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Hiring a Great Property Manager: 16 Questions to Ask

Hiring a property manager - apartment jobsHiring a Great Property Manager: 16 Questions to Ask “Finding a property manager is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.” -  Forrest Gump Investments Ok, so that’s not the exact quote from Forrest Gump, but it definitely could have been if he’d have gotten into real estate investing. Having a great property manager is one of the most important aspects of your real estate investing success.  However, finding a quality property manager is not easy.  It can often feel like you’re just picking a random chocolate out of the box and biting into it to find out if it’s going to be a success.  Only if you hire the wrong manager, it can cost you a lot more than just a temporary bad taste in your mouth.  A bad manager can cost you precious time, money, and some of your best tenants. However, if you hire the right property manager it feels great.  It can make your real estate investment life so much easier.  A good property manager will allow you to relax and sleep peacefully at night knowing that your investment is in good hands.  You’ll know your property and tenants will be taken care of.  You’ll be able to relax and receive checks while your money and your property manager work hard for you. Hiring a quality property manager doesn’t have to be like randomly selecting a piece of chocolate out of a box.  There are several things you can do to ......
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Why not me? I deserve that promotion.

  I have seen many employers more often than none give an available position to someone they know, rather than someone who is ready to be promoted. I have seen many good Leasing and Assistant Managers work hard, who are knowledgeable , know their properties and residents, be passed up for promotion. Business decisions can be abstract at times, but always have a purpose. Do not despair it is not you or about you. I myself was one of those individuals. I took a long hard look at myself to see why I was being passed up for promotion. I made sure I cross all my "T'" and dotted my "i's". I made every effort to do a great job and make changes if necessary, but again sometime is not you or about you. It is just time to move on. My advice is to continue to strive to be and do the best you can do AND LEARN ALL YOU CAN. Continue to seek advancement, but if you are not being successful begin looking outside the box. Patience is a virtue worth having. There are many employers looking for good people to fill their open positions from within, and when they cannot find someone from within they out source.  I am thankful to my previous employers for giving me the opportunity to learn, cross train and get the experience necessary to seek a new opportunity elsewhere. I began putting my resume out in the Market place and was surprise to see the results. In the span of 25 days, I had a total......
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What does the Future Hold for Property Managers? Are you Prepared?

I recently had the tremendous pleasure of hearing real estate industry expert and visionary Christopher Lee speak at an Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) conference about his new publication, entitled “Transformational Leadership in the New Age of Real Estate”.  Christopher has a “tell-it-like-it-is” attitude in person that is mirrored in his writing. His perceptive document sets out the likely future of the real estate industry and outlines the factors that may be important to achieve success in the decade ahead. In his talk to IREM, Mr. Lee made several thought provoking observations, but one in particular stands out for its value to those of us in the industry.  Mr. Lee predicts that in the course of the next ten years, our industry will face an exodus of founders, senior-level executives, and experienced professionals. He forecasts that by 2025 more than 65% of present senior leaders will have left their roles. Mr. Lee comments that, “the combination of the exiting Boomers and a lack of infusion of young/next-generation talent (Xers who aren’t ready and Ys who are still learning) will result in a potential talent vacuum.” Further evidence from federal labor data indicates that the numbers of jobs in the real estate industry have been growing at a minimal level for some time. Between 2000 and 2009, the number of real estate and community association managers had increased from 145,340 to 150,850, a gain of only around 5,500 at a time of growth within the industry.In addition, projections by the Bureau......
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Understanding Your Property Management Team

Understanding Your Property Management TeamBy Jo-Anne Oliveri, ireviloution intelligence, Brisbane, Australia There are many reasons why we need to recruit. We live in a world where there are unlimited opportunities for advancement and success. So, it stands to reason that your team members come and go based on their own personal career aspirations and opportunities that present themselves. It’s always wise to know individual team member’s personal goals. You should ask them what these are at the initial interview and then discuss it at monthly one-to-one meetings. By knowing what your team member’s long-term career aspirations are, you are then able to manage your team, business, and service by design. In some instances you will be able to fulfill team members’ career aspirations by training and promoting them through your business. This must not be in a vain attempt to keep them working for your agency. It must be for the overall good of you and the team member, as well as your business and clients. Remember, the best business philosophy is always “Win/Win”. When someone has reached their peak it’s also usually the time they start to lose interest. The longer you try to hang onto them by giving them all sorts of incentives, the more pain you put yourself and your business through. Whilst the team member is still arriving at the office each morning and sitting at the desk, they may only be a chair-warmer as in their mind they have already “checked out”. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s all......
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Are Recruiting Agencies Paying Off?

Property Management RecruitingBy Jo-Anne Oliveri, ireviloution intelligence, Brisbane, Australia Currently, there are many challenges facing the property management industry. I believe the property management industry is unknowingly creating many of these challenges because they are not identifying and addressing the real problem. I consider the real problem to be how principals operate their property management business. Problem number one comes when principals need to find a new team member, the “Property Manager”. Principals don’t seem to fully understand the roles in their property management business. Any available position is immediately referred to as a “property manager”. However, what skills, attitude, and knowledge are really required for this available position i.e. what is the role that really needs filling? Many principals do not consider this question and therefore do not recruit the right team member for the job. The normal process is therefore as follows: The recruitment agency is contacted because recruiting through self-advertising is apparently all too difficult. The recruitment agency is asked if they have any available property managers. Of course, they have a whole database of self-professed property managers. They maintain a wonderful database of property managers to choose from that are all experienced, with many years of service under their belts, and have achieved amazing results so far. They are also highly skilled and trained so they come at a price. Several thousand dollars to the recruitment agency later, you have a “property manager” on a salary in the top percentile. But have you ever wondered on what grounds is......
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Top 4 Things You Can Do to Make Sure You Are Replaceable!

