A Tighter Linchpin

Expanding needs among residents and property owners are providing new opportunities for property managers to become influential and even vital, producing properties that attract and retain tenants for the long term and increasing returns for the owner.
Editorial Director Suzann D. Silverman
Editorial Director Suzann D. Silverman

If ever there were a time for property managers to shine, it’s now. Expanding needs on both sides—among residents and property owners—are providing new opportunities to become influential and even vital, producing properties that attract and retain tenants for the long term, increasing returns for the owner. Certainly it is advisable to seize this opportunity, but not without developing knowledge outside the traditional realm of property management.

READ THE DIGEST

On the investment side, owners are increasingly welcoming and even seeking asset management input from their property managers. In fact, the more the property manager shows an understanding of the owner’s goals, the more they’ll be appreciated as an integral part of the team, Dustin Read, associate professor of property management at Virginia Tech, explained to reporter Robyn Friedman for our article “What Do Asset Managers Want from Property Managers?”

“Even if you are talking to ownership in really simple return metrics—things as simple as payback period or cash-on-cash return—it signals to asset managers that you understand this piece of real estate as an investment vehicle,” he noted.

Beyond that are a growing array of operational advances—such as improved measurement, management and billing for energy usage—that contribute to efficiency. Awareness of and an ability to contribute to such solutions benefits the property’s performance even more.

Such advances also cater to residents, who are indicating an increasing interest in sustainability and smart efficiencies. Also topping their lists of attractions are wide-range wi-fi so they can communicate or stream programming in the gym or by the pool and dependable cellphone signals—a non-negotiable feature, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council-Kingsley Associates Renter Preferences Report unveiled late last year. Smart-home controls that can operate thermostats and door locks are attracting interest, as well, promising greater future demand for more extensive technology.

All this comes with a concern for options, according to an MHN-Kingsley survey on satisfaction with wireless connectivity; a number of respondents expressed a wish for more flexibility in selecting carriers or features rather than a standard being pre-determined for the entire community. Staying aware of the newest alternatives, including their pros and cons, and matching them with resident preferences makes for greater contentment within the building—and thus, a healthier occupancy rate and better returns for the landlord.

While property managers have always provided a linchpin between the owner and the resident, greater empowerment affords an opportunity to strengthen that connection. The door is open—and there’s a chair at the table waiting to be filled.