All in a Day's Work The Life of a Property Manager

Property management, in the broadest of terms, is defined as the operation, control and oversight of real estate. Most property managers would agree that definition is just a starting point.

There are many facets to the demanding profession of property management, including managing the accounts and finances of the real estate properties and participating in or initiating litigation with tenants, contractors and insurance agencies. Litigation may be considered a separate function, set aside for trained attorneys, but a property manager will need to be well informed and up to date on applicable municipal, county, state and federal Fair Housing laws and practices.

One major role of a property manager for condominium properties is that of liaison between the board of directors or board of managers, the property owners and residents and the personnel required to keep a property attractive, safe and functional. Good communication is a must for this “thinking-on-your-feet” position, which also requires understanding the processes and systems utilized to manage all aspects concerning property including acquisition, control, accountability, responsibility, maintenance, utilization and disposition.

“All the successful property managers I know have good communication skills,” says Carey Overstreet, CPM, CCIM, and managing director of the Randolph Realty Group in Chicago. “They are also detail oriented, are really good at following up and setting up and implementing systems.”

“Communication is important but the best property managers treat the properties as if they have a personal stake in them,” says Dave Urbaniak, a realtor and property manager with Urbaniak Properties in Chicago. “The decisions you make as an owner are a lot different than you might make as a third party. I like to look at it as if I actually own the building. Yesterday, for instance, I put in a new medicine cabinet instead of having somebody else do it. I did it to make sure it was done right and in a timely manner. You should do the work as if it’s your own building, I think that’s critical.”

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