No matter how big or small your agency is, the simple truth is that property management is no walk in the park.
From juggling the needs of both owners and tenants, to having their finger on the pulse of the local market, being a problem-solver, and communicating effectively – A property manager needs to possess a wide range of skills to be able to do their job.
Given all that, it's crucial for agency principals to scout out top-notch property managers who have the necessary skills to work efficiently, perform at their best, and deftly handle conflicting interests.
Ultimately, hiring the best team of property managers who can handle the complexities of the job and build long-term relationships with customers is what will set your agency up for success.
In this article, we’ll be diving into five important property manager skills you need to look for when making your next hire. We’ll also explore why investing in upskilling your current team is essential in maximising their potential and ultimately boosting your agency's revenue.
What skills do you need to be a property manager?
Property managers need to be able to navigate competing priorities, time-sensitive deadlines and necessary duties and responsibilities like collecting rent, addressing maintenance issues and keeping your rent roll compliant.
Here’s a list of the top five skills you need to look out for when hiring property managers for your agency.
1. Local market knowledge
Knowing how the local real estate market works is an essential part of being a property manager. Property management requires an understanding of the value of a property and its potential rent, and how they differ based on location.
A good property manager with a solid knowledge base of the local market will be able to give accurate strategic advice to investors about when to raise the rent, what kind of tenants they should be looking for and how to get vacant properties leased as quick as possible.
Here are some questions you could ask in the hiring process to gauge their local market knowledge:
- If an investor is looking to purchase a rental property with a reliable source of positive cash flow, what suburbs would you recommend and why?
- How do you stay up-to-date on changes and developments in the local real estate market?
2. Good communication and organisational skills
Property managers are responsible for a lot of moving parts on a daily basis, from responding to tenants to booking tradies and ensuring owners are kept up to date.
This means that good customer service experience and a proactive approach to communication are essential skills to consider when hiring. The best candidates should ideally have a proven track record of keeping owners and tenants happy, and aren’t afraid to pick up the phone and get things done no matter what.
It also means that having good organisational skills is a must, in order to be able to stay on top of everything. Managing multiple tasks, assessing priorities and handling important deadlines in a timely manner are among the top skills for a good property manager.
Here are some interview questions to assess a candidate’s communication and organisational skills:
- Could you give an example of a time when you had to diffuse a difficult situation with a tenant or owner? How did you handle it?
- How do you manage conflict resolution between tenants and owners?
- How do you prioritize your workload and ensure that all tasks are completed on time?
- Could you describe a time when you had to manage multiple competing priorities? How did you handle it?
3. A problem-solving mindset
As a property manager, it's inevitable that challenges will arise when managing a rent roll. So it's essential to seek out candidates who possess a strong problem-solving mindset.
From complicated maintenance problems to tenants wanting to break lease, the range of issues that can come up are as wide as they are unpredictable.
A good property manager should be adept at balancing the expectations and needs of both tenants and property owners. By understanding and empathising with their situations, analysing the circumstances, and proposing the best course of action, they can successfully negotiate a mutually beneficial agreement.
For example, a tenant experiencing financial difficulties may request a rent reduction. A property manager might resolve this problem by liaising with the owner and proposing a $15 weekly discount on rent for a period of time, since it’s financially smarter to have discounted rent rather than a vacant rental property.
Here are some interview questions that can help you figure out a problem-solving mindset:
- Can you give us an example of a time when you successfully negotiated or solved a problem between a tenant and a property owner?
- What is your process for dealing with a tenant who consistently pays their rent late? How would you go about resolving this issue?
4. Attention to detail
When hiring a property manager, it's important to seek out candidates who possess a detail-oriented mindset. After all, they are handling an owner’s most valuable asset.
Property managers have to handle a variety of tasks and responsibilities, including responding promptly to emails, ensuring timely rent payments, and maintaining up-to-date compliance documentation.
Additionally, conducting regular inspections to identify potential issues is a crucial aspect of effective property management.
