02 May

Does Your Property Manage You?


Do you manage your property, or does it manage you? This should be at the forefront of your mind every day. This question is meant to keep you on track and focused. Why? Because property management is an industry that can make or break you! As property managers we are the ultimate in multi-tasking. We know that anyone can become a property manager, but the ones that truly standout and differentiate themselves are the ones that manage their building. Not the other way around.

There can be constant interruptions and challenges throughout any given day. The day starts out fine until you get a call about a flooded property, or an unexpected customer complaint. Now you need to drop what you are doing and attend to the crisis at hand.

As you begin to tackle this new challenge, it is best to keep reminding yourself that you manage the building, the building does not manage you! When the flood hits, do you have a contingency plan? Why is the customer complaining? Analyze the issue and address the problem. The number one solution is to be proactive. Do all you can to prevent these issues from happening again. Manage it and do not just react to it!

When an issue arises, it must be broken down into the smallest components in order to find the reason or cause. Once it has been solved, it is time to develop a new approach or plan so that it can be prevented in the future. This can be as simple as more training in a specific topic, or even just determining if the task should be outsourced rather than performed in-house. Whatever the solution, it needs to be developed, implemented, and then monitored. If a solution is developed but it is never put into action, or if it is put into place but no one follows up on it to make sure it is being implemented correctly, it will do no good and create more headaches for you later on down the line.

For instance, if there is a flood, what caused the flood? Was it the lack of preventative maintenance, human error due to lack of training, a service contract failure, etc.? The point of managing is to anticipate and not wait for matters to arise. The entire premise of good management is to think about “What If” and anticipate everything. Constantly ask, “What is the worst thing that can happen?” or “What if this happens?” Then consider another important question “How should I prevent it or react if it does happen?” If you are prepared, it is no longer a crisis or interruption. Instead, it is just another part of the normal multi-tasking routine. Remember, the goal is to manage your property, not for the property to manage you!

“More content available at All Things Property Management by Buildium, industry leaders in Online Property Management Software.”

07 Jun

New Property or Facility Takeover: Where Do I Start?

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Start out thinking like a one person S.W.A.T. Team and and change your attitude to “We or I manage the facility, the facility does not manage us or me.” It is so very profound and calming. In doing transitions or takeovers of properties you need to focus on several key points.

1. Master or take command of the property. Be ready for an emergency on the evening of day one, around 5pm!
2. Be very determined and relentless.
3. Run the property like a Navy ship and visualize it!
4. Do not accept 2nd best, only the best.
5. Let everyone know what you expect.
6. Follow up and through.
7. Create meaningful logs or lists. (think back to no computers to achieve this)
8. Gather and inventory every single thing and count it all. (think back to no computers to achieve this)
9. Do everything with baby steps but, do, do, do and do not stop.
10. Stop being reactive and let everyone know that Rome was not built in a day or good things take time.
11. I am the biggest geek around and would want everything in a database, online and backed up. However, I have to take command first and sink my teeth into the systems first, meet the tenants and staff and plan and organize before I do anything with the information.
12. Have the engineers draw you tons of pictures so you can visualize all of it and have legends and keys to all key valves and other critial issues as part of the understanding.
13. Go meet the tenants and staff. If need be, walk with the staff or take turns walking and knocking on doors.
14. Contact all contract service providers to be there day two. Again, walk and talk with them as well. Keep knocking on doors if there are any tenants left to meet.
15. Open all drawers and read leases and files, if that is appropriate. All properties are different, but the concept is to find the bombs and defuse them ASAP. Do not wait for them to explode.

That should get anyone off to a running start for a property takeover or transition! For an indepth checklist, check all of the cool forms at IREM or BOMI or IFMA. All of these organizations offer books, forms, procedures and checklists when you are faced with a new property assignment. If you need to obtain an example of a form I have used and adapted over the years, click here to visit my box.net account!

What words of wisdom do you have for folks facing a new property takeover or transition? Tell us about it so we can all learn together!