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Skills for property managers. It has been rather busy in the MIH office this month with our recruitment drive. It is no easy task to find someone unique enough to be an MIHer! Although it is trying our founder’s patience it has also set her off on thinking about property management in general and the skills needed to do a good job!
We think that we might have possibly done the Interviewing blogs to death with our previous articles on what to do in an interview and what MIH are looking for but thought that perhaps some wider consideration as to the skills of a good property manager might be in order.
With apologies to Jane Austen for the paraphrasing- “it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a management company in possession of a good portfolio must be in want of a property manager.”
So the question is what technical and soft skills does a property manager need?
In this first blog, we will be focusing on the soft skills needed for property management.
As with any occupation, it is preferable that you have a good knowledge of English both spoken and written. In the good old days of property management, correspondence was predominantly by telephone (and not mobile) or by letter. But with the invention of the smart phone and email, you find your English skills are much more in demand. A requisite of the job is to respond to all emails accurately and without delay. It is also important that the recipient understands what you are trying to say so ensuring that your email makes sense is imperative.
In the same vein, when you are looking to explain service charge budgets, major works costs, costs in general or apportionments you need to be able to understand the numbers and the best way of presenting them. After all, although as the property manager may know the numbers backwards/forwards and sideways you have to be aware that the person receiving these is not immersed in the project as you are and may struggle with what you are trying to tell them.
Which probably brings us to the next requirement or soft skill that you need, consideration. It is all too easy to forget information that appears to be simple and basic isn’t to someone else who isn’t as familiar with it as you are. You are often in the position of being an educator as well as a messenger and in order to avoid getting “shot” you need to think about what the other person needs to know and ensure that you are explaining it in the most appropriate way.
An overriding quality that should underline your approach is patience. It is always difficult when you have to explain a new initiative to someone who is used to what has been done in the past and sees no issues with it. We know that Sarah, often reminisces about the old days when you had more time to consider responses. Admittedly this was in the day when a first-class letter arrived the next day and there was a second post. It can be quite difficult explaining to someone more senior in years, that payment is allowed in instalments and that you can’t really say to owners, that they should move out if they can’t pay in full.
Our final soft skill and what we consider one of the most important skills for a property manager is having a good memory or recall. To our clients, the fact that MIH do what they say will do, whatever the request may be, follow it up and report back seems to make a huge difference.
A good memory does not just help with the day to day issues and running of the property, it is also invaluable when you are considering others issues which may affect the management going forward. Property Management is cyclical and knowing what works, what contractors and often what the client’s preferences have been, can ensure smooth management. We do appreciate that not everyone is blessed with a photographic memory, or a near photographic memory as our founder is and that’s where our diaries, task managers and various other memory tools prove so invaluable.
For us property management is all about the soft skills but in our next blog we will be considering the technical requirements of a good property manager.