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Career Tips and Advice for Commercial Property Managers

City buildings on the edge of a river. Commercial high-rise buildings and bridge.

The levels of knowledge and the professional skills required in commercial and retail property management are unique and deep.  They are quite different to the skills required in a leasing or sales situation.  A property manager is a differently skilled person, and they need to look at the big picture and remain focused on their properties and clients for months if not years.

 

That long-term focus allows the managed investment to improve over time through changes to the tenancy mix, the cash flow, and the property function.  The investment process is lengthy; the investment requirements of clients will be individually unique.  That is why and where professional service and property manager performance will underpin client attraction, retention, and engagement.

 

If commercial property management is a career for you, then there are some things to learn and disciplines to implement for the long term.  Expect to be very busy as you embark on your career and remain in it as a professional.

 

What do you need to know?

 

You will need to learn about the legalities of occupancy, investment performance, leasing, cash flow strategy, and property documentation.  Control systems will be at the centre of your property management career and portfolio control.

 

Every day there will be pressures on your portfolio and your properties with tenants, maintenance, landlord focus, reporting, and risk management.  As part of your career, you will be at the centre of many events, requests, and communications.

 

If your properties and workload pressures are excessive, you will lose control of the ‘property management process’; that then leads to unhappy clients and out of control tenants.  There is a balance between quality property management services and a sensible workload of tenants and landlords.

 

Typically, the landlord will be your client, and you will be the main controlling factor to property performance and investment outcomes.  That is why the skills of the property manager are so important.  The days of collecting rent and maintaining the property are well gone.  The strategic approach to property management is now well established and evolving in new and different ways with efficiencies in building technology and the requirements of local business.

 

What do you need to do?

 

Are you ready for the property management challenge?  If you have a large portfolio or a long list of tenants, the complexity of the daily workload just gets deeper and more challenging.  There will be plenty of work to control and direct.  Here are some rules to help you with that approach:

 

  1. Knowledge – get to know everything possible about your location, the leases, competing properties, business activity, rents, and investment priorities. Through a substantial level of knowledge, you will see how you can improve an investment situation for your clients.  That is where tenant mix changes and leasing strategies will help with property performance.  That then becomes an important part of your professional services.
  2. Complexity – there are many variations to tenancy mix control, lease negotiations, rental cash flow, and property performance. The decisions of today with a tenant or lease matter will impact the investment for the long term.  Understand your decisions and how you can improve the investment outcomes for your client.
  3. Clients – every client will have different pressures and priorities when it comes to property performance. Get to know those factors with your clients, understand their portfolio activity, and look at the life cycle of their investments.  Don’t just manage a property but understand the asset and the focus of the client.
  4. Controls – there will be different systems that you can use to help you in providing services to your clients. Software programs will cover the facts and variables of lease management, rent collections, maintenance, and facility management.
  5. Reporting – report about your managed properties in the ways that the landlords require. Information will help them make choices with rents, occupancy, and expenditure spending.
  6. Tenants – expect the tenants to be pressuring you on their issues and their occupancy. A retail property is a prime example of that pressure with many tenants positioning for better sales, lower rents, and a successful business.
  7. Property performance – every property should have a business plan and a budget to work to over time. The client or landlord will be setting investment priorities and cash flow controls.   If you manage properties for many clients, the issue gets deeper and more challenging.

 

Through all these pressures and strategies there will be opportunities for a professional property manager to excel in skills and career development.  Are you ready for the challenge?

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Commercial Property Management Skills Start Here

City buildings on rivers edge

In commercial property management today there are plenty of things that you can do to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Make no mistake, managing a commercial or retail property can be quite a challenging process. (NB – you can get plenty of commercial property management skills and ideas in our Snapshot program right here – its free)

Real skills are required and special people should be dedicated to the process of providing specialised services to investors and company owners.

In this audio program, John Highman talks about the special and unique skills required to manage a commercial or retail property today. Learn how to grow your brokerage business from a base of management activity and property management clients.

 

Property Facts and Controls

 

When you completely understand the strategies behind property management, you can develop special services across asset performance including the following:

– tenant retention
– income enhancement
– lease negotiation
– expenditure management
– net income generation and cash flow control
– lease administration
– maintenance management
– risk minimization
– renovation and refurbishment activities
– vacancy minimization

So there are many concepts and strategies within this list. If you take each individual concept, there are many specialised services that can be provided to your clients and customers.

In this audio program, John Highman talks about the importance of commercial and retail property management in brokerage performance today. Learn how to improve your brokerage business and the future commission opportunities available in your town or city.

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Why Attention to Detail is So Important in Commercial Property Management Today

high rise buildings

In commercial property management today, there are many pressures and activities to consider on a daily basis across the tenancy mix, existing landlord requirements and targets, the property, and the investment requirements of the various stakeholders.  (NB – you can get our commercial property management tips right here)

 

Given those critical facts, property managers are typically very busy on a daily basis, and as a consequence they can easily be distracted into the events of the moment.  An ‘out of control’ property manager is a ‘disaster waiting to happen’ both for the client and the brokerage.  That is why attention to detail is so important in the role and for  each individual property manager.

 

Control all the Facts

 

Attention to detail in all of the property management disciplines is hard to maintain but will help control the issues and the events.

 

So what can you do here? When it comes to ‘attention to detail’, some things are more important than others for property managers and landlords. 

 

What Should You Monitor?

 

So what are the property performance issues that should be optimized and controlled in this detailed way? Try some of these for starters:

 

  1. Lease documentation – the leases that you have now in the property will support and direct the rental cash flow in different ways. Those leases have to be tracked so that all the elements of occupancy are correct and actioned.  Most of those leases will be different in some respects, so do a full and comprehensive lease review by reading the documents ‘end to end’. Take notes of critical issues as you do that.
  2. Tenant negotiations – understand the existing and upcoming tenant lease negotiations. Gather your required information well in advance so that you can start the negotiations in a timely and relevant way.
  3. Tenant placement – don’t just put a tenant into a vacant shop. Make sure that it is the right retail tenant that offers the right merchandise for the location.  Match the tenant into the tenant mix.
  4. Rental cash flow – understand the rental types that match the landlords lease strategies and the current market conditions. Be ready to negotiate those rents as market conditions allow.
  5. Arrears management – watch your arrears in a regular way. Don’t let them get out of control.  Develop arrears strategies for any tenants that are worth keeping in the property for the longer term.
  6. Maintenance management – establish a property maintenance plan and budget for the property so that most of the associated costs are kept within the cash flow capabilities of the property.
  7. Budget performance – this involves both income and expenditure. Set the budget with due regard to incomes, leases, tenants, and local area supply and demand.
  8. Vacancy factors – you will have vacancies to contend with, so allow for that fact in your property budget. Local area supply and demand will impact your leasing and vacancy alternatives.  Watch the trends in the local area.
  9. Property investment targets – the client will have targets and those targets should be at the center of your lease negotiations, tenant choices, market rental considerations, and expenditure planning.
  10. Critical dates – watch the dates in your leases, and the relationships that those leases have to each other in a ‘timing perspective’. You don’t want too much volatility in lease dates and expiry dates in the one property.