Is Property Management a team sport?

Monday, 4th Nov 2013

property management

Property management companies differ in the way they structure their human resources and this can affect the experience of owners and tenants.

For most property investors, the decision of whether or not to appoint a property manager is a relatively easy one. If you want to protect your valuable property asset and don’t have the time and expertise to do it properly, then it makes sense to rely on a professional.

Property managers perform a wide variety of vital tasks, from finding and screening tenants to conducting inspections and organising maintenance. Plus, all of this must be done within strict legal guidelines, which is why the majority of investors appoint a property management company.

The decision of which property management company to appoint, however, is a more difficult one. While on the surface many companies appear quite similar, dig a little deeper and the differences soon become apparent.

One of the differences, which is rarely spoken about, relates to the amount of human resources available to the company. While some property management companies operate a team, with multiple property managers and assistants, others prefer the one-man-band model.

What are the advantages of a team? Firstly, a team can better accommodate temporary absences, such as when a property manager is unwell or attending court. There’s nothing more frustrating for tenants and owners than not being able to get in contact with someone who has the right information at hand.

Similarly, a team is better positioned to manage staff turnover, which unfortunately can be a frequent reality in the property management industry due to the high stress levels involved. If a company relies too heavily on one staff member, you can image the massive upheaval when that person leaves.

Another significant advantage of having your property managed by a team is the opportunity for greater specialisation of tasks. Different individuals can focus on different tasks, honing their skills and increasing efficiency. For instance, some teams include a dedicated trust accountant or new business consultant.

Although there are differences in the way that property management teams are structured, commonly each property manager is allocated a particular portfolio of properties. This means that property owners have a dedicated property manager, just as with a one-man-band operation. The difference is that property managers within a team will have access to far greater resources and better processes.

The “does it all” property manager is often extremely busy trying to perform a catalogue of different tasks. While these individuals can be highly skilled and excellent at their job, the limitations of time and space eventually get the better of them and slow turnaround times result.

Everyone likes a personal touch, but a one-man-band will inevitably struggle to keep “in touch” as much as many owners and tenants would like.