Property Management: Focusing on G.R.A.C.E

two business men shaking hands

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.

G.R.A.C.E Requires Good In-place Relationships

An apartment property manager cannot focus on G.R.A.C.E without good  people in place and  good relationships supporting management objectives.

I’m the proud owner of a quality multifamily property and I am about to  leave the country for six weeks on a dream vacation.  The day before  departure my manager quits unexpectedly.

Fortunately, my team rounds up some good potential apartment  management  candidates from within our company and in less than a day we have selected a manager.  Our new manager has “some” apartment management experience, this person is a sophomore but trainable.

Green is Good, Sometimes

I’m almost happy.  Why?  (Is it because aliens have landed and taken all of the highly qualified apartment managers back to their planet- no).   I am OK with this because I know my new manager has some resources, namely other team members managing assets for us already.

Yes, I’m leaving the management of this multifamily property to a green manager- green as in a reasonable person but with limited apartment management experience- but I’ve got coverage.   But what if, through these unforeseen circumstances, we just discovered  the next ‘super manager”???

Luck, Smuck

I do not believe in luck.  However, I do believe the prepared seem to be a little more lucky than the unprepared.    Our selected property manager is not lucky, this candidate is taking advantage of opportunity.  No luck necessary.

So let’s look at another scenario.  I have ONE multifamily property and ONE property only.  And, I’m the proud owner of a quality multifamily property and I am about to  leave the country for six weeks on a dream vacation.  The day before  departure my manager quits unexpectedly.   Crap!  Now what??

Email hasn’t been invented yet and no one knows what a “google” is much less how to spell it.  Blackberry is still a berry (or jam in a jar).  Kids are still playing Donkey Kong….

Fortunately, through friends in the business (there’s that “relationship” thing again), I find a respectable candidate. This individual was an apartment vendor that serviced the area.  The candidate was “down-sized” recently because the vendor consolidated staff and offices into another city.  The candidate is interested, attentive and has passed the background check.

My plane leaves in an hour.   Emergency averted, what do I tell tell Barbara (or Bob)?    What words of wisdom do I leave with my manager?  I can’t point them to .   It doesn’t exist yet.

Deep breath.  Here we go.  OK property manager, I have three points.  Take notes.  Focus on these three things:

  • Relationships
  • Growing revenue
  • Controlling expenses

With established relationships in place, you can focus on GRACE; growing revenue and controlling expenses.  Once I get to my destination, we will devote some time  to items two and  three.  The focal point of my message to our new hire is to “meet the folks”.  Our customers (tenants), service providers and vendors.

Take your maintenance staff to lunch or bring them donuts/coffee in the morning.   I want you to say hello to everyone you come in contact with on your property.  Wear the name badge and “plug in” to the site.

G.R.A.C.E is good, Always

Growing Revenue and Controlling Expenses (G.R.A.C.E) is impossible without sound relationships in the apartment business; with customers, staff, service providers and vendors.

Last thing.  I’ll call you every few days.  Here’s the key to the office and master key, and some deposit slips.  Listen to the maintenance guy.  He’s been with us for a few years and knows the property very well.

Call any time if you have a true blue emergency.  Otherwise, just leave a message at my hotel if you really get stuck on something and I will call you back straight away.  Please remember it’s a six hour time change.

So what’s the back up plan?  Let’s say two weeks into the job our new manager quits (yes, this happens).  Now what?  Presuming there is a central collection point for rent collections, have your accounting firm record and  make deposits.   Then.  Cry for help.  But not to just anyone.  Trusted friends and associates.  Notice here, I did not say family members (If family, proceed cautiously).

Your looking for someone that can show apartments, fill out a lease and schedule maintenance (the basics).   Assuming there  is no one to answer the call, then consider a temp agency.  Expensive?  Yes.  But with a high probability of success until your return.

Without good “in place” relationships, there is no time to focus on G.R.A.C.E.  With good working relationships in place, the opportunity to focus on G.R.A.C.E.  exponentially increases.

Gotta catch my flight!

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