EPMEPM: Best Practice & Legislation

Grace under Pressure: How You Can Keep Cool

MANAGING OTHER PEOPLE’S property can often seem like a thankless task with more than its fair share of stress. Penelope Valentine looks at the most common pressures and what property managers can do to help themselves.

There is a long-standing joke that property managers never take a lunch break. Each morning they hit their desk running and in a blink of an eye it’s 5.30pm. Here are my top five tips for property managers who are faced with common pressures of the job.

PRESSURE 1: MINIMAL SUPPORT AND MENTORING:
Property managers can feel isolated when the agency principal is focused on the sales division or, due to lack of experience, doesn’t completely understand the intricacies of the property management business.

Solution: Find your local networking group to seek advice, meet advocates in the industry and mentors to help guide your career. I participate in the networking group ‘Catch Up With The Property Girls’, which was created by Leanne Pilkington, Managing Director of Laing+Simmons and REINSW president-elect, as a nonjudgmental space for women to share challenges and ideas that are specific to their role.

PRESSURE 2: TIME MANAGEMENT AND WORK/ LIFE BALANCE: Without the right time management skills and tools, a property manager can quickly become overwhelmed by the constant stream of urgent enquiries from landlords, tenants and tradespeople.

Solution: Take control of your day by blocking out periods of time for certain tasks and sticking to it. Set up auto responses to emails and return phone calls three set times a day. Technology apps can assist with communication and managing time, but they can be a double-edged sword so where possible turn off your phone outside of office hours.

To achieve a work/life balance it’s important to prioritise time for exercise, eating well and spending time with loved ones. Reading books on the topic can help master the art of time management. I recommend checking out Deep Work by Cal Newport.

PRESSURE 3: BALANCING RENT ROLL GROWTH WITH RETENTION: Property managers can often feel pressure from agency principals to grow the rent roll and are then faced with the challenge of balancing growth with retention of existing clients.

Solution: Set realistic growth goals and think of outstanding client service as business development. Ask existing clients for feedback (such as net promoter scores) to improve your service. Add value to existing and potential clients by sending them highly relevant and valuable information that positions you as the local property expert. This could be an enewsletter containing local market and investment trends, and legislation updates.

PRESSURE 4: COPING WITH UPSET AND SOMETIMES DIFFICULT PEOPLE: By nature, property management is rich in issues and complaints. Often highly frustrated tenants and landlords can become irate and in some cases aggressive.

Solution: Equip yourself with the right tools to handle these scenarios so they don’t become overwhelming. Let the person who is complaining know that you are listening; often they just need to be heard. If their behaviour is causing you concern, ask them to put it in writing. You may need to be firm in some situations, but always remain polite and remember: it’s not personal, it’s business.

PRESSURE 5: LACK OF CAREER PROGRESSION: Stress, rigid work environments and limited earning potential are just some of the reasons for high staff turnover in the industry where, on average, property managers spend just 18 months in the role. Unlike successful salespeople, property managers rarely earn the money to open their own business.

Solution: Regardless of your role, you can take a proactive approach to setting out a career path. I recommend working with a third-party mentor in the industry in addition to your agency principal to create a personal development plan.

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