commercial real estate training

Time Management Tips in Commercial Property Management

When you work as a commercial real estate property manager, there are certain things that need to be done every day to help you stay in control of the portfolio and clients that you work for.  This segment of the industry is quite busy and challenging in many different ways.  You will be balancing issues relating to the landlord, tenants, property performance, maintenance, and cash flow.

It is no secret that you will be very busy most of the time, and yet the high priority issues still need to be done.  In most cases, they cannot be delegated.  For this reason, property managers need to be highly efficient and effective when it comes to personal time and task management.

A career in commercial property management is very different to that of sales and or leasing.  Whilst a property manager may get involved in both sales and leasing, they do it from a different direction and with other priorities.  In most cases they are seeking to improve the property performance and the cash flow for the client, so most of their decisions will be based on that focus.  Whilst the commission of the transaction is of some importance, the client’s position and targets are more important.

Here are some things that should be high on the manager’s agenda for each working day in commercial or retail property management:

  1. At the very beginning of the day it is wise to check the inbound emails and messages to see if there are any matters of critical importance relating to your clients, property performance, risk, maintenance, or property damage.  Matters relating to potential personal injury should be dealt with immediately.  If you have a good group of maintenance contractors to help you, maintenance issues can be ‘actioned’ quite quickly with a telephone call and a suitable job order number.
  2. Most tenant management and maintenance issues can wait till later in the day.  It is simply a matter of acknowledging the tenants request for attention or action, and returning to the issue when time permits.  Document all of your communications with tenants in case you need to refer later to the events and actions that were taken.  Tenants can sometimes ‘modify’ the facts and use it to personal advantage.
  3. The collection of rental monies and arrears should be checked at the start of each day.  From time to time you will have tenants that are struggling with rental payments and in some cases you will have established a ‘payments plan’.  When that occurs, you need to check the progress of incoming payments and the tenant’s commitment to the plan.  Also pay attention to the normal rental payments required under the terms of existing leases.  When the rental arrears situation arises, act on it immediately.
  4. The leases in the property remain the backbone of the cash flow for the landlord.  For this reason the critical dates of each lease should be understood and tracked continually.  Pay particular attention to the rent reviews, options, renovation and maintenance requirements, insurance, rentals, and outgoings.  When a critical date is coming up, act on it as early as possible.  The greater the number of tenants that you have, the more challenging this requirement will become.  A good property management software program will help you with the controls behind these critical date issues.
  5. Communicating with the landlord in a timely and efficient way will keep them fully briefed on income and expenditure activity.  Document all of your communications with the landlord.  Understand what they require when it comes to reporting and income.  Show the landlord that you really are in control of all matters relating to property performance, the tenants, and the cash flow.

So the message here is that you need to remain organized and efficient.  Develop a system that works for you from a property management perspective.  It is a known fact that personal control in time management is one of the biggest challenges you will strike in this part of the industry.  You will be very busy on a daily basis.  You need to control all the things that you do and the way that they are undertaken.

By John Highman

John Highman is an International Commercial Real Estate Author, Conference Speaker, and Broadcaster living in Australia, who shares property investment ideas and information to online audiences Worldwide.