Property Management 101

The idea of property management (sometimes referred to as 3rd party management) has been around since the dawn of time. But, before property management was a job or career, a title or a company, property management has been an action that many people attended to around the land or buildings that they owned themselves or leased from someone else. Property management can mean different things to different people. For some, property management might mean keeping their own property safe, secure and pleasant to the eye. For others, property management could mean paying someone else to make sure your property is in tip top shape. Some types of properties that may need property management are; houses, condos, duplexes, town homes, apartments, shopping centers, malls, offices buildings, airports and public transportation buildings, hospitals and many more. Property management is very similar to the role of management in any business.

One important role that property management has is to act as the middle person between the tenant and the property management landlord. Property management should provide the property management landlord with a sense of security, knowing that everyday needs from the renter can be resolved without involving said property management landlord unnecessarily. Hand and hand with that security, the tenant can be assured that the property will be maintained to some set of standards which can be reviewed with the property management team before an agreement is reached. Property management is a delicate balance between pleasing the property management landlord and keeping the renter happy as well. The task of property management can prove to be harder than it sounds. Maintaining an open line of communication in property management and being able to address the needs of both property management parties will make a successful property management business. Other duties for property management but are not limited to; collecting rent, posting and showing vacancies, maintenance issues, evictions, failure to pay rent issues, harassment, and background checks on the application forms. It is very important that a profitable property management staff or team be knowledgeable in the current laws of the city, state and county concerning tenant rights vs. landlord rights. Be sure your property management team is up to date on current property management codes, and other items that will benefit your property management business. Getting caught up in property management legal matters is no way to run a property management business.

The following is the definition of property managers/property management as posted by Wikipedia on their website. Property management is a person or firm responsible for the operation of a real estate property for a fee, when the owner of the property cannot or is not interested in managing the property themselves. The property manager or the property management company has a primary responsibility to the landlord and a secondary responsibility to the tenant. Relationships the property manager or property management team have with the landlord and with the tenant are crucial in forming the expectations of both parties to the lease since both parties will seek and expect certain rights and benefits out of it. Owner’s expectations from the property manager/ property management team are to carry out the owner’s instructions, control costs and maximize revenue to maintain a stabilized cash flow as a return on capital invested, exercise control over the building to safeguard the capital invested, provide a duty of care through proper maintenance of the building, to be professional and well informed, enhance the value of the property by making improvements that will increase its market value, retain and enhance pride of ownership. The tenant’s expectations from the property manager/ property management team are the “quiet enjoyment” ‘assurance of the use and enjoyment of the premises for the intended purposes without interference from the landlord, comfort—a living environment properly heated, cooled and ventilated with as many amenities as possible compatible with the rental level, security and safety—to live or work in a building in which there are no inherent defects or conditions that might be hazardous to health or to property, status—accommodation and facilities that meet social-economic and cultural standards for the tenant’s and their guest.

Property management can be a very lucrative business when handled correctly. Property management takes an organized, well communicated, and dedicated individual or staff to be able to pull off a successful property management company. Typically property management companies will charge their landlords a percentage of the gross rent collected each month. This percentage for property management fees can range from 3 to 10% depending on the property management market. Sometimes a flat fee is more appropriate when the property is a condominium or a type of cooperative complex for property management. Some states might require that property managers have a property management license or a real estate license to be able to claim the title of property manager or property management business.

A cousin to property management is facility management. Facility management is like property management but the focus is the management of buildings and services. One definition from a large facility/property management association says, “A profession that encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure functionality of the built environment by integrating people, place, process and technology.” Australians prefer the term: Commercial Services to property management, this term replaces facilities management in some organizations. Besides keeping the property up to date, commercial services can also include duties such as waste disposal, parking, security, landscaping and more.

A homeowner may provide his or her own property management, but property management is not limited to the duties of house cleaning, lawn care and landscaping, building maintenance, trash and waste disposal and interior upkeep. Property management can be all of these, and can be hired out to a professional that can provide better property management services than the homeowner can or would provide themselves. These property management services come with a price and if the homeowner is willing to pay for outside property management, the sky is the limit on what they can have managed. Some property management companies even manage home owners associations (HOAs). In this instance the property management company is the middle person between the homeowners and the land developer. Once the developer has completed his contracted tasks, the neighborhood is then turned over to the HOA. The property management company may stay on board for a fee to help the HOA. A landlord may also provide property management services himself or have it hired out to a property management company. A large company or corporation might have internal structures in place to provide property management on site or they may choose to hire an outside property management company to provide the property management services that they would need on a day to day basis. Both of these operations are a reasonable and effective way to tackle the issue of property management on a large scale.

With the world of technology growing everyday, it makes perfect sense to have applicable property management software and property management computer systems that deal with property management in place to help with property management or facility management. You can have your home wired and programmed to turn the lights on and off when entering a room. Constant temperature and humidity levels can be monitored along with major appliance functions. Watering of lawns and security systems has become high tech and available to the everyday homeowner who wants property management. Some passenger vehicles now include a “remote” that when programmed can turn the lights on, turn the TV on your favorite station and more, all from the comforts of your car. Heaven forbid you will have to walk into your dark and quite home. Home builders, architects and engineers saw the potential for using large scale property management ideas in the home. Beyond the home, large commercial properties, computer aided facility management (CAFM) has been a natural progression of the marriage between technology and facility/ property management. In the late 1980’s CAFM evolved to allow larger properties to manage their property management sites more efficiently. Most often, CAFM systems track and maintain; floor plans, LAN and telecom information, business continuity and safety information, workplace assets, employee and occupancy data, building and property information and space characteristics and usage. Being able to supervise the goings on of your with a property management company in an efficient and well structured way will help your property management bottom line.

If you need information about property management, the internet is a great place to start.