As varied as the types of commercial property are different classifications of property managers. It can be an individual owner, a member of a firm specializing in property management services, or a member of a large, multiservice i.e., brokerage, financing, title services and property management. A property manager may also work within the trust department of a financial institution or work as an employee of a public or governmental facility. The primary goal of the property manager is to assume the responsibility of maximizing the net income from a property and providing timely cash glow and an accurate report of activities on the Owner’s behalf.
Commercial real estate requiring professional property management services consists of office buildings, retail properties and industrial properties. Office buildings can be multi-tenant Class A highrise complexes, garden office style complexes, office condominiums, or single tenant building. Almost all multi-tenant office buildings are professionally managed. Retail properties include freestanding stores and restaurants, commercial strip centers, neighborhood shopping centers, community shopping centers and large shopping malls. Industrial properties may include light and heavy manufacturing plants along with warehouse/office developments for service and storage of products. Typically, property management is involved in multi-tenant projects and business parks. In our market, due to its size, most professional property management companies will include a mix of all three commercial property types.
As professionals, we perform the tasks of projecting cash flow and preparing annual budgets, reconciling CAM (common area maintenance) expenses at year end, collecting rent, supervising vendors to maintain the interior and exterior of the properties, ensure competitive pricing/bidding for vendor services, assist in obtaining competitive insurance for the owner’s property, paying taxes on the property, mortgage payments on behalf of the owner, keeping accurate records, provide detailed property inspections, responding to security issues, and in our market, hurricane related events. Responsibilities may also include lease negotiations, renewals of leases with existing tenants, tenant screening for new tenants, advertising and space merchandising. We must generate absolute confidence in everything we do.
The professional property manager is a true “problem solver”, and it is always to goal of any property manager to solve problems, not merely report them. If a potential problem occurs that is not within the approved CAM budget or maintenance plan, it is carefully reviewed with the Owner along with a proposal for a solution along with an estimate of cost. Upon approval by the Owner, typically when an expense occurs that exceeds $500.00 or is an expense that would be considered an owner expense, the property manager’s job is to execute the solution.
The need for professional property managers with sophisticated management skills and extensive technical training and skills increases daily, especially with the growth our market is currently experiencing. Professional property managers must also maintain the highest ethical standards. Ethics is a rule of conduct, and refers to integrity, fidelity and competency. In addition to a property manager’s fiduciary responsibilities to their owners and clients, ethical standards go beyond the legal realm. Honesty and integrity are as important to a property manger as skill, knowledge and experience. It is the vital foundation of a successful property management firm.
Property managers cannot be satisfied with achieving benefits the owner could achieve without professional property management services, but rather, because of our services. The benefits we provide accruing to the Owner must be superior to those the Owner could achieve using their own efforts.