A great property manager knows that there’s always room for improvement. There’s no way to “master” the real estate industry when it’s constantly changing—all you can do is to keep learning. You can start by getting inspiration from these 10 brilliant habits of successful property managers.
You can’t separate the people aspect of the business from your daily duties. Your job has two key purposes: to help tenants live comfortably while representing the property owner. Keeping all of them in the loop should be your top priority. Don’t just call them back when they have a problem; reach out first and communicate so you can head off any issues. If you can set a friendly-but-professional tone for regular check-ins, you’ll have all the information you need to excel as a manager.
Efficiency is the name of the game, but the rules aren’t etched in stone. Don’t just be content to get through the month without any disasters; strive to do it better, faster, cheaper, and with a bigger smile on your face. Send surveys to your tenants for feedback and concerns. Consult with owners about goals. Tackle time-consuming responsibilities with an eye toward streamlining them. Make sure that your workday is lining up with your priorities.
You’re not moving forward if you’re doing the same things over and over. Set processes for routine tasks so you can do them in a fraction of the time. Post templates on the management website so tenants can download and submit maintenance requests. Enable recurring payments. Automate payment reminders and late fee notifications. Audit what you do on a regular basis to increase your effectiveness. Centralize everything—documents, checklists, data—so it’s at the ready when you need it.
It can be a challenge to learn time-management skills, but as a property manager, it’s your only way to survive. Revisit your daily, weekly, and monthly schedules, looking for opportunities to be more efficient. If you’re always doing something last-minute, schedule it properly and set a reminder. Schedule time for breathers, too. Assign deadlines to everything you can. If you find yourself always pushing a task off to the next week, make it your No. 1 priority—or ask yourself if you really need to do it at all. Give yourself permission to concentrate on one thing at a time, even if it means turning off the phone for 15 minutes. Even you have limits, so draw boundaries where appropriate.
You can get swallowed up quickly in paperwork, so scan in everything you can and store it in the cloud with a system that works for you. The idea is to minimize the paperwork, but we’ve never before had so much to document. You’ll need a foolproof way to keep notes and create a “paper trail” for everything, ideally without buying another filing cabinet. You’ll be handling legal disputes, inspection reports, security deposit records, eviction proceedings, and many more delicate matters. Paper gets misfiled or can even go missing, and that’s not acceptable.
Capitalize on Technology
Software engineers are forever coming up with new ways to help you—you might just not realize it. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time a new app comes out, but you might be surprised at the tools you’ve been ignoring. Embrace change and keep an ear out for new technology that can address your specific needs. Experiment with new ways to approach organization, communication, scheduling, and more. You might want to download one of those deep-breathing apps for meditation breaks, too.
You can get wrapped up in your work and soon find yourself isolated. Make an effort to spend time with others in the business, even if it’s a casual meet-up with no agenda. You can find mentors to learn from, or newbies who could use some guidance. You might hear about a great deal before anyone else, or pick up a pro tip about how to deal with a nightmare tenant. A property manager has a lot of responsibility, but you’re not the only one in this situation. Spending time with people who understand what you do just might save your sanity.
Study the Market
If you get too bogged down with the day-to-day minutiae, you can forget to look at the bigger picture. Part of your continuing education is to keep up with your local market and track trends. You have to be up on any changes in regulations, and how the rental scene is changing. You need to be aware of what the competition is doing so you can retain valuable tenants, and be knowledgeable enough to advise owners on profitable strategies. Read, listen, observe—even if it doesn’t seem important at the time, file away the information for later.
One of the most brilliant habits of successful property managers is to regularly remember that they are human. Answering late-night phone calls and putting out (metaphorical) fires can take its toll on your physical and mental well-being. It might sound basic, but you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of everyone else’s needs. Get plenty of sleep, drink water, and eat well. Work exercise into that packed schedule of yours. You won’t feel guilty about spending time on yourself if you know it will make you better at your job—and it will.
Roll With the Punches
Who you gonna call? Sorry, the Ghostbusters can’t come to rescue you. You’re the one everyone calls in a crisis, so you can’t afford to panic under any circumstances. You need to find a way to keep everything in perspective, or the stress will eat away at you. You are the calm at the center of the storm. Yes, you’ll make mistakes. And those are probably the best lessons you learn. If you find yourself slipping into stress, just look to your other habits to right the course. Optimize your time. Maintain some balance in your life. Look to your support team when you need a hand. You’ll probably have to occasionally admit that you’re just one person and you can’t do it all.
At R. Russell Properties, we’ve been rolling with the punches for decades. If you’re interested in property management services in Orlando, Florida, you won’t find anyone with more expertise, talent, and passion for real estate. If you need help handling your properties, we can partner with you to get the job done right. Contact us for more information and insights.