A Statement On Ukraine from Kevin Maggiacomo, SVN President and CEO

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Five Traits of an Exemplary Property Manager

What Makes an Exemplary Property Manager

According to Rory Williams, Managing Partner at SVN/Demetree Real Estate Services

Owning a property designed to be leased or rented is a significant investment of time and money. These properties—including retail centers, office or industrial complexes, self-storage facilities and homes—also carry a number of inherent challenges. What if I can’t get a tenant? What if my tenant is behind in payments? How do I keep up with the maintenance demands of the property?

Enter, the property manager.

Just remember, you invested a great deal into your property. How can you ensure that you have the best property manager for the job? 

You can—and should—get references, check the person’s vacancy rate or ask the manager a battery of questions about tenant acquisition, maintenance, fee structure, etc. There are also personal traits you can discern by talking to a property manager. These are important markers that will help you make the right choice.

[bctt tweet=”How can you ensure that you have the best property manager for the job?”]

Look for these traits when hiring a property manager.

1. The property manager is an excellent communicator.

On the most basic level, this means he or she promptly follows up quickly on phone calls. If you leave a voicemail, and the property manager doesn’t get back to you, your tenant will probably be treated similarly. Additionally, if a property manager procrastinates, it could end up costing the property. You want a flowing pipeline of communication between all parties, so there are no misunderstandings – the root of so many conflicts with tenants. Being a strong communicator also means being transparent, upfront about everything that is going on in the working relationship.

2. The property manager is highly knowledgeable.

The industry is complex. There is much a property manager must know about the current market, screening tenants, legal considerations, preparing leases. Be sure the person you’re working with speaks with authority and conveys the clear impression of being an expert. A property manager should be able to answer questions easily about security deposits, tenant retention, rent—all facets of the business.

3. The property manager keeps the tenant relationship professional at all times.

The tenant/property agreement is a binding contract that needs to be maintained at a professional level. An exemplary property manager is trained to work with tenants on a professional, dispassionate level – as a business should operate. For this reason, the property manager is able to act as a wall of separation between property owner and tenant, relaying information and taking action as your official agent.

4. The property manager is good with numbers.

Must he or she be an accountant? Not necessarily. But again, you have a large investment hanging in the balance, so the more you reduce the margin of error, the better. A property manager should be math-savvy, able to quickly and accurately calculate your costs, extra fees, cash flows or whatever other numbers are involved in the transaction. Having additional accountant staff is an important hedge against any slips when punching out equations that affect your property. It’s also a big help at tax time. So be sure your property manager has this vital backup.

5. The property manager has appropriate resources.

A property manager should have the resources necessary to make your job easy and seamless. Accounting was already mentioned but you should also take a look at the accessibility to that accounting system and the reporting structure. If a property manager has a team of supporting individuals and the technology required for you to easily access that information, you are likely to maintain a more transparent relationship with him or her. Ask and be knowledgeable about the software capabilities to be sure you’re getting the most efficient and effective product.

To read more about property management, read our Sperry Van Ness Property Management Value Proposition here.

SVN PM Value Prop

Three Questions You Should Be Asking Your Property Manager

Over the last few months, Charles Schwab has come out with a series of commercials that I think are absolutely great! The overall premise is:

“In life, you question everything. The same should be true when it comes to managing your wealth. Are you asking enough questions about the way your wealth is being managed?”

The same is true for your property. Try reading that passage again, but replace “wealth” with “property” or “asset”. Keep in mind, oftentimes your “wealth” is “property” or “asset.” As we closed out 2014, most of us looked back to reflect on the year now behind us. As we enter 2015, we now look to how we will reach our goals for the year ahead. How will we make 2015 better than 2014? When it comes to your property, there are 3 questions you should start the year off asking your property manager. These questions, include:

1. Is my property at risk?

A recent case study came out which showed amongst all property management companies polled, there was an average of only 15% of tenants that were compliant with the insurance requirements in their lease and even worse, only 4% of vendors were compliant with the property owners’ insurance requirements.

If you called your property manager today and asked for a list of every vendor on your property and their Certificates of Insurance (COI), would they be able to furnish them? Within the hour?

2. How are you proactively managing my property?

We have had wind and rain over the last few weeks that has wreaked havoc on the Southern California area. For some properties, this was not an issue because properties were properly inspected and actions taken knowing that we were moving into winter months. Would a roof inspection have shown issues that could have easily and potentially inexpensively been repaired? Did your manager go out and walk the property after the first rain and heavy winds?

If I asked you when the last time your manager was out at the property could you tell me? What about how many times within the past month?

3. How will you increase my Net Operating Income (NOI) in 2015?

This is what managing the asset is about. And when you ask this question, the leasing aspect shouldn’t be the only consideration. As we start of 2015, just like everyone who made a resolution or a goal to get to the gym, diet, lose more weight, did you or better yet, did your property manager, make a goal to cut the fat, shed expenses, and increase your NOI in 2015?

When was the last time your property manager checked in with you and asked what your goals for the property were? Or are they just hoping you don’t sell so they can keep the monthly income?

Start a conversation, ask the questions, and demand a timely response. At the end of the day, you may look at it as you are only paying them $2,500/month to manage it. When you should be looking at it as you are paying them $30,000 a year to care for the property, be responsive to your tenants, and continuously search for ways to increase your NOI. Or better yet, what else should your property manager being doing for earning that $30,000 per year?

Are you interested in receiving a free management plan for your property or properties? If so, contact our Property Management Product Council Chair, Nicholas Ilagan at nicholas.ilagan@svn.com