Bluestone and Hockley Real Estate Services
Marshall owned a 66-unit apartment property. He knew from experience that he needed to find a competent on-site manager to keep the units rented. He decided to look in the paper to see who else was looking for an on-site manager.
The ads read:
- 50”“unit apt, management team position avail now, good NE location, salary, handyperson, pool.
- A couple retired from the building trades would be ideal for this 72-unit apartment property centrally located in Beaverton; competitive salary and 2-bedroom unit.
- Full time management position in a 138-unit Open Meadows community. Property is owner-managed by a growing company. We hire motivated people, invest in their training, and reward their performance. Applicants should have over 5 years experience and a positive, professional and energetic approach. Persons with the Accredited Residential Manager designation are preferred. We offer: competitive Pay, performance bonuses, medical/dental benefits, 401K and additional training.
- Luxury Properties, a national residential property management company, is seeking a property manager for a 200-unit upscale apartment in Dove Tail Falls. This detail-oriented person must have exceptional organizational and leadership skills. One weekend day required, on-site apartment optional; we offer a competitive base, comprehensive benefits and ongoing training for advancement.
- Apartment management team needed for small Umpqua property. Rent credit, utilities and small salary. Must have good leasing and maintenance skills.
- Mid-size SE property needs resident management team. Successful candidate will possess leasing, bookkeeping and maintenance skills; two-bedroom apartment, salary and benefits. Please note: a thorough background check will be performed.
Marshall noticed right away that the larger properties offered better benefits and the smaller properties only offered free rent and either a small or no salary. The ads also described the traits and skills a prospective manager should have.
He decided to make a list of the qualities he wanted in his manager or management team. His property was middle of the road with mid-income tenants; he wanted someone who could relate to them. Renting units was his first priority, so he wanted someone with a friendly, energetic personality and excellent organizational skills; whomever he hired should be driven to keep the units rented. Since Marshall did not have an office at his property, he needed someone who would keep his or her personal unit clean. He did not want a smoker, since he felt a unit full of smoke might keep potential renters away. He also wanted someone that knew how important a professional, neat appearance would be to prospective tenants (i.e. they shouldn't smell). In addition, Marshall wanted a manager unafraid to get his or her hands dirty doing things like cleaning the laundry room and policing the grounds daily. The person he hired would need to have a good phone manner and be able to make people feel welcome.
Since Marshall owned 66 units, it made sense for the manager to be the enforcer. This means that the manager oversees the cleaning, maintenance, and grounds maintenance rather than does it. The manager needed to recognize maintenance problems, and if Marshall was lucky, the manager would be able to complete major and minor maintenance assignments. Marshall had tools on site, a rooter machine, a lawnmower, blower and some other hand tools and parts. It would be especially great if the manager knew how to take care of the pool, but that could be learned.
Then he had to think about the cost of management. High turnover meant higher vacancy, so he decided to try to compete with the larger properties. He figured he could spend six to seven percent of his income on the on-site manager as long as the vacancy rate was below three percent. His goal was to have a great on-site manager who would stay for two years or more.
The draft of his ad ran like this:
- 66-unit apartment property seeks property management team. Successful candidates will possess leasing, bookkeeping and maintenance skills. Applicants should have over 5 years experience, be well organized and have a positive, professional and energetic approach. Persons with the Accredited Residential Manager designation are preferred. We offer: 2-bedroom apartment, competitive pay, paid vacation, performance bonuses and medical benefits. Non-smoker preferred.
The response to the ad was overwhelming and Marshall's challenge was sifting through all of the resumes and making a decision. When he finally chose three finalists, he looked at the properties they currently managed. Then he ran credit, criminal, and rental history checks in addition to a doing a drug screen. He called the references they provided and finally chose the applicant who had kept her 30-unit full for over two years.
Not all properties can afford all of the benefits Marshall provided, but he decided he needed to invest to get the best. Your property may only be able to pay for half of one month's rent and performance bonuses, but keep in mind that a good on-site manager sees himself or herself as a professional and wants to grow to make more money. Your property is merely a stop on their professional trail. Your job is to keep them at your property as long as possible.