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What does a Property Manager do?

An Insight in to the life of a PM…

I love my job.

Call me crazy, but I genuinely love the challenges that this job offers… and trust me, I’m not being dramatic when I say ‘challenges’.

At a training event last year I learned that 90% of Property Managers don’t make it past the 2 year mark.* Whilst Real Estate may look like a glamorous job from the outside, In Property Management, a large chunk of our work is not in fact showing people through beautiful homes, having cups of tea with our tenants and dressing up every day.

So what does a Property Manager (PM) do?

Apart from what you know:

Finding a tenant
Collecting rent
Paying bills
Charging water/reimbursements
Bond disputes
Neighbour disputes
Lease renewals
Market assessments
Financial reporting
Overseeing renovations
Investment advice

good PM not only puts in more time than you probably realise to the above (yes, for the best results we honestly do put in far more effort in to these areas than the cheaper agents down the road – I promise, it’s not just a sales line). A good PM wears many more hats. 

Goodbye dignity.

Okay, this heading might be a bit of an exaggeration, but when my face is up close and personal with a dirty toilet bowl, hands only centimetres from the filth, trying not to drop the phone in to the water while I get that photo evidence for a bond claim, it’s hard for that split second to remind myself “I love my job”.

When my core role was Property Management, my car was always equipped with bin bags, disposable gloves, spray and wipe, a scented candle, two door mats, and my handbag carried the sacred hand sanitiser and deodorant.

I’ve climbed in to bins (more so because of my height – at 5ft it’s hard to reach past half way!) to retrieve personal belongings accidentally discarded by landlords/tradies that didn’t see the value in these items. A race against the clock on bin collection day when no-one else can do it!

I don’t remember Psychology being a subject at Real Estate school:

We’re dealing with peoples homes. Where their private life is most affected. Break ups, scandals, illnesses, redundancies, domestic abuse and just general struggles; your Property Manager has probably dealt with countless tenants’suffering personal breakdowns. A good property manager will have a good relationship with your tenants, and all the while maintaining a professional front, and still striving for the landlords’ full and warranted entitlements.

To show compassion whist not giving in to human instincts to ‘look after’ another in need is one of the biggest challenges we face daily. Now I’m not implying that we don’t look after our tenants. Rather, if a tenant can no longer meet their financial obligations, we’ll work with them to explore whether there’s any assistance they’re eligible for or see if we can re-house them in more affordable accommodation. At the end of the day, our job is to avoid burdening our landlords with anyone else’s problems and causing them financial stress (halleluiah for Landlord Insurance!).

In rarer cases, people have tried to abuse certain situations to get away with more, and at all times we must do our best to help our tenants, however we must quickly become very good at this balancing act, and even better at identifying those that are willing to tell lies to cheat the system.

Your Conflict Manager (Punching Bag):

Working in customer service, you learn to accept that you will never be able to avoid high conflict people, and people with personality clashes.

As the mediator and middle-man in most situations it’s easy for people to take out their stresses on us. Some circumstances are just darn inconvenient, especially when it comes to maintenance delays. We get it. It’s frustrating. We feel your pain and we’re doing everything we can, so please try to remember we’re on your side!                         

Let’s not forget the occasional scenes made at open inspections and even in our own offices by offensive characters.

A good Property Manager will have training to prepare themselves to deal with situations like this, and a company that invests in their staff’s personal development is one that is likely to avoid the dreaded 2 year burnout and in turn offer higher client satisfaction.

Lastly, and most importantly, as your Property Manager, we’re your friend. The most important part of our relationship is trust. As a friend we’ll tell you what you need to hear, whether you want to hear it or not, because it’s our duty to get you the best results. If we’re not being honest, ethical and transparent, then we’re falling short.

Jennifer Norcliffe
Investment Specialist  |  New Business Consultant  |  Columnist for The Property Investor

*Source: Darren Hunter | Property Management Trainer