Being a property manager is highly rewarding. You support landlords and tenants in a fundamental aspect of their lives — their homes. However, property management isn’t always easy — you’re balancing the management of someone’s largest asset and someone’s place of residence.
Jo Rae, Head of Property Management at REINZ, has been there, done that, and got the T-shirt. She shares six tips to consider before entering the property management profession.
Keep calm and carry on — cliché, but true
It’s not unusual to receive a call — day, night, or over the weekend — when something goes pear-shaped at a property through no fault of anyone. Be prepared to put out fires — anything from a burst hot water cylinder or a fallen tree to a noisy party next door.
When something like this happens, the tenant may be distressed, demanding immediate action. Remaining calm under pressure and working through the issue promptly and professionally is essential.
You’ll need to assess the situation quickly — identifying whether it’s an urgent health and safety issue or if it can wait until the next business day. Above all, you must ensure your client feels heard.
At times, you may feel you are being blamed personally. Awareness and empathy will help you respond accordingly and support your client effectively.
Expect the unexpected — and prepare
Being a property manager keeps you on your toes — no two days are the same, and you need to expect the unexpected. It’s a skill that also helps you remain calm under pressure.
You may have planned your entire week, only to find you spend two full days working through an extreme weather incident that caused flooding to various properties. Adapting to unexpected issues and pivoting on your priorities is a skill that will take you far in property management.
Communication is at the core of your work
Yes, you manage properties, but you also work with various people and personalities daily. Whether it’s a landlord, tenant, contractor, or even a tenant’s neighbour, being clear and concise with your information will ensure your work runs as smoothly as possible.
It’s important to remember that from the tenants’ point of view, the property they rent is their private home, and you are going into their personal space.
Time is on your side — if you put plans in place
In property management, you may be juggling priorities throughout your day. If tasks are left incomplete, they can come back to bite you with serious consequences.
A time management system will help you work through your ‘to-dos’ in a timely manner, especially critical tasks such as dealing with legal documents and agreements that have set time frames.
You’ll need a keen eye for detail
A solid understanding of the Residential Tenancies Act and various other legislation, such as the Fair Trading Act and Consumer Guarantees Act, is key to lawfully navigating your responsibilities as a property management professional.
Should you be called to the Tenancy Tribunal, having accurate records, pictures and detailed notes of events is extremely important. Recognising and recording key information that could be called upon is a skill in itself.
Be safe around household pets
Currently, a third of all Kiwis are renting — a figure expected to increase. It’s very likely you will come across your fair share of household pets — particularly dogs.
Unfortunately, there are over 18,000 dog bite incidents a year — dogs can be unpredictable. Having awareness around animals and planning ahead when visiting a property with a dog is vital.
REINZ’s Keep Yourself Dog Safe course, created with Dog Safe Workplace, aims to reduce the number of incidents that occur in the workplace. The course has been designed specifically to provide a tool kit to help people stay safe when entering a property where a dog may be present.
We highly recommend our property management members take the course to ensure their own safety when working around dogs.