What you need to know:
Being a property manager is not an easy job but a good property manager knows how to turn challenges into opportunities in order to survive and make a profit.
Property management may seem like a simple job and may inspire visions of quick profits but it is not as easy as people imagine because it carries a lot of risks and requires patience, without which you cannot earn from it.
It is tough to become a property manager when you have not been in the field for some time as a property agent or a broker because it is the type of job for which you will need a range of skills to help you implement marketing strategies.
Ronald Kizza, a property manager from Excel Properties says that normally, property owners expect managers to increase revenue so that they can recoup their investment in a short period of time but sometimes they fail for various reasons and the property owners are not keen to listen.
“Sometimes property managers have to deal with old unattractive properties for which the owner expects much revenue within a short period of time. It is very hard to get clients to occupy old properties: You have to work hard to convince them or find money elsewhere and do the renovations where necessary,” he says.
He adds that it is possible to increase revenue when the property is of a high standard. Even if the structure is not new, you need to renovate it before getting a new tenant so that it looks attractive to the client.
“Increasing revenue also involves other issues which the property owners do not consider that may affect income. These include; location, access to utility services, main road and others. These also affect your expectations in the long run,” Kizza says.
Maintaining genuine clients
Kizza says maintaining genuine clients is also a challenge whereby a property manager should screen clients before undertaking any agreement because there are chances of getting fake clients promising to pay on time yet they are rent defaulters.
“Property managers have to come up with the best strategies of getting genuine clients because the market is very competitive and clients have the right to make a choice on their own from what they have seen and what they want,” he says
He adds that property managers are responsible for coming up with a tenancy agreement even though they are not the property owners. These contracts must be fair to all stakeholders; the owner, manager and the tenant.
“The contract must be favourable to the tenant so that they do not consider looking around for another house, and the commission for the property agent and commitment fee must be fair so that the clients do not look for another alternative,” Kizza says.
Managing emergency costs
He says that property managers should be quick to respond in case of emergency, if they want their clients to stay for long and pay on time. You cannot anticipate an emergency but you have to be a quick responder.
“A property manager should keep some money aside for such emergencies because you cannot wait for the property owner to come and work on the emergency such as power blackout, collapsing walls, shortage of water and any other emergency. You cannot let tenants spend more than a week without power or water unless it’s a general problem,” Kizza says.
He says that a property manager is responsible for fixing any emergency in the short run as they wait for reimbursement from the property owner or for the monthly rent payment when they can deduct whatever monies were spent on handling the emergency.
Some property owners can go for months without checking on their properties which means the manager has to sort out all pending issues.
Property managers tend to have several properties under their care and sometimes they end up failing to manage all of them efficiently because some may need more time than others or there is a long distance from one property to another.
“Property managers end up neglecting some properties they consider unprofitable yet it could be a result of their poor performance on revenue collection,” he says.
Ronald Kizza adds that neglected properties often consume a lot of money in repairs yet they bring in low revenue because they normally get mediocre clients who are not reliable.
“Property managers have to make sure that they commit themselves to a few properties which are manageable instead of promising more than they can handle,” he says.