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5 Things Managers Say Owners Could Do to Be More Successful

Property Managers and Owners

If owners follow these five tips, managers say they would improve their NOI. And only one of these pieces of advice is to spend more money.

For an apartment community to be successful, there usually needs to be a strong working relationship between the owner and manager. But sometimes issues do arise. When that happens, both the owners and managers are often leaving money on the table.

We spoke with several property managers who commented anonymously about the ways they can help owners boost NOI. Here are their comments.

1. Spend Money (When they Have It)

One West Coast manager laments that owners do not spend the money necessary to make their communities successful. “I have a lot of different owners from small mom-and-pops to institutions,” she says. “There are some clients that I wish would see the value in making the capital improvements and repairs that they need to do to just make their communities more attractive. With the way the economy is, they need to spend now. When the economy starts to struggle and there is no money to spend, they’re going to be in a really bad position.”

2. Preach Patience

With online reviews and property management systems, owners have instantaneous access to information. “There’s so much transparency now that your clients are seeing things sometimes faster than you do. It could be a glitch on the website or a bad review,” says one manager in the Southeast. “You have to drive the message home to your clients that you must be given the time necessary to come up with a proactive plan to fix the problem and then communicate it on your timeline.”

3. Stay Involved

While ownership groups constantly looking over your shoulder can make life difficult (and stressful), managers also face challenges when it comes to working with clients who are nearly absentee.

“You can have clients that are so far removed that you wish they were around because you want to make sure that our strategies are connected and that we’re all on the same page,” says one Texas-based management executive. “We really enjoy working with clients who are involved and collaborate, but also who understand the boundaries.”

4. Share More Information

One manager for a national firm wishes that some of her clients would be more telling about their long-term business strategy. “Something could originally be a long-term hold, but they may decide to make an opportunistic sale,” she says. “They may be reluctant to share that with you because they’re afraid you’re going to disengage on the job. If you have the right manager who is partnering with you they’re going to help you maximize that sale and try to continue the management contract with the buyer.”

5. Treat Them More Like a Management Expert

The national manager runs into many owners who she says treats her firm like a babysitter instead of an expert and consultant.

“Owners should trust their management partner to make good decisions and drive performance without micro-managing day-to-day operations,” she says. The business plan and budget process should be a collaborative one between the owner and management partner and once agreed upon, the manager should be trusted to execute and held accountable for results.”

If you would like to contribute, please email Les Shaver.