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five steps to finding the perfect property manager

The right property manager should be a force for good at the centre of your development. They can make the difference between your block being a desirable and valuable place to live, or it consuming cash for breakfast and growing thick round the edges.

Property management can be an utter headache without the right help, so if you think the time has come to boot out the old guard and find someone new to pick up the smooth running of your block, here are 5 top tips to help you make the right choice.

step 1: do your research

Okay, so hands up. PBM is a property management company and of course we’d love your business. But, writing blog articles full of self-bluster isn’t our style.

We genuinely want to improve the standards of our sector, so whether you look us up, add us to your short-list or discount us for whatever we reason, we urge you to do your research before making any decisions.

This is a busy market full of some brilliant property managers and, unfortunately, some far from brilliant ones, so take your time to dig into the details.  Consider who manages other blocks in your area. Ask how open and transparent those companies are with their information and ways of working. Look beneath any shiny veneers or non-specific sales patter and seek out genuine client reviews. Which are the management companies that really do the things they promise on their website?

step 2: Look them in the eyes

A really important factor in good block management is the accessibility and responsiveness of your property manager.  So first impressions really count here.

Arrange face-to-face meetings with the companies on your shortlist and take note of how easy it is to get a slot in their diary, how quickly they answer the phone or respond to your email and whether you are introduced to the specific person who will be looking after your account.  If they seem in any way evasive when you ask questions or are difficult to get hold of now, this will only get worse once they have your business.

To ensure the smooth running of your block, everyone concerned will need to have a good working relationship with the chosen management company. Looking into the whites of their eyes (or at least chewing the fat over a coffee) will give you a good indication of whether this is going to be a property manager you can work with!

Also, if you get the chance to visit the offices of your potential block management partner, you can also take a sneaky peek at how they run their ship.  If it looks like this is a team working amid chaos or from an office that’s seen better days your alarm bells should probably start ringing!

step 3: find out about financials

Sound money management is one of THE most important jobs that your property manager will do for you. So, we suggest that it’s worth doing some serious quizzing here.

A good property manager should be able to easily tell you (or even better show you) how an apartment building’s finances should work and how they are currently calculating and collecting service charges, tendering contracts and keeping an eye on the pennies for other blocks they manage.

We think that a willingness to be financially transparent is an absolute must for any property manager worth their salt.

step 4: get to grips with how they work

Transparency doesn’t just apply to finance. It should also be obvious how your shortlisted companies like to work.

Information should be provided freely if you ask, along with plenty of examples of their work in practice. If you can, try and get into the nitty-gritty of what a day in the life of one of their property managers looks like because it’ll give you a good insight into how your block might fit into their existing mix.

You could ask for a few examples of recent major works they’ve carried out at other properties. Or how often site inspections are done and how many other blocks your designated property manager would be responsible for.

You could also ask about the kind of technology they use to manage client communications and whether they offer out-of-hours support. Or how frequently the company trains and develops its people. Or how and where they source their maintenance contractors.

The aim is get under the skin of those companies you have shortlisted, to see how well structured their business is and whether their culture is the right fit for your needs.

step 5: don’t just take their word for it

If your preferred company has online customer reviews, check those out. We use Feefo to collect independent reviews, but other property managers might have their own method of collecting feedback, so it’s worth asking if they can share any of this info with you.

Bear in mind that client testimonials are usually 100% positive though (you’ll rarely see the negative ones in public!). To get a more accurate picture, ask if you can speak to the Resident Management Company or landlord of another block or two that your preferred property manager looks after.

Chances are they’ll put you in touch with their happiest clients all the same, but take the opportunity to ask if there are any areas of performance those other clients are not so happy with.  If they say that the property manager in question is just as good at taking the rough with the smooth, then this quick chat might give you the reassurance you need.

the perfect match

Property management isn’t plain-sailing and sometimes the nasty stuff does hit the fan. The question you need to ask is whether the company you choose is made of the right stuff to clean it up!

Good luck finding your new property manager. And if you do happen to swing by our website and like what you see, why not pop in for a cuppa some time and we can talk some more.

PBM 2019 | T: 020 8236 1270