Finding an exemplary property manager can be a big task. This person will be the one looking after the building, taking care of day-to-day operations, and keeping a low vacancy rate. That's a big order to fill, and so you need someone capable of doing the job.
When searching for someone who'd be a good fit, look for these five qualities.
- Detail-oriented: Property managers aren't big picture people. They must be able to see and manage the small details. Strict attention must be paid in an industry where laws and codes change frequently. Failure to do so may leave tenants or clients unprotected. Changes to building codes or province laws need to be followed closely. Repairs and safety hazards also need to be handled quickly as they can lead to lawsuits. These issues need to be frequently inspected to ensure all is in order.
- Communication: In the interview, does the prospective property manager give one-word answers or do they fully elaborate on the answer? The latter is the one you want. Giving one word answers it a clue that they don't like to communicate or don't communicate well. Communication is an important aspect of property management as they must frequently communicate with the client and tenants. When dealing with complaints, they need to be professional, communicating the status of the complaints to tenants. If issues like maintenance and rent aren't communicated clearly, tenants will be angered be the lack notice. Even if the person can talk, they need to listen too. Tenants may need to vent every once in a while and may appreciate someone to confide in and help make their situation better.
- People person: The last thing you want is a property manager that hides from tenants. You can't have a hermit managing the building. How they interact with people will help make the building a more comfortable place to live. It will also go a long way with plumbers, electricians, painters, and others who do work in the building. Charisma draws people in like a moth to light. Being approachable is key; a property manager that seems distant will have a hard time attracting new tenants and keeping current ones.
- Honesty: Honesty goes a long way with clients and tenants. You need a property manager that can give it to you straight and honestly tell you what's wrong, what needs to be changed, and what's happening. If they aren't honest, you, as a client, won't feel taken care of and that the building is mismanaged. They also need to be upfront with tenants. Yes, some issues are easier to beat around the bush with, but others need a straightforward answer. Rent collection is a big one. Money is a sensitive topic at best. If a rent check won't be deposited for another two days, let the renter know ahead of time. If repairs can't be fixed for another week, let tenants know so they can plan accordingly. Honesty really is the best policy.
- Organization: There' a lot to be done in managing a multi-family building, and things may get a little hectic at times. You need someone who is constantly on the ball and organized. Dealing with background checks, invoices, security deposits, lease expirations, etc. needs a high degree of accuracy that only comes with organization. A skilled property manager will handle all of these well because they'll have a tried and true organizing system in place.
Property managers need to have a lot of skills if they want to be good at their job. A skilled property manager knows how and when to communicate to clients and tenants, is detail-oriented, a people person, honest, and organized. Hiring a property manager without one or more of these skills will prove to be a problem further down the road.