The difference between enjoying your job and having a tough time can be as easy as changing a few simple things. Julia Ridulfo from Rockend identifies some easy areas for change in 2013.
A property manager’s job is a hard one. You have to deal with owners and tenants, somehow keep the peace between them, and stay on top of inspections, maintenance and repairs. It’s unfortunate to hear when a tenant or owner has a bad experience with a property manager, but they are very common. Just a quick search online brings up hundreds of horror stories in real estate blogs and mainstream media. Likewise there are also those regarding tenants and owners!
In any industry there are people who love their job and are good at it and those that just chose the wrong profession. As a property manager, what are the key skills required for the job, and how can you develop them to become the best property manager you can be?
Better time management
This doesn’t just apply to property managers but anyone who wants to get more bang for their buck. Organising and prioritising your day is one of the simplest things you can do, but it’s often the hardest. Emails, phone calls and meetings can disrupt the order of the day’s priorities, but concentrating on one task at a time and being aware of your distractions can easily get you back on track. Some key tips for better time management:
- For long-term planning use a yearly calendar which you can put up at your desk to give you a visual of the big picture. It will help remind you of deadlines, goals and future commitments.
- Fill in a weekly planner. Using the Outlook diary you can block out time for major commitments. Remember to be flexible, realistic and don’t over-commit yourself.
- Don’t put off small tasks. Completing them as soon as possible encourages you to move on to the larger tasks.
- Try dividing your tasks into ‘chunks’ or sections. This will help you approach a larger task in a series of smaller more manageable ones.
Save time by working remotely
Are you making use of the mobile technologies available? There are applications that link to your property management software available on iPhone and Android devices. These time-saving apps enable you to access your database to retrieve owner, tenant and property details straight from your mobile device.
Focus on having meaningful interactions with the people you communicate with on a daily basis. When communicating with someone, don’t multitask! Stop writing the email, eating your lunch or filing papers. Concentrate on the person you’re talking to. There is nothing worse than talking to someone who is involved in another task and not giving you their full attention. It gives the impression that they don’t care about what you are saying. Hone your listening skills, stop what you are doing and turn and face the person, use your body language to show you are giving them your full attention, maintain soft eye communication and an open mind. Listening to their issues and imagining yourself in their shoes will make them more appreciative and consequently more open to having a deeper interaction.
Have the best property management software available
Software is what you as a property manager use every day to do your job, but have you ever wondered how the software you’re currently using compares to others on the market? Is your property management software assisting you or making a mundane task even more difficult? Don’t get stuck in the old software you’re using. If you feel it’s not helping you do your job properly, it may be time to change.
Things to consider when assessing your current property management software:
- Are you a residential or commercial business? Is your software specifically tailored to your needs?
- Can you provide what your clients want to see in their reports?
- Are you in the process of growing your rent roll? If you’re looking at buying a bigger rent roll, are you confident that your current property management software will support you?
- Is your current system being regularly updated with new releases and new functionality?
- Does your software have ongoing technical problems which are not getting resolved?
- Are you getting the support you need?
- Do staff sing praise for your current software or does it cause stress in the workplace?
Changing software can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Your property management department is important, and making sure it’s growing and running as efficiently as possible contributes not only to consistent cash flow but also to staff morale and retention. With the right support and training you can minimise the impact that changing software will have in your office, and once the decision has been made you’re often left to wonder why it took you so long in the first place.
A state of calm
Learning how to manage the stress of the job is important for your health; it also has an impact on the people around you. Exercise can be a great way to maintain stress, and if running marathons isn’t your thing even a brisk walk during a lunch break can give you time to wind down and relax.