The 9 Essential Skills of a Property Manager and How to Build Them

What Skills Do Property Managers Need?

Search internet job postings for property managers and you should notice a trend —or perhaps lack thereof— in the job descriptions: property management requires a wide range of professional and interpersonal skills to be effective.  

If you’re an owner, you might be wondering how you can possibly find all these skills in one person. And if you’re a property manager, you’re probably thinking about how to develop all those skills.  

SimpleYou start with the most important skills and then build on that foundation. In this blogwe’ll tell you the nine most essentials skills any property manager needs and how to build them. 

Organization and Attention to Detail

At the top of the list is organization. On any given day, you could: 

  • Develop and coordinate a plan for property improvement 
  • Maintain a calendar of due dates for inspections and lease renewals 
  • Prepare financial reports for your owners
  • And even assess the performance of your on-site staff 

Miss any one of those things and you could have a potential disaster on your hands. 

How to build this skill: Havsystem in place that helps you stay on top of your day-to-day, month-to-monthand annual tasks. Some helpful tips include: 

  • Making a to-do checklist at the start of the day 
  • Going old school” and using sticky notes 
  • Investing in project management tool that allows cross-collaboration

Source: Simply Productive 

Outstanding Customer Service

You must be able to understand people in addition to your property. Having outstanding customer service is all about putting yourself in the shoes of your residentIf a resident comes to you with a complaintthey expect you to treat their issue with urgency and importance. 

How to build this skill: Practice emotional intelligence. It will force you to practice empathySome helpful tips include: 

  • Recognizing what your initial reactions are to positive and negative situations 
  • Asking yourself why you have those reactions
  • Practicing exercising the most effective emotional reaction to those situations 

Emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance, explaining a full 58 percent of success in all types of jobs.
Source: Talent Smart 

Proficiency in Industry Software

These days, technology is essential to a company’s success. That’s why no matter your industry, the job market demands that you have basic computer skills. And for multifamily, it’s essential that you know how to work the technology that propels the industry forward 

How to build this skillIf you’re a little rusty on maximizing the use of your property management softwareyour provider should be able to provide onetime and ongoing support to help you become a master. Some helpful tips include: 

  • Contacting your software provider’s support team to see if they provide live and e-training  
  • Earning certifications to demonstrate your competency in different software platforms 
  • Joining user groups engineered to help you master their software and master strategies you need to grow your business 

Property management technologyor proptech as it’s often called, is one of the fastest-growing investment sectors in the world. Between 2016 and 2017, venture capital investments tripled in the space.
Source: Forbes 

Strong Communication Skills

Property managers regularly communicate with different audiences; on-site staff, residents, vendor partners, leadership, etc. It’s the way you communicate with these different people that determine your property’s success.  See how ResMan integrates SMS text messaging into the property management platform here.

How to build this skill: Write and practice public speaking oftenThenask your audience for feedback on how you can improve. Some helpful tips include: 

  • Contributing to your company blog regularly  
  • Creating an internal email blast 
  • Speaking at meetings or conferences regularly 

Strong Sales Skills

It’s not all burst pipes and apartment tours. When all is said and done, you will constantly be selling your personal value as a property manager and the value of your property in your marketing strategies, in your meetings, and all your relationships. 

How to build this skill: You’ll want to practice thinking about your audience’s motivations. This will help you tailor your message. Some helpful tips include: 

  • Doing your research on the people you’re trying to persuade
  • Thinking about what information you need to uncover 
  • Focusing on understanding the other party, what they need to accomplishand how they measure a good deal

82% of B2B decision-makers think sales reps are unprepared.

A Growth Mindset

At the end of the day, owners and operators need someone to preserve and increase the value of their properties. 

All property managers should have a basic understanding of finance. They should be able to calculate cap rates, cash-on-cash returnsand the internal rate of return (IRR). Having this mindset equips property managers to make important business decisions 

How to build this skill:  You should understand your leadership’s needs and wants so that you can effectively provide your property management company what it needsSome helpful tips include: 

  • Networking with other multifamily and real estate professionals to see what their companies are building towards 
  • Taking courses where your skills fall short 
  • Nurturing relationships with leadership  

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most onsite property management positions. However, many employers prefer to hire college graduates for commercial management positions and offsite positions dealing with a property’s finances or contract management.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 

A Problem Solver

One size doesn’t fit all in property management 

You’ll have onsite staff that comes to you looking for guidance and help with their daily issues. You’ll also need to solve bigger problems that come with management. Think: prioritizing budgets, proving ROI, changing broken processes, and providing a welcoming atmosphere for employees and residents. 

To help build this skill: Sometimes it takes creativity to manage a property successfully. A great property manager should always be striving to learn new things and to push themselves further. Some helpful tips include: 

  • Seeking opportunities to find resolutions. Start small by asking your onsite staff to identify the challenges they face. Then, brainstorm and research solutions that can make their daytoday easier 
  • Speaking up and sharing your thoughts 
  • Thinking outside the box 


The best property managers inspire the best in others. This is especially important on days when onsite staff is dealing with especially troubling residents. As a property manager, you’ve got to motivate them to keep their heads high and still deliver great customer service. And to do it every time situations seem tough to handle. 

