4 Steps to Laser-Centric Property Management

Jason Berkowitz

The multi-family landscape is constantly changing and the tumultuous times the industry has been through since the start of the pandemic have only underscored the importance of having a solid property management strategy in place, as this is part of integral to the foundation for success.

Now, more than ever, it is essential that property management companies develop a focused approach that goes beyond simply managing properties. Instead, companies that view customers as partners and foster a vested interest in their goals to develop creative business plans that deepen asset management strategy are the ones that will thrive.

There is a certain je ne sais quoi that emerges when owners and managers work together to achieve their goals. However, this does not happen accidentally. Companies need to engage early and at a granular level with investors to understand each property’s unique objectives, then tailor our management services approach to exceed expectations.

So how can you maximize the value of multifamily investments? Start with a personalized management plan for each property with a deep dive into overall goals to truly cater to each client on a personal level. This multi-level process is described below.

Operate with an owner’s mindset

Start by operating with an owner’s mindset – this will serve as the root of everything.

Together, look at the different elements that will be critical to successfully leasing this asset and achieving NOI goals, really dive into local data and insights, and look at the project as if you own it. It means becoming an extension of their team and, as such, speaking out on the strategies to implement that will steer them in the right direction.

While it is important to consider current trends and resident desires when developing the business plan, it is equally crucial to leverage information gathered from the client regarding desired outcomes and future plans. .

Take a unique data-driven approach

Although achieving the NOI is a clear goal, the path to getting there can vary greatly. Determining the best course of action will involve analyzing the entire scope of the project.

First, consider all aspects of the building, including availability of capital for improvements, expense sensitivity, current debt, and occupancy constraints and goals. Plus, dive into the data of what’s happening in the property right now, what trends you’re seeing, and what residents want.

After breaking down these different components, you can then couple this local market data and expertise with the client’s goals to guide you on the best path forward. For example, sometimes lowering the occupancy rate to renovate results in an increase in rent over time. However, customers may not be able to cope with a drop in occupancy in the meantime, so you need to find another way to get there.

The analysis and exploitation of data allows you to have an overview of the current project to reveal the different paths you are able to take. But being nimble and innovative in how you use that data alongside customer goals will reveal the best path to getting there.

Be aware that one size does not fit all

Once you are aligned on the goals and the steps to achieve them, the partnership can begin.

Your team probably already has best practices in place. The challenge will be having the ability to be nimble and adapt to your client’s distinct needs. A one-size-fits-all approach will only be a hindrance in this situation. Instead, work together to blend practices and create a harmonious approach.

Be open to taking risks and coming up with original ideas. With a thorough understanding of the objectives, you will be able to develop overall recommendations and strategies unique to each asset. Considering each project as your own will allow you to capitalize on the skills of each client.

It is also important to listen to the market. If he informs you of something different from your original plan, it is your responsibility to speak up and make a change. While it’s crucial to have a plan in place, even more critical is having the ability to recognize when that plan is no longer best suited to current trends and to pivot quickly.

Just like listening to the market, it is also essential to understand the changing needs of prospects and residents. For example, residents are using their living spaces differently in the wake of the increase in remote working. Apartments have become a place of work and leisure, and there are no signs of that changing any time soon.

With the majority of businesses continuing to emphasize working from home, management companies will need to continue to adjust their offerings to meet the needs of short- and long-term residents. This ranges from providing better high-speed internet packages, to creating and developing socially distanced coworking spaces and creating wellness-focused spaces to help residents balance the challenge of working and live in the same space consistently. The goal should be for all multi-family businesses to quickly adapt and implement feedback from their residents to ensure success in building resident retention and satisfaction.

Overcommunicating along the way

In order to organically build the trust and relationships needed to work as partners and be empowered to take those risks and make rapid changes, communication is key.

Consistent conversations are imperative due to the ever-changing real estate lifestyle. Initial goals will likely change along the way, so it’s important to maintain regular contact and overcommunicate at all times.

Property managers need to ensure consistent conversations are taking place in anticipation of a change in strategy – it may sound simple, but clients appreciate it more than you might think. By doing this, you can review and pivot as needed when market curves are inevitably thrown your way.

Similarly, over-communicating with the locals is just as essential. Improving customer service has become one of the most critical elements in demonstrating value, improving resident satisfaction in communities, and standing out within the property management community.

High expectations are rising as more residents work from home, so it will become crucial that prompt communication and prompt resolution of issues remain essential strategies for strong customer service. Additionally, we anticipate that most residents will turn to digital communication via smartphone apps, email or SMS alerts for updates and ongoing communication with on-site teams. For multi-family operators, this means expanding your digital resources and increasing the frequency of communications in 2021 and beyond to ensure resident trust and satisfaction.

Ultimately, thinking and planning beyond the operating budget will benefit everyone from asset owners to those working in the field. Being able to form a joint partnership and work with an owner’s mindset will ensure that the mission is clear at all levels, which will keep associates and customers happy.


Jason Berkowitz is the founder and CEO of RPM Living, a property management, development and investment firm offering an innovative and personalized approach to property management services.