Overall, property manager sentiment is positive, with room for growth in some areas.
The National Apartment Assocation (NAA) conducted a survey of property managers, sponsored by MRI Software, in November 2022. More than 2,000 industry professionals responded to the survey. The report focuses on the more than 1,600 individuals who identify themselves as property managers. The report, “The Voice of the Property Manager: Assessing the State of Property Management,” reviewed the current and future state of the industry, with a breadth of topics not limited to overall sentiment, work-life balance, training and development, technology, and compensation.
Overall, industry professionals enjoy working in multifamily, as shown in the report. Roughly five out of six respondents report they enjoy working at their current job, and about three-fourths of respondents, respectively, report their role is secure, have the resources to perform their job and have the desired flexibility.
A net promoter score was used with ratings of 9-10 being promoters, 7-8 being passive and 6 and lower being detractors. Promoters and detractors each mentioned dealing with difficult residents as the top challenge in the industry. Staffing levels and mental health were also challenges for property managers.
Just 13% of respondents report workloads that were far too busy, 43% say it is on the busy side and 15% their workloads are just right—61% of respondents report a good work-life balance. This has affected employee mental health, but “it’s important to note the severity of impacts cited by respondents, with fewer than 10% saying their jobs had a significant impact on their mental health, and the plurality (39%) saying the impact was mild,” according to the report.
Portfolio size seems to affect work-life balance. “Nearly 23% of survey respondents personally manage more than 300 units, which appears to be the tipping point for heavier workloads and their repercussions. As anticipated, these property managers were the most likely to choose the ‘far too busy’ response, and nearly 80% said their jobs had a negative impact on their mental health.”
Biggest Property Management Challenges
Nearly a quarter of respondents said dealing with aggressive and abusive residents was the top challenge, with mental health and “the inability to switch off after hours,” maintaining proper staffing levels and managing the workload also among the top concerns. To a lesser extent, keeping up to date on legislation, working with residents facing eviction and fraud were also challenging.
Training and Development
Three-fifths of property managers report they either partially or completely agree that they have been given suitable training for their roles. Roughly two-fifths said they do not agree, missing internal systems and processes, and mental health and wellness. Trainings that have been completed include legal and compliance issues, and mental health and wellness, which was last on a list of eight answers with just 7% of respondents receiving training.
Property managers have adopted technology quickly during the past three years. During the last 18 months, however, the top five technologies adopted by property managers were resident portals, digital marketing, online leasing, virtual tours and resident mobile apps. Other tech options included CRM/lead management, fraud and financial. It is important to note, the technology decisions can come from the corporate level, leaving property level staff involvement limited in the selection process.
Two-thirds of property managers 55 and older report they will be in property management in the next three years, the lowest of any age cohort. The 15.5% of 55 and older respondents saying they will not be in the industry in three years was the highest, roughly six percentage points higher than the 34 and under age group. Just over two-thirds of respondents in this younger age group report they will be in property management in three years, the second lowest behind the 55 and older group. Three-fourths of the 35-44 age group and 45-54 age group report they will be in the field in three years. “This finding coupled with the uncertainty of the younger cohort means succession planning will become increasingly important for the industry,” according to the report.
Learn more about the future of property management and read the full report.