A professional property manager works in one of two capacities: as employees of an owner of extensive properties or as independent managers for several owners.
The latter is often referred to as third-party managers.
Property Management is sometimes like algebra. You sometimes look at ‘X’ and wonder ‘Y’.
While the roles and responsibilities generally vary depending on the salary and terms of a management contract, some of the most common things a property manager is responsible for include:
Property Manager as an Economist…
….A professional property manager must have a comprehensive understanding of the economic forces at work in the real estate market in order to evaluate the property in terms of operating income, forecast its potential future, and construct a management plan that reflects the owner’s objectives.
The plan must be flexible enough to adapt to future changes in the market.
Property Manager as Involved Community Member
In addition to the tasks involved in property management per se, professional managers should take an interest in professional, social, and political organizations in their municipality.
Their long-range goals will be more easily realized if property managers take on civic responsibilities and help implement plans for the growth and improvement of their communities.
Property Manager as Facilitator of Owner’s Interests
Occasionally, a shortsighted owner will direct a property manager to operate a property to extract every possible dollar from the property without putting any money back into the property.
Even if not actually expressed or even tacitly admitted, it occurs when…
…an owner demands frequent payments of accumulated cash;
…refuses to make any repairs except those absolutely necessary to keep the property operating;
…and pays bills, and even taxes, at the last possible minute.
This is called milking a property and those owners are referred to as slumlords.
A property manager in this position should meet with the owner and tactfully, but clearly, point out the ultimate loss that can occur as a result of following such a course of action.
If the property owner, for financial or other reasons, continues to direct that the property be managed in this manner, the property manager should document the owner’s direction with a confirming letter.
The property manager should consider whether to continue managing the property under policies that may be illegal and would appear to doom the project to financial failure.
Property managers should also pay careful attention to owner attitudes regarding civil rights laws and other applicable laws and regulations affecting the property. If the property manager will suffer increased exposure to liability based on an owner’s refusal to comply with such laws, the prudent course of action is to terminate the management contract.