What is it I really need to do as a Property Manager?
Do you have those days where you feel like a clown juggling 20 balls at once? You just catch them as they fall and then go round in circles and don’t really get anywhere? …Property Management can be like that, but it doesn’t have to be.
The answer to stopping the juggling is scheduling and planning tasks in advance. This moves us from working in a reactive state to working in a proactive state.
When we don’t plan, and we are reactive to deal with everything as and when it lands in our inbox, or as a client asks us a question of something we haven’t done, we tend to go into a stressed state. We fall behind, the work piles up, things get missed and we brush things under the carpet. From someone who has been in property management for close to three decades, believe me when I say I know how this plays out.
To work in a reactive state means that we are responding to a situation rather than controlling it. When we are working in a proactive state we are in control of the situation, and we are also in control of the outcomes and our time.
Owner clients engage our services and use us as professionals to be in control of the situation and provide solutions to control the outcomes. Ideally, we want to be reaching out to them, before they are reaching out to us.
There is that old saying “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”
I don’t like to call it an ideal week, as there is nothing ideal about the day-to-day running of a portfolio. So many factors can change throughout the day and curveballs can be thrown to put a spanner in the works, sending that ideal week out the window.
So how do we work in a proactive state? First, you need to look at all your reoccurring tasks and then schedule them into time blocks in your calendar. These need to be broken down into weekly, monthly and annual basis.
I have listed some tasks below that you will typically do while managing a property. Depending on your role you may have other things to include in the above lists, these are just a general guideline.
Arrears, Maintenance and Emergencies, New Leases, Open Homes for the week ahead, application processing, invoice entry, email and phones calls, ICR’s and routine inspections, and good new calls.
Lease renewals for the coming month, Rental Increases, Account checking for shortfalls in creditor payments a week prior to the end of the month, Scheduling all routines for the next month in advance, Compliance – insurance renewals, smoke alarms, pool certificates, window locks, Waterwise certificates, blind cleats, Any maintenance over 30 days, Owner newsletter content preparation, Call to new owners after first statement run
Checking end of financial year statements, Arranging tax depreciation schedules from April through to June, Property Health check and market updates from the sales team, Preventative maintenance report
The key to scheduling is organization skills and discipline. Move all tasks into your diary and put them into time blocks, then only work on the allocated task that is within your time allocation. For example, arrears may be done for 30 mins from 9:30 to 10:00 am every Tuesday, and Friday. Invoice entry might be done every Wednesday mid-morning. Routines should be broken up into one day per week over the month, this will mean conducting, several routines in a day for a 4 week period completing reports, and arranging maintenance all on that one day. Open homes should be scheduled on Monday and then uploaded to property portals for the week in advance.
Take time at the commencement of the week to look at your calendar and workload and start scheduling tasks in. Don’t forget to include your monthly tasks. Routine and reviews could be scheduled in the first week of every month, compliance could be mid-month, and statement and creditor checks on the last week of the month.
Turn off other distractions such as notifications on emails and close down programs that you are not using. Have a clear desk and put other items away that may grab your attention. A checklist is also a great way to keep you on track to ensure you have completed all tasks.
Remember, there will be curveballs… hello burst hot water system. These are inevitable and you will need to drop everything to attend. So, make time in your schedule with a heading that says just that “curve balls “You can then use this time to shuffle things around and still have time allocation to deal with reoccurring tasks and keep on track.
So, to summarise, identify reoccurring tasks, take time to plan at the beginning of the week, schedule tasks in priority order, complete one task before moving onto the next, limit distractions and be disciplined, take breaks, checklists will assist you, think ahead and plan future weeks and months and finally always let your client know what you are doing.
It really is that simple, it just takes a little practice and habit building to get into the flow. As always if you need help with scheduling your tasks the team at Real + are here to help. If you are a member you can also re-watch our webinar on What is it I really do as a Property Manager on our Real+ TV.
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