll on property managers.
Ultimately, with the right support, training and pathways for professional development, your team can deliver a top-notch service (without burning themselves out along the way).
Not sure where to start? Here at :Different we’ve designed the easiest way to scale a rent roll, minus the headaches and operational complexities. We give you the team and tech to grow your rent roll while ensuring you retain ownership and score a guaranteed margin, too.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is for general informational purposes only. All information is provided in good faith, however, we do not account for specific situations, facts or circumstances. As such, we make no representation or warranty of any kind whatsoever, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness of any information presented.
This blog may also contain links to other sites or content belonging to or originating from third parties. We do not investigate or monitor such external links for accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness and therefore, we shall not be liable and/or held responsible for any information contained therein.