How to build this skillPractice motivational habits and implement them across your team. Some helpful tips include: 

  • Electing a mantra 
  • Implementing an employee recognition program for exemplary behavior 
  • Participating in team building activities 

Inspired employees are more than twice as productive as satisfied employees.
Source: Bain Research 

Develops Other Leaders

Micromanagers suck. And so does being stuck professionally.  

Multifamily needs more leaders. So, part of your job is developing your team to rise through the ranks. 

How to build this skill: Start by learning to recognize potential in others. Some helpful tips include: 

70% of the respondents indicated that job-related training and development opportunities influenced their decision to stay at their job.
Source: Shift 

This list can seem daunting, but don’t feel intimidated. Whether you’re doing the hiring or the applying, there is no precise amount of these nine skills that will make you the “perfect” property manager. Rather, look at these skills as the foundation for a great leader. 

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If you already have a great property manager and now you’re looking for a great property management software, read our whitepaper on choosing the best property management software for your business.

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4 Property Management Maintenance Tips for the New Year

As we ring in the new year, the time to start planning for your property management company’s success is now. Preparing your service teams early in the year when your property is less hectic will pay off for the rest of the year and beyond. If implemented today and continued throughout the rest of the year, these four initiatives will ensure a successful season for your business.

1. Organization

Organization is key to helping your service teams be as efficient as possible. Shops and storages should be neatly arranged so that parts, tools, and appliances are readily recognizable and accessible. By having your service team work on this goal, it will serve several purposes.   

First, because everyone will have a hand in cleaning and organizing, they will take ownership in keeping the shop and storages clean and in shape.  

Second, if everyone works on reorganization, then everyone will know exactly where to find parts and tools. If you go as far as color-coding and labeling all your shelves and bins, you’ll save time for each service team member every time that they need to find something in the shop. Not to mention your maintenance supervisor will be able to order and control inventory in this new system much faster.

Finally, it’s also a great team building exercise. Throw in a couple of pizzas and soft drinks and it’s more like a shop cleaning party.

2. Scheduling

Now that your new budget is set, you should know:

  • What capital projects you will be doing this year
  • What month they will happen
  • How much they should cost

You’ll also know when other projects are scheduled to take place such as pool and spa openings, fire extinguisher inspections, fire protection system inspections, elevator inspections, preventative maintenance, etc.  

Some or all these projects may require a vendor to complete. If you need to get bids, the earlier the better. If you already know which vendor you will be using, get on their schedule in advance. This ensures that you get your projects done when you need them done.  

By taking the time to put together a master schedule and making those vendor arrangements, your maintenance supervisor will be able to focus on what really needs attention during the busier time of the year. It will also cut down on your maintenance staff forgetting when certain projects are due. 

3. Training

Another thing that should be on your radar early in the year is training for your service teams. Providing training gives your service staff new and improved skills that will increase their productivity and their level of customer service.  

However, not every team member will need the same kind of training. Look for training options that come with some sort of accreditation or certification. They are more desirable among service staff.  

Some of the most popular classes include; EPA 608 certification, Certified Pool and Spa Operator (CPO) by The National Swimming Pool Foundation, and the Certificate for Apartment Maintenance Technician (CAMT) through the National Apartment Association Education Institute. You can access these classes through your local apartment association, your vendors and suppliers, or private industry educators.  

Cross-training is also a very valuable exercise not just for a service team on one property, but for your service teams across all your properties. Having different on-site staffers get to know each other will pay off when one property may need extra help due to vacation, loss of manpower, or the occasional deluge of work. It’s also a new way to build comradery across your apartment communities.

4. Mentoring

Some people believe training and mentoring are the same. They are very different. Mentoring is done on a one-on-one basis and the skills and knowledge obtained are usually more specialized and in-depth. 

I have seen several maintenance technicians get promoted to maintenance supervisor roles and fail. That’s because they didn’t have the administrative skills necessary to be great maintenance supervisors. Now is the time to start grooming your service technicians for leadership by pairing them with excellent maintenance supervisors. Remember, not everyone is cut out to be a mentor. Ask around your staff to see who would be interested. It will be very beneficial for both the mentor and the mentee. 

By starting with just one of these suggestions, you will set your service teams and your property management company up for more success in the new year. Each one of these initiatives will improve your service team’s productivity and empower them to handle more of your community’s day-to-day operations.    

By Chad Moulin: 

Chad Moulin has been in the field of property management for more than 25 years.  Chad has earned his CAMT designation through NAA as well as been recognized many times over as a leader in property management maintenance. 

Starting out as a groundskeeper and working his way up through the ranks of property management, Chad has worked on almost every type of property and dealt with every type of resident imaginable.  

In 2012, Chad created Prop Ops: Property Operations Training and Consulting.  His goal is to bring a higher standard and more in-depth type of training to the world of property management through a maintenance perspective. Chad’s seminars are designed around a real-world approach to achieving property management excellence. Visit his website here.

Your property management platform should be helping your maintenance team. See how ResMan can help increase your property’s value by streamlining the maintenance process.