For example, a good property manager will be able to notice early signs of mould before it becomes a bigger issue (which can save investors a lot of time and thousands of dollars in the long term).
Some questions to ask potential employees about their attention to detail are:
- How do you handle communication with tenants and property owners? Could you give an example of how you've responded to a tenant's inquiry or concern?
- How do you handle routine inspections? How do you document and follow up on any issues found during inspections?
5. Insights into relevant compliance laws and regulations
In addition to handling day-to-day tasks and management responsibilities, it's essential for property managers to possess the necessary knowledge to ensure rent roll compliance.
Older properties are generally at higher risk for not meeting compliance standards, so a good property manager should stay ahead of the game and take proactive steps to keep all properties compliant.
Not meeting compliance standards can be pretty costly, and landlords can be fined up to $220,000 for not meeting compliance requirements.
Property managers should also know exactly where and how to look out for changes to compliance laws and regulations so they’re always up to date.
Some questions to test a property manager's knowledge of compliance and regulations and how to apply them are:
- How do you stay up to date with compliance laws and regulations in your state?
- How do you handle a situation where there is a potential compliance issue with a property? Could you give an example of a time when you had to ensure rent roll compliance and how you achieved this?
How can the right skillset help property managers handle difficult situations?
Did you know that 60% of property managers agree that dealing with conflict between tenants and landlords is the biggest challenge in their job?
With this in mind, it’s helpful for agencies to look for property managers that not only know how to deal with conflict but can avoid it in the first place.
Let’s take a closer look at how property managers with the right skillset can handle difficult situations presented to them on the job.
- Fosters good communication with owners and tenants: Property managers act as an intermediary between owners and tenants. So, communication skills ensure property managers can prevent conflicts before they lead to bigger issues.
- Enables property managers to negotiate conflicting interests successfully: When conflicting expectations do arise, a successful property manager can understand both perspectives and reach a resolution that keeps all parties happy with mutually beneficial solutions and compromises.
- Boost your bottom line and earn consistent revenue: Happy tenants are likely to be long-term tenants. By keeping your rent roll tenanted, you can ensure you’re earning consistent income for your investors, while boosting your chances of scoring a profit as a real estate agency.
Why you need to invest in upskilling your current employees
Hiring great property managers is just one piece of the puzzle as an agency principal. It's just as important to invest in your current employees through training and upskilling.
A property manager’s skills and responsibilities are wide and varied, making it essential for them to continually upskill to stay competitive and meet the evolving needs of the industry.
Did you know that only 28% of property managers believe that their job offers them good career opportunities? According to the same report, only 34% of property managers agree that they have been given the training needed to succeed in their roles.
One way to combat low retention rates is to invest in upskilling your employees and providing opportunities for career development. Finding ways to reduce property manager burnout and creating work life balance within your company also plays a crucial role here.
Let’s dive into some of the benefits of investing in your employees through upskilling.
- Maximise the value of your existing team: The more skilled your people are, the more efficient they are likely to be at work. By investing in training, you can ensure your team’s performance is the best that it can be while lowering your fixed staffing costs.
- Boost retention: Learning new skills helps to keep your team feeling valued, respected and engaged at work. This means they are less likely to look for other roles, so you don’t have to spend more time and money on hiring new staff.
- Improve level of service and customer experience: Ultimately, employees with the right skills and training can provide better services for their customers and answer any customer concerns that may come up.
How to ensure a consistent level of service across your entire business
At the end of the day, real estate agencies want to ensure that all their property managers are performing at their best and are equipped with the right skills and tools to provide customers with a consistent level of service.
We know that hiring a great property manager can be a challenge, and that’s why :Different for Agencies helps your agency grow and manage your rent roll with ease.
Our team-based approach ensures you’re gaining the best people in the business, backed by specialised support to ensure a smooth, seamless level of service to build long-term relationships with customers.
If you’re an agency wanting to create a great customer experience, having the right team of property managers with the right skill set is essential. :Different for Agencies brings the best people on the job to help you manage and scale your rent roll.
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