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.
Simple: You start with the most important skills and then build on that foundation. In this blog, we’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: Have a system in place that helps you stay on top of your day-to-day, month-to-month, and 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 a 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 resident. If a resident comes to you with a complaint, they expect you to treat their issue with urgency and importance.
How to build this skill: Practice emotional intelligence. It will force you to practice empathy. Some 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 skill: If you’re a little rusty on maximizing the use of your property management software, your 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 technology, or 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.
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 often. Then, ask 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 accomplish, and 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 returns, and 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 needs. Some 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 on–site 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 on–site 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 on–site staff to identify the challenges they face. Then, brainstorm and research solutions that can make their day–to–day 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 on–site 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 skill: Practice 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:
- Giving frequent performance evaluations that will help you find coaching opportunities
- Allowing your on–site staff the chance for more responsibility
- Creating a formal development program
70% of the respondents indicated that job-related training and development opportunities influenced their decision to stay at their job.
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.