Property Manager in the Middle, I jokingly think about the monkey in the middle game from when we were kids. The title property manager means something different depending on the person, property type and location. Some clients expect a property manager to know all and do all. Some even consider us a personal assistant-funny but true! Others are amazing and always so grateful for what we do.
Let’s get real
To be frank, the job is too big for the title. The expectation that one person should know, and complete tasks related to maintenance of multiple different property types, legal notices, marketing, compliance, and accounting is unrealistic. Property managers rely on their clients, customers, and supplier partners to support the long terms goals. If the supplier doesn’t receive a work order, it throws off the whole move in. Or if an owner falls on hard times and don’t have money to fix something, the resident blames us.
It is the most extreme “middleman” you can think of. Most days we are upsetting one side or the other. We are in between two traditional adversaries. An owner wants to increase revenue and decrease expenses. A resident, similarly, wants to reduce expenses and increase value. How do you balance those demands and desires? Oh, and throw in the restrictions we have when it comes to fair housing, ethics, and confidentiality. As property managers there is a lot we cannot say. Unfortunately, if we were able to be more transparent it may lessen defenses.
One instance recently. A potential new owner client reached out and wanted to inquire about our services. They were a past resident. This is the best new client. They have worked with us and understand the value and came back! But he had some concerns over neighbor disputes he had as a resident many years ago. His neighbor was suffering from mental illness. On the back end we were doing a lot to work with the manager, HOA, and neighboring resident. But, to them it looked like we did nothing. The problem wasn’t solved, it didn’t matter what we were trying to do because we couldn’t share it with them.
That is the hard part about our job. Being legally bound and restricted, takes out the most useful component of a productive relationship…the human element.
We like to think of a property manager more of a facilitator or someone managing the process. Advising you during tough situations. Handling the tasks may you don’t know how or want to do like an insurance claim. Our job is also to make sure owners and residents follow the law. The old saying the customer is always right, just doesn’t apply here. We are bound by contracts. We follow the contract- so if you are ever in doubt- pull out that contract you signed and probably didn’t fully read. We are all guilty of it, but it doesn’t make it void.