It’s no secret that, in the collective mind of Gill & Hooper, the property management (PM) landscape (that is, the environment and context in which property managers are expected to operate in) is evolving exponentially. The challenge for the industry is in ensuring that professional practice keeps pace – that our people evolve in alignment (and with the knowledge to keep up) with rapid developments in technology, shifting market bubbles and heightened customer expectation.
The reality is that the old-school, manual, and overly administrative job descriptions that met the market need for property managers a decade ago, simply won’t cut it today. And while there are (and always will be) evolving technical requirements that PMs must master in 2022 and beyond, the human characteristics of a high-performing property manager endure. Teaching how to use the latest software or systems to streamline work is straightforward when you have the right people, who are empowered and motivated to meet the moment and push the case for elevating the property management profession.
So, here are our top three personality traits of the modern-day property manager:
Property managers are real estate professionals, and, just as with sales and project-based work, PMs need to be passionate about what they do, and clear on why they do it. We all know, have worked with, or even seen in action the service that a bored, disinterested and unmotivated property manager provides (and let us tell you friends, it ain’t pretty).
Those that lack the passion for their work are prone to subjecting tenants and owners alike to slow response times, their work tends to be laden with errors and their general attitude suggests they might prefer to be doing just about anything else rather than help you with your enquiry. And even if you’re not contending with errors in important documentation, the unpassionate will be missing opportunities to be proactive, to upskill, to dig deeper to understand client wants needs and to generally build their knowledge and professional toolkit in an ever-changing context.
PMs need to to know about everything from current market trends (at a local, state and even national level) to the latest industry regulations, relevant tax requirements and the trades and services required to deal with often niche property issues, as well as a whole lot in between. If your people aren’t passionate about what they do, spoiler alert: they are likely not equipped to manage the sheer scope of the modern-day property manager’s job description.
While automation and technological developments might mean the manual administrative burden on property managers is somewhat alleviated, paperwork and management of critical dates and calendars is an inescapable reality of the job. In any one day, a PM might prepare tenancy agreements, carry out routine inspections, document maintenance required, contact tradespeople or services to remedy an issue, schedule inspections and provide detailed, bespoke advice to a prospective property owner. Yikes! That’s a heavy mental load and high-performers must be able to thrive in an environment that requires them to manage multiple priorities, complete documentation carefully but efficiently as well as keep meticulous records and schedules to keep everything running smoothly.
Likewise, when in properties, the modern-day property manager should be eagle-eyed and able to identify maintenance issues (ideally before they become even bigger maintenance issues) and genuinely care about how even minor details can impact a tenant’s quality of life in their rental property.
While on the surface property managers’ work is based around the management of a very tangible asset, take one step back and you’ll realise that this profession is uniquely human centred – it’s about the dual responsibility of managing one person’s most valuable asset while assisting another person to feel at home in a property that they don’t own.
Which is why you need PMs who are ‘people people’ – able to acknowledge their clients (owners and tenants alike)’s unique needs and aspirations and act with these in mind. While not every property manager needs to be an extroverted social butterfly, strong personal skills and an ability to form genuine human connections with others is an absolute must for the high-performing property managers of today (and the future).
So, there you have it – the three character traits that the property managers of 2022 and beyond are going to need to build a successful career in the industry. With these ‘soft skills’ and when paired with the ability to keep pace with the technical skill requirements of the job, it’s our bet that not only will these humans have meaningful and rewarding careers, they’ll also contribute to the overall elevation of our industry – something that we at Gill & Hooper feel particularly passionate about being a part of.