A lot of real estate gurus talk about how to become a ‘top agent’. Most of the time, they are talking about sales.
But what if selling property is not where your interest lies, and rather, you are passionate about helping clients protect their biggest asset, and helping tenants find a home?
Property Management expert, agency and EAC director, Elizabeth Sargood leads our PM series with her personal tips for building a career in this specialist field.
It’s odd, when people think about real estate agents, they don’t usually think about property managers.
On the bright side, when they start complaining about commissions at a weekend barbecue… they also aren’t usually thinking about property managers.
But just because most people don’t see the average agent as a PM, doesn’t mean a career in this niche area of real estate a) shouldn’t be on your radar, and b) can’t be lucrative, rewarding and challenging.
How to be good at property management
Before you start thinking about how you’re going to rocket from front-desk admin, to head of PM at a large, beach-front agency, first you need to think about how to actually be good at being a property manager.
Because really, being good at what you do, earning respect and being known as an expert is the absolute foundation for kicking off a killer career in anything, definitely in PM.
Now, you can head online to educational sites and see a long list of tick-box, resume-ready qualities you need to have to be a great property manager, but after years in the industry, both in the role and employing people to lead that area on my behalf, a few things really stand out.
- You need to have excellent atention to detail… did you see the ‘t’ missing in ‘attention’? No? Then it’s time to brush up!
In order to be great at what you do, your landlords need to feel like you are looking after a property like it is your own. They have spent years building up a deposit, then paying down a mortgage on this property, and they want to know whoever YOU put into it will give it the respect it and they deserve!
When doing check ins, check outs and routines, don’t miss a thing. Sometimes the problems or issues you see are just for your notes or something for the landlord to improve, other times they are signs of dog hair in an apartment where a dog has been strictly denied.
Know your managements, know your landlord’s standard, have your own high standard and make sure tenants adhere to it.
- You need to be good at logistics, scheduling and documenting
Honestly, if I look for anything in a PM, it’s that they can juggle. And while I don’t literally mean juggle, sometimes I’m tempted to throw them three folders at a time in an interview just to see what they will be able to do.
Property management is busy and demanding and it’s not like choreographed fight scenes in the movies where people seem to happily wait for their turn to fight the main character, rather than all jumping on him at once. In one day, you may need to schedule multiple repairs to different places, host opens, complete a check out, drop off some keys… the list is endless. And then you have to remember what you did and where!
Being able to manage logistics, a tough schedule and keep solid notes are absolute necessities of getting this job done!
- You need to know the rules
As a PM, you are not only the communication point or mediator between the landlord and tenant, you are also the ‘keeper of the rules’.
Sure, the title isn’t quite as fancy as ‘Mother of Dragons’, but making sure you really know and understand the many legal regulations that apply to property management and ensure they are adhered to is the crux of your job.
If you’re not the type to study up, keep up-to-date or you don’t much care for rules, you’ve already dropped a ball!
If you have an owner who will not follow the rules, ensure you put your recommendations in writing to the owner so you’re covered on all bases.
Sometimes you can’t make owners do what they don’t want to do, however, as long as you advise the owners of the risks involved, you can ensure you have done your duty.
How to turn good property management into a career
Now we’ve established you are indeed the right person for the job, this path is for you — what exactly does the path look like?
Well that depends on you and what you want.
For the purposes of this article, we will assume you have listened to the gurus and you want to be a ‘top agent’. And as a PM you have every opportunity to be one — just as much as any sales person.
When building a career as a top property manager, take these three tips on board:
- Know where you want to go
These days, so many people have a vision of where they want to get to in their careers or their personal life, but they fail to plan out the plot points along the roadmap that will get them there.
If you were heading out on an interstate trip, would you leave without a map, knowing no road signs will be visible along the way?
Look at people who have the career you want — who have obtained the salary, standing or title you want, in the agency you want and look at their career. The great news is, many of them have actually left you digital bread crumbs to follow in the form of online Linked In profiles or even their ‘about us’ on their company website. Plot your path based on research and know exactly where you’re going.
- Know it’s people who can get you there
A great deal of success in our industry comes from hard work, much of the rest comes from ‘who you know’. Don’t be afraid to reach out, connect, and build networks of people who can help you inside the industry. Find mentors early on who also have a good and useful network and take the opportunity to benefit from what they know and who they know.
- Know your victories come from your clients
There is nothing more telling than a review by a client. And if you have a good review — if you have A LOT of good reviews — what you essentially have is a big sign that says to your boss ‘this one is a keeper’!
Becoming valuable to your management team by being invaluable to your clients gives you security and it gives you leverage. Your manager won’t want to lose you and at some point they know they will need to give you a leg up if they want to keep you or have a chance at winning you back one day.
Ultimately, building a solid career in PM is like any field — it’s about dedication to your craft and a great work ethic. Set your sights, know your goals and work methodically up that ladder until you reach them!