So did I get your attention?  I know, I know, you don’t want to be replaceable because then they will… replace you!!!  YES they will because you will be PROMOTED because you are so awesome!!  So in preparation for your promotion to assistant, manager, director, supervisor or whatever title you are striving for you must make sure your team is ready to take the reins and RUN!  Here are 4 things you MUST do to ensure that they are: 1.       Let them stumble, and even fall!  I said it, let them fall – it is okay to have them make a decision about something that may not have been the decision you would have made or that is the absolute best decision for that time.  Of course you want to mitigate the losses and ensure that you are not losing money for the property but let them make a decision about a customer that is upset about a rental increase or one that has been late for the 10th time and still wants you to refund their late fee.  Having your employees make bad decisions is a teaching moment for you to not only gauge how they think about tough decisions but also to see how they react when they are confronted with making a bad decision.  The best inventors made 100 different prototypes of the wrong thing before they stumbled upon the right one! 2.       Show them a budget!  Yes, share your budget with your teams.  Help them understand how......
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The successful never stop learning

Learning is a lifelong endeavor. I have almost collected a full alphabet of designations after my name; not because I particularly love being a student but rather because I know it is essential to refresh and update my knowledge so that it remains current in the face of both a business that constantly evolves and an economy that is ever changing. It is a truism that change is one of the few certainties in life. Viewing this in a positive way, the more open we are to change, the better equipped we are to adapt to changing work circumstances and new challenges. By attaining professional designations, certifications and professional recognition, an individual is demonstrating a knowledge base that advertises their status as an achiever with the dedication to succeed in their industry. Having letters such as CPM, ARM and CAPS after their name on a business card is a clear statement of purpose. It advertises the person as having achieved industry standards by an external organization and been awarded with a recognized. It acts as a testimonial and gives credibility to the bearer. In addition to industry designations, professional development can also take many other forms including: company sponsored training, online courses, webinars, and offerings from the local NAA Affiliate or IREM Chapter. Regardless of the source, it is essential to learn about your business every day and to take advantage of every industry related educational opportunity that is available. Learning from the experts is a shortcut to sharpening your s......
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Can You “Train” How To Have a Good Attitude?

This is going to be a pretty subjective conversation, I am sure, but we have talked a lot about mystery shops, and Billi Jo Suiter made the comment, “If used as a teaching tool I think they hold immense value, however when used as a means for termination and fault finding they then do more harm to a team than any value they could have had.”  We’ve discussed this a lot on here, and my stance has always been that yes, the primary goal should be training, but what about those that are simply bad employees?  For example, there are some people who simply have a bad attitude (not just a “bad day”) or are simply too lazy to try to do a good job.

So the question comes down to, can you train someone on how to have a good attitude or not be lazy?  What if it is not just that the person is going through a rough patch – what if that is their fundamental personality?  We can’t simply let them be, as a bad attitude can be a cancer in any office, so do you all believe that this type of person can be trained to see the bright side of life, or is it something that can’t be rectified and they need to be let go?

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You're that stressed. Really? Let's get some perspective.

Back when I was still with a property management company, I used to regularly poll my managers and on-site marketing people to gauge their satisfaction and stress level. I was regularly surprised by the level of stress, or perceived stress, that many of these managers seemed to labor under day in and day out. What was causing it? Was it me, my owner, co-workers, policies, pricing, marketing, competition? The weather? Their hair? Sometimes I was really quite nonplussed. So I decided to go deeper, get more into the root of the problem. Once I could rule out most of the above, aside from the fact that my owner at that time was quite possibly a lunatic, I came across a completely different cause – the person themselves. Many of these managers had the same basic job, same performance, same salary, similar living situations and family lives as non-stressed managers. What were they doing differently? Freaking out about nothing, for one. Doing many things which caused them stress, for another. Have you ever had a day that just seemed to start off bad, and then get progressively worse? If you sit and analyze that day, somewhat removed from its outcome, it is interesting to pinpoint where things may have gone wrong. Did you wake up late? Run out of gas? Miss an errand, forget an appointment? Drink a few gallons too much coffee? Did you show up to a meeting unprepared or a few minutes past acceptable? Were you short with a......
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"It’s business, not personal.” If that is true, then why does it feel so personal?

A memorable line from one of the Godfather movies — “It’s business, not personal.” turns out, is one of the most important and yet the most ironic things I have learned in my career. As a manager, I find myself forced to make unpopular decisions almost every day. And so, I deal with the impact or perceived impact that my decisions make on my employees on a regular basis.  I try to follow the mantra of “it’s business, not personal”, but sometimes it feels personal, even to me - an obvious example being in cases where I am ending an individual’s employment with the company.   When I first began making decisions that I knew would be unpopular, I initially became quite discouraged and started to second-guess my decisions.  However, I soon realized how unproductive this was and instead began to focus on a more forward thinking perspective. When I have doubts about how I may have handled a situation, I consider the alternative actions I could have chosen and try to identify a more appropriate response for future situations. Of course, it is impossible to remove all uncertainty and guarantee that future decisions will be correct, but focusing on actions is a more positive behavior, while also not forgetting consequences. By setting goals, one takes a more objective approach and removes some of the emotion and defensiveness that can arise from an error. There are several practical steps any individual can take to manage performance effectively.     How Do......
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