Property management is a complex undertaking. Many people misunderstand the multiple hats that a property manager is expected to wear. Property managers conduct necessary repairs, collect rents, meet with prospective residents, hire contractors (i.e. plumbers, electricians, and other professionals), manage to landscape, and address issues raised by residents. Most of these duties are specific to each property and its residents, however, there are a few that are universally applied.
Property management firms tend to take two approaches: hands-on and desk-managed. Here at PropertyADVANTAGE, we like to take a hands-on approach.
Hands-on Approach to Property Management
A hands-on approach to managing properties is incredibly involved. Depending on the size of the property and the number of properties, the property manager is typically interacting with residents on a weekly basis. One of their first jobs is to ensure that your residents know who they are. That means the manager is out in the building, introducing themselves, and always available to your residents.
Always within reach
They need to know their property manager and feel comfortable coming to them. For many property managers, this means giving out a cell number or email address. Good property managers are always on and are able to respond within a day or so. It depends on the company you use and the number of properties each property manager has under their care. A full-service property management package typically includes having that high-touch contact with those on the lease.
The one inescapable truth when owning real estate is that things break down. Property managers will typically hire contractors (or already have a list of trusted partners) to address these concerns. While managers are reaching out to your residents, they are also continually addressing a fix list and coordinating between you, the property owner, the residents and contractors.
Furthermore, managers oversee the contractors to confirm that they are reliable, affordable, and doing their job.
The effect of this is that your property management company will be aware of the quirks of your property. They will know when certain things need replacement or repair.
Desk Management Approach
Conversely, the desk-management approach is more hands-off. Property managers rely on technology to track administrative concerns. Furthermore, while they may not get to know your residents, they always know where to find the manager (typically in the office). This is typically more useful in a multi-family apartment building, where there are many residents to manage.
Ultimately, whichever property management style your property management company embraces depends on the nature of your properties. Most property owners prefer to have a property manager that takes a hands-on approach to management. This ensures that your residents always feel they have someone to go to, while the manager gets to know the property, too.
Learn more about what questions to ask when hiring a property management company so you can find the right one for you: