Property Management: 9 Things Not in the Textbooks

Books in a rowIn property management, I believe many of the points presented  here will be true five years from now.  Like the chart of a long-term investment, one day does not a portfolio trend make.  The same holds true in property management.   Here are some “points to ponder” I believe hold true over the long run.

The property management business will never be any less complex than it is today.  Imagine that you lose your cell phone and it cannot be replaced for a week.  In the interim there’s an “old” blackberry in the drawer… that’s five years old.  The effort it would take to remember how it works may out-weigh the effort to use it…. if it would even work on today’s networks.

Property presentation is imperative. Property presentation is an owner’s initial visual contact with current and potential customers.   When looking at your property try to see what your customers see and  ask yourself if that initial comment would be positive or negative.  Work on the negatives, accentuate the positives.

Management training is important, but there is such a thing as too much training.   There must be “spacing” (read: time) between training to allow for implementation of  new procedures/processes.

Landscaping is an asset.  In an effort to reduce costs, this aspect of a  property is often reduced towards extinction.   However, if we were to remove all landscaping from all buildings we are removing their character.  Making them all the same.  How boring is that?

Controlling  utility expenses must continue to be a focal point of every pro-active property management company. Not only does is save real dollars, it also provides job security as increased cash flow gives cushion for keeping/continuing with professional management.

Relationships are key to any established business.  The same is true in the multifamily business. With established relationships in place, you can focus on G.R.A.C.E; growing revenue and controlling expenses.

The “other income” category will continue to expand as our industry derives additional service categories.  Look to services being offered  by hotels and extended stay hotels for clues as to what may be coming next in the multifamily industry.   We are not quite at the point of offering “bedding turn down” …. but it could happen.

Innovation begins in our 24-hour cities and spreads outward.   Innovation often begins with the solving of a problem.  In the case of fast-paced, high population cities, the problem is solving for a tenant concern or request.   How many properties had wireless Internet ten years ago? If the “fix” has legs, then this same solution spreads throughout a property and then to other properties.  This same innovation will spread to other big cities and then through the country.

Commodity costs continue to rise (wood, metal, fabric, paint).  Be selective with installed fixtures to assure they have a”timelessness” to them.  Over-ride trendy with traditional colors.  It’s one thing to have a “hip” leasing office, but inside units, traditional colors and finishes provide extended life and more value to owners.

Mr. Wilhoit is the author of two books: How To Read A Rent Roll: A Guide to Understanding Rental Income and Multifamily Insight Vol 1 – How to Acquire Wealth Through Buying the Right Multifamily Assets in the Right Markets.

For information on property management audio courses, books and our live weekly leadership academy, visit PowerHour Books and Courses page at

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Multifamily Insight is dedicated to assisting current and future multifamily property owners, operators and investors in executing specific tasks that allow multifamily assets to operate at their highest level of efficiency. We discuss real world issues in multifamily management and acquisitions. This blog is intended to be informational only and does not provide legal, financial or accounting advice. Seek professional counsel. We discuss best practices in multifamily management and methods related to how to buy apartment complexes. Our focus is sharing strategies and tactics that can be implemented and measured. For more information, visit:

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