Traditionally the role of a property manager has been administrative and task focused, which often results in clients perceiving them as low value.
There are several reasons why, and it’s an important part of the conversation.
We need to understand what we need to change to become more relationship focussed, with an emphasis on trust and wealth creation.
This is not a conversation about cutting jobs or replacing people with robots.
Rather, it’s about making the role of property management far more rewarding, stimulating and interesting, and leaving the repetitive, boring stuff to the robots.
If you think about a property manager’s day, much of what we do is reactive, administrative or low value.
For example, the tenant reports a maintenance issue and we arrange for it to be repaired.
Routine inspections are another area property managers spend hours on, visiting properties where, in many instances, the tenants aren’t home, and the process of completing a routine is just that – a process.
Technology will replace this type of traditional management in time.
For a long time, technology hadn’t caught up to clients’ or property managers’ expectations.
This has meant proactive management has been done at an individual level.
The problem with this is that it is almost impossible to scale with speed and consistency.
As technology has come along in leaps and bounds, it means we can now re-position the role of the property manager.
Instead of spending time on low-value tasks, which can be automated or outsourced, they can focus on client-focused, higher value parts of the role.
The third key issue we face in traditional property management is the low barrier to entry.
It is not hard to get into the industry, but the expectations, effort and risk involved are significant.
As we move into the new era of client expectation and employee satisfaction, a property manager’s skill set is moving away from being task-driven and administration focused towards relationship management.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to start shifting into the new property management world with these five tips to transition to being a trusted advisor:
1. UPSKILL YOURSELF
This might seem like a no-brainer, but the more knowledge you have, the better you can service the needs of your clients. At the least, I suggest a sound knowledge of depreciation, tax and financial literacy as a must.
2. UNDERSTAND YOUR MARKET, THE ECONOMY AND POLITICS
Are you having discussions with investors about negative gearing, borrowing, and how different election outcomes may impact them? Sharing information in a concise and unbiased way is essential to help educate our clients.
3. TAKE YOUR CLIENTS OUT FOR COFFEE OR A MEAL
Email is used too often in property management. Phone calls are good, but face-to-face is better. If your client can’t meet with you or is out of town, take advantage of Skype/FaceTime and dial them into a routine inspection. These little things make a huge difference.
4. STOP FOCUSING ON TICKING BOXES
If you like ticking boxes, add an item to every checklist called ‘value add’. In every conversation or interaction with a client, ensure you add real value depending on their property needs (and to find out what these are, refer to point 3).
5. VISIBILITY IS KEY
Our clients don’t see much of what we do, so start telling them. Call them with updates, cc them into emails, where appropriate, and let them know you’re working hard for them.
6. BREAK UP GOOD NEWS
If you have three positive updates to report, don’t share them all in one go. Sharing them separately gives you get more opportunities to build relationships.
Significant changes to the role of a property manager are long overdue, but the exciting thing is, embracing them creates a huge opportunity for everyone involved.
The industry will lift, and new opportunities and pathways will emerge as we become a more integral part of our clients’ property journey.