To manage commercial property well as a property manager in a real estate agency you need to set some rules and be very focused on key tasks that impact the property. Without doing that, the sheer volume of work and the variation of it each day will distract you and the managed property will suffer. The end result is an unhappy landlord and uncontrolled tenants; that spells disaster.
Let’s now say one thing to qualify the above situation. Commercial property managers (or any type of property manager for that matter) are some of the busiest people in the real estate industry. They also have to be highly intelligent to grasp the variation of issues that come at them.
In commercial property management the variation of tasks is broad and detailed. Here is a list of just some of the bigger things that you have to handle every day:
- Collection of rent in a timely way
- Checking on and following up on arrears
- Maintaining the property to landlords instructions
- Communicating with the landlord regularly on current issues
- Preparing financial reports at the end of each month
- Preparing budgets for income and expenditure performance for financial years
- Response to tenant requests and communications
- Keeping on top of lease dates and rent reviews or options
- Negotiating new leases and processing them with the landlords solicitor
- Negotiating rent reviews with sitting tenants
- Maintaining tenant relationships
- Making the tenant mix work to optimise customer visits
- Instructing contractors to complete maintenance tasks
- Processing invoices and work order payments
- Monitoring trust account monies and payments
- Essential services performance of building plant and machinery
So the list does not stop here and goes on; it would be easy for me to put over 100 things that are critical to the commercial property management task. This then says that the commercial (or retail) property manager is a highly intelligent and detailed specialist in investment property. They can impact the property performance in a major way for the long term; perhaps more than any other real estate specialist.
For property managers to stay in control each and every day and to keep their portfolio at optimal performance they could use the following as a work model:
- Take written notes of all conversations and instructions from tenants, landlord, contractors, and other third parties.
- Keep the landlord up to date every few days on current issues and matters of progress
- Communicate with tenants regularly so you earn their trust and respect.
- Know your leases for each property in great detail so you can respond correctly when something goes wrong.
- Understand the landlord’s rules and benchmarks when it comes to property performance and stick to those rules.
- Time is your only resource so your time each day has to be under control. Focus on particular key tasks at set times to get things done. Yes this does mean that sometimes the routine will be derailed, but 75% of your day has to be under control.
- Make sure your reporting to the landlord is comprehensive and covers key issues of income, expenditure, leases, tenants, maintenance, budgets, arrears, and building performance.
- Know how to respond when something big happens of an emergency nature (because it will one day when you least expect it).
- Control your reports, leases, letters, emails, communications, negotiations, vacancies, arrears, and trust monies.
- Get back to people when you say you will. Do not overlook the value of quality responses and communication. Your landlord as the client should be at the top of the response list.
It is easy to see that a skilled property manager has to be a comprehensively competent real estate specialist. Commercial property management is like that; only the best people should apply (as they say).
The best commercial property managers control some of the largest buildings, shopping centres, industrial parks, or office towers. Are you up to the challenge?