Thinking About Property Management?


Do you aspire to be a property manager (PM), but aren’t sure if it’ll be a good fit? Or are you currently working as a PM and want to reflect on your practice?

Here at LCS, Rent Manager® HQ, we’re devoted to the daily life of property managers everywhere. During our quest to help simplify and streamline the property management experience (through software, services, and training), we’ve gathered quite a bit of information that may prove helpful as you continue in your investigation of a PM career.

First, let’s narrow our scope to residential property management, as commercial property management will be featured in a future article. With this focus on residential management, we’re going to offer a fresh look at what the daily life is really like…

First Thing’s First: It’s Not Easy Work…

…But it can be very rewarding. In other words, don’t get into property management (AKA landlord-ing) because you want to make some easy money by managing a few single-family properties on the side. Consider your motivation. Property management is not for the faint of heart.

Working as the liaison between all entities in the property realm, you’ll have a lot of personalities to navigate (and tasks to juggle). Think building owners, residents, other management staff, and building maintenance/service providers, just to name a few.

That’s just a fraction of the cast of characters in the actual property sphere. You’d also be dealing with outside vendors, service providers, law enforcement professionals, etc. So if you’re up for collaborating and going between, read on about what we’ve found to be essential in the ideal property manager…

Communication Is Key

Are you an excellent listener and communicator, both verbally and on the written page? We’ve found through working with some of the best property managers in the industry that good communication is key, arguably the number-one, most-important quality in a good PM.

Sounds reasonable, right? Good communication is valuable in all aspects of life, but when it comes to property management, great communication is crucial.

Lee Porter, President of Birch Property Management in Greensboro, North Carolina, says, We like to hire PMs who have the people skills that you can’t really teach, over someone who’s been in the industry a long time. We can always teach the business side.

The Ideal PM

No one’s perfect, but the ideal property manager is buttoned up, with some serious communication chops, relatability, and all-around people skills, and capable of handling even the toughest personalities. Ideally PMs have a desire to work with people (or at least like them).

Stellar property managers typically have general knowledge of construction and the community where their properties are located. Experience in basic building components and concepts is also useful. Management experience, whether in the building/property industry or an unrelated field, is always a plus.

Good managers think on their feet, Lee asserts. And for us at Birch Management, technology skills are a top requirement.

Do you know yourself to be an excellent problem-solver who can access a situation and achieve a resolution quickly (even if the solution isn’t always obvious)? How developed are your diplomacy skills? Are you detail-oriented and tech-savvy? If you answered yes, property management might be a great fit for you.

The Risks

As with any pursuit, there are pros and cons to a property management career. It’s important to consider the legalities associated with this role, and to have a knowledgeable real estate attorney to rely on for advice about vendor contracts, tenant leases, etc.

Stay on top of regulations in your state and county, especially those laws which specifically speak to tenants and landlords. Keep yourself in-the-know and in control to avoid the serious ramifications of breaking laws related to taxes, fair housing, licensing, etc.

Tips To Get You Started

Do your Research, Spend time with the Fair Housing Act. Get to know the regulations regarding pest control and your responsibilities as the PM.

Don’t Jump into a PM Job, Seek advice and talk to people in the industry. Get involved in organizations and seek out mentoring from professionals who know the industry inside and out.

Brush Up, If you’re already a successful PM, you’re probably doing a lot right. But it pays to be mindful of best practices and the tips we’ve discussed. Sometimes the best PM veterans still need to brush up on the recent laws and regulations.

…Looking for a fast-paced career where no two days are the same, then property management may just be the path you’ve been searching for.

Photo credit: UNH Manchester/Foter/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)