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.
Real estate experts agree that good communication skills are vital for a property manager but there are other character and professional traits that are equally important.
“We have to be psychologists many times. We have to be psychologists for staff members and we have to be psychologists for board members,” says Jeffrey Friedman, president of Vintage Real Estate Services Ltd. in Manhattan. “I have been in property management for 34 years, and if I’ve learned anything in this job, it's that more than anything else, people want to know that there is somebody they can pick up a phone and call who will listen to them. That’s the key to being a successful property manager; being able to listen to people. People have told me many things over the years that have nothing to do with the co-op or condo they live in because I listen. Sometimes they just need somebody to talk to.”