Elite AgentEPMEPM: Leadership

10 things every principal should know about property management

While property management is changing, it still provides the solid base of many real estate agencies. Kasey McDonald explains how principals can keep on top of what’s happening in their property management departments.

From what I’ve seen, most principals have taken a similar journey en route to taking the reigns at their agency.

You were a successful salesperson who embraced the natural progression of opening or buying your agency. You knew property management played a vital role in the future success of the agency, but it was an area you knew little about.

You had a basic understanding, but you had no idea about legislation, what forms were required, the software you needed or the challenges you would face in this area of the business.

At this point, most principals find themselves in treacherous waters and engage an experienced property manager to run the department so the principal can get back to doing what they do best – selling and leading the team of agents.

Does this sound familiar?

I have been consulting in the real estate industry, predominately in the property management space, for more than 10 years and the majority of businesses I meet with have followed the path outlined above.

I often see sales-based principals pouring all of their energy and resources into sales, while the property management division takes a backseat.

It’s peculiar to me, given the bulk of a real estate business’s value is in the size and quality of its rent roll.

What I find alarming is that there are still a vast majority of real principals who have lost touch with what is happening in their property management department on a day-to-day basis.

I’m on a quest to change this.

Here are my top 10 tips for a principal to keep abreast of what’s happening in their property management department while continuing to sell.

1 Make yourself available for the weekly/fortnightly property management meeting. Your input might be limited, but being in the room shows support and dedication to the team.

2 Regularly share and communicate the vision, values, mantra and expected behaviours for employees across the brand. This is the DNA to your culture and must be emulated in all departments, not just sales.

3 Ongoing training and development provides employees and the business with benefits that make the cost and time a worthwhile investment. But don’t just send your team; join them.

4 When onboarding property managers, provide a comprehensive induction program that will assist them to understand their responsibilities quickly, what software and processes you have in place and what your expectations of them are.

5 Acquiring new managements is important but retaining them accelerates profitable growth. We all know it’s a lot less expensive to keep a current customer than it is to acquire a new one. Work with your department head and call your landlords every 12 months to seek feedback.

6 If growth is a focus, you need to employ a business development manager. Although it is important for your property manager to consider growth in their day-to-day duties, don’t expect them to grow the business at the same rate as a dedicated BDM could. The positions are different and require specialised people to fill them.

7 Know your numbers and understand what each management is worth to you, what it costs to manage and how long tasks take to complete.

8 Ask to attend a routine inspection, entry condition or even a vacate inspection so you can form a level of understanding of what the role of a property manager entails.

9 Implement relevant and smart KPIs and use them for measuring your team’s and business’s performance. KPIs are critical for monitoring financial performance and they can help improve employee morale and customer satisfaction. Don’t make the mistake of not aligning your KPIs with strategic objectives.

10 You know the right technology will increase productivity, improve workflows and reduce costs, but not all staff will have this point of view. The key to successfully introducing new technology is to involve and train your team before they start using the tool.

They need to understand the benefits and have full support while using it. You can have the best technology, but if your employees do not embrace it, it is a waste of money and time. Research and choose software that will work best for your business vision.

Overall, it’s essential that a principal gives the same dedication and resources to the property management department, as they do the sales team

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Kasey Mcdonald

Kasey McDonald is the Director and Principal Consultant at PMT Academy AU/NZ/USA, consultant and trainer at BDM Academy and the Co-Founder of Real Estate Training Group (RETG)