This reflective essay is to evaluate and understand the practices, opportunities, issues and challenges faced by a property manager in the industry. This has been done by having a conversation with a property manager where I asked him certain questions related to his experience of working in real estate. The interview was conducted with Mr. Will Jack Thomas, who has over six years of experience managing residential properties and after that he shifted his focus to commercial property management. The interview was undertaken on 21 July 2020.
A property manager is an individual or company which is hired to manage the daily operations of a unit of real estate (Adnan, Daud, Alias and Razali 2017). The property owners and investors who want to invest in real estate hire property managers when they donâ€™t want to or are unable to manage the property on their own. The role of property manager is continuously changing and becoming more challenging day by day. The real estate industry is now moving towards the innovative technologies and accepting the use of these technologies for managing the work more effectively and efficiently. There have been ups and downs in the Australian real estate industry and especially the residential market has been observing drastic changes in past few decades (Barclay, Heitman and Smith, 2017). There have been increasing prices of properties in major cities of Australia such as Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane and Hobart. The industryâ€™s growth has been hampered due to strict policy and reduced interest from foreign investors in residential property (Bate 2020). The practices of property management are being challenged by under-trained or educated newly entered staff, there have been communication constraints with owners and tenants, problems in staff retention and constantly changing and increasing legislation and regulation requirements in the industry (Mr. Will Jack Thomas, Property Manager, interview, 21 July 2020).
In todayâ€™s fast changing world, the roles and responsibilities of a property manager are continuously evolving and the property managerâ€™s job is no longer a â€˜one-man jobâ€™ and they are now working as a team. However, the main parts of the work of a property manager are almost the same.
Academically, Mr. Will Jack Thomas concluded that property managers ensure that properties under their care operate smoothly and they maintain and try to increase their value. They check all the facilities, hire supervisors and assign duties to the maintenance staff and contract for services like trash removal or landscaping when required. They also have the responsibility to show the property to tenants and pay taxes and other maintenance fees. Mr. Will described that the job titles and roles of property managers vary based on their specialty. Real estate managers deal in the income producing residential and commercial properties so that the investors receive maximum returns. They manage the financial operations, tax payments, payroll and maintenance bills. Other category of property managers is of community association managers who administer communal properties and see that all residents are treated fairly and are paying their fees on time. Mr. Will further told about the onsite managers who take care of daily operations on a single property like a shopping center. Lastly, there are asset managers who coordinate in buying, selling and development of real estate on behalf of investors and businesses (Yuen and Li 2016).
The roles and responsibilities of property managers are becoming more challenging with increased legislation and regulations that one needs to be aware of, high expectations from landlords along with managing the tenantâ€™s issues and dealing with different types of people (Kirikkaleli, Atari and Ertugrul 2018). Therefore, it has now become important to hire a team for specific tasks and assign them duties in order to work more effectively and efficiently. As a team, everyone needs to perform their duties which can be marketing of properties, leasing and handling documents or the maintenance work.
Due to the emergence of advanced cloud technology, the use of new technology and innovations has posed challenges as the people do not have enough knowledge of the same (Montgomery, Squires and Syed 2018). However, with time the managers have learnt about the innovative technologies and hence it has become easy for the property managers to carry out certain operations via their devices. Nowadays, more and more customers are becoming tech-savvy and they like to search online before making a purchase decision. The portals have been introduced which make it easier for the buyers and developers to interact with each other and reduce the money spent on third party agents (Read and Sander ford 2018). The other uses of technology like 3D walkthroughs have impacted the real estate industry. It has been adopted and used by developers to make high quality walkthroughs on online portals for the home buyers to view and have a look at the property on their handheld devices or laptops/desktops.
Despite the use of technology, it is also very important for property managers to build and maintain good relations with the landlords or property owners as well as the tenants.
The property owners hire property management firms for different reasons. Some owners may have rental properties but do not have time or expertise to maintain the properties and deal with the tenants. There are some owners who just want to earn profits from their rental properties. In such cases, they hire professional property managers who take care of their property and provide them their share of profits (Faust 2016). The property managers deal with different people for different work. These include the clients, tenants, and other staff involved in tasks such as maintenance of property. As per Mr. Will, one of the challenging work of property manager is to employ the right people for right job. There is a requirement of professional teams that can look into the issues of the clients and tenants and solve their issues in the most effective way. Therefore, we can say that the property managers optimize property performance; work in order to keep tenants loyal, and create sustained rental income. The property industry is constantly changing and competition is increasing day by day. It is getting more technical and complex to serve the variety of tenants.
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