Firstly, whether you are in a large organisation or a small growing business, property management is originally a people business.Whether it is your daily contacts, your customers, your suppliers, or your employees: to manage your organisation successfully and smoothly, you will need skills.
In addition, there are competencies to building management that require a manager to have specific skills.
In this article, we will analyse not only the managerial skills and knowledge needed to succeed in real estate but also the personality traits and characteristics that contribute to making an effective property manager.
Property management, despite its name, is all about people. If you manage properties or facilities for a large organisation, it requires you to listen, anticipate and identify the needs and expectations of stakeholders. You must constantly coordinate with suppliers; organise and motivate others; and listen to your customers or guests.
The property manager skills you need can be summarised, to some extent, as the basic ability to:
- understand others, their needs, their expectations;
- make your needs understood;
- present your expectations as reasonable, feasible, and mutually beneficial.
An effective facility manager will have to share ideas and actions involving several parties within an often tight timeframe. Even well-prepared actions face difficulties that require adaptation. Poor communication, because it is incomplete or unclear, can lead to wasted time and frustration on the part of workers, suppliers, or customers.
Whether verbal or written, communication is key. And depending on the area being managed, a good manager must communicate easily with different types of interlocutors.
Good communication means:
- Relaying information in a clear and concise manner;
- Present complex projects in a simple way;
- Getting several parties interested in a project;
- Conveying urgency or seriousness without creating stress or panic;
- Respond to complaints or dissatisfaction in a sympathetic manner;
- In a survey conducted by Urbest on job advertisements for management positions, the following written communication skills were consistently requested:
- Strong technical writing, organizational and verbal communication skills, including the ability to present effectively to management;
- Proficient in the principles of government regulations with the ability to verify contractor performance and contract compliance.
A knowledge base
Recruiters are looking for a manager who has the specific knowledge to carry out their duties effectively. Although specific skills are expected, a certain amount of practical knowledge is also expected:
- Knowledge of health and safety requirements;
- Knowledge of government regulations and policies relating to construction and contracts;
- Knowledge of environmental standards and procedures.
As a property manager is required to collect rents, employ subcontractors and develop maintenance and renewal plans, financial knowledge is required as well as the ability to:
- Read and understand a balance sheet and estimate the expected benefits;
- Properly assess depreciation;
- Accurately calculate interest and understand the time value of money;
- Budgeting and monitoring expenditure;
- Plan for future costs.
Cultivating your geek side
In the competitive field of property management, more and more entities are using software and other technological advances to gain advantages: to increase efficiency or to make complex parts of the job smoother and easier.
For this reason, a good manager will not only need a certain level of competence in the use of software/ equipment but he or she will also need to demonstrate an ability to learn and combine new technologies (for example, a CMMS).
Given the constant evolution of technology, experience with several types of software or mobile app is generally more valued by recruiters than mastery of a single application. Due to the speed of technological advances, it is unlikely that the same programs will be used in the same way in the future. By being aware of these constant changes, having new technologies updated makes it easier to learn and assimilate new ways of working.
New technological tools that are frequently introduced can help you, your colleagues, and your customers. Good property manager uses these tools to create additional value for their customers' experience.
The problems a manager is likely to encounter can often be symptomatic of larger, often unidentified problems. An effective property manager needs to be able to break down problems, identify the cause-and-effect relationships, and solve them.
Property managers with strong analytical skills can accurately forecast financial results and develop plans to achieve their goals and objectives. Managers with strong analytical skills consistently carry out their plans and produce consistent results.
This skill set includes other abilities such as
- Attention to detail;
- Critical thinking skills;
- Knowledge of materials and equipment;
- Research skills;
- Creativity (original thinking).
Analytical skills are a prerequisite for problem-solving, which is why recruiters often ask a candidate about a recent problem they solved. Recruiters are particularly interested in the methodology the candidate used to solve the problem: how they identified the problem; the steps they took to find the true source of the problem; the solution options they considered; how they assessed the best corrective action to take; and how the solution was implemented.
Although much research has been conducted to show that multitasking is not as effective as focusing on one task at a time. Unfortunately in management, this option is not always available.
In property management, a problem left unattended can quickly lead to a whole series of new and more serious problems; not to mention tenants or customers will usually be less than patient. Multitasking is key to an effective property manager.
A good property manager will need to apply analytical skills to prioritise the multitude of issues they face. He or she will need to:
- Effectively communicate the appropriate course of action;
- Clearly define expectations;
- Remain organized;
- Precise while allowing for flexibility.
A person with strong multi-tasking skills also demonstrates the following competencies:
- Ability to prioritise;
- Ability to work under pressure;
- Ability to delegate - Planning capacity.
- The real-estate sector is above all a customer sector. It is the client, the occupier or tenant, who makes the business work. Although much of a property manager's time and energy is spent solving human or technical problems, a good property manager must have a customer-oriented approach. By putting the customer first, the property manager will increase his or her chances of prioritising tasks effectively and will mitigate potential dissatisfaction and avoid other potentially more serious problems.
The personality or characteristics of a good manager:
- Property managers are patient and flexible;
- They do not panic under stressful conditions;
- They are assertive, but their good communication skills enable them to work well with others.
- They are good listeners;
- They have an aptitude for researching and acquiring new skills and learning new technologies;
- Their strong analytical skills enable them to identify cause-and-effect relationships of current and potential problems and they can prioritise tasks effectively.
A good property manager depends on others and combines tools to perform their job effectively.
Read more about the tools of an effective property manager.