The year is 2040. The world is in lockdown due to a global pandemic. The real estate industry is unrecognisable. Oh wait… did we say 2040?!
Let’s start that again: what we’re trying to conjure here is a vision as to what the real estate industry might look like in the future. Or, more specifically, what the role of a property manager might be. There’s no doubt about it, the real estate industry is in a genuine state of flux at the moment and we are being required to adapt quickly, nimbly and innovatively. There’s no better time to future-proof ourselves than right now.
So what might a property manager look like in the future if we continue on our current trajectory? Where is the profession headed? What will the key responsibilities and skills be? What about metrics of success?
Here are our two main predictions.
1. Property managers will become increasingly relationship driven
Property managers of the future will be asked to respond to technological change, just as property managers of the present are. While developments in technology are beyond our immediate control, taking pride in building strong, resilient and ultimately valuable relationships with clients is within our control; and will increasingly become a non-negotiable.
As practical tasks such as rent collection and admin are automated, the genuine value in working with a property management agency will lie in our ability to build positive relationships; relationships that are based on solid communication skills and an ability to anticipate and solve client challenges.
Even now, we are seeing the industry adapt to the present circumstances by honing our ability to negotiate; negotiating rental reductions, conditions of leasing and a host of other areas to ensure that properties continue to be leased and tenants looked after in the ever-shifting landscape.
Learning to adapt now will no doubt serve us well in to the future.
2. Property managers’ success will be measured by their ability to create wealth
Property managers are going to get a whole lot better at, and more comfortable with, articulating how their clients can ultimately build wealth through property. Gone will be the days of property managers focusing on inspections, maintenance and rent collection; the industry will demand that property managers possess the ability to get inside the mind of their clients, understand their investment goals and develop strategies to meet them.
Even now, the context in New Zealand demands a more diverse approach to property management by sheer fact of the percentages of investors who engage the services of a property management agency, versus those that manage their property privately. At present, roughly 65% of Kiwi investors opt to self-manage their property, while about the inverse is true in Australia; with 65% of landlords using property managers and 35% managing privately.
In the New Zealand environment, this comparatively smaller client base means agencies have to hone in on a value proposition; why go with a property management agency when you can just do it yourself? This reality has elevated the position of property managers to that of a strategic asset; making decisions and providing advice based on client goals and circumstances.
This too will become the reality in Australia; as technology begins to automate some functions of the present-day property manager, the PMs of the future will need to adopt a mindset that sees us push the boundaries and clearly express our unique value proposition.
…the industry will demand that property managers possess the ability to get inside the mind of their clients, understand their investment goals and develop strategies to meet them.
We’ve already seen have seen market fees drop thanks to COVID-19 and, as a result, a latent concern permeate the industry. We firmly believe that the only thing that will safeguard us as an industry, now and for property managers of the future, will be to have great relationships, wow our clients and ultimately help them create wealth.