Choosing the Right Property Management or Leasing Firm

 

By Thomas McGeachy, Managing Principal

Choosing the right property manager or leasing agent can have a dramatic impact on the performance of an investment. Property managers perform a wide array of critical functions including providing services to tenants, reporting to the owner, maintaining the asset, and collecting and disbursing funds. 

A competent property manager will enhance the value of an asset by maximizing revenue opportunities and efficiently controlling expenses. By building strong relationships with the tenants, the property manager can reduce turnover as well as the downtime of tenant improvements that result from having to backfill vacant space. A motivated and aggressive leasing agent will enhance the value of the property by maximizing occupancy at the most favorable economic terms market conditions will allow. 

Following are a few key factors that should be considered when choosing a property manager or leasing agent:

Expertise

 Is the firm qualified to manage and lease your asset? Just as importantly, what are the qualifications of the individuals that will be assigned to your property? 

From a leasing perspective, look for designations such as Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) and Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR). 

Property management–oriented designations include Certified Property Manager (CPA), Real Property Administrator (RPA) and Certified Shopping Center Manager (CSM). These designations indicate that the individual has completed a rigorous curriculum of education and has demonstrated substantial experience in the industry. 

At the firm level, the Accredited Management Organization (AMO) designation signifies overall excellence in property management. 

Experience

Request a list of current clients and check those references. Does the property manager/leasing agent have experience in managing and leasing properties of similar size in the same sector (office, industrial, retail)? 

Many firms are competent leasing agents but lack property management expertise. Make sure the firm is committed to excellence in property management. Look for a firm that has a successful track record of maintaining clients. Drive other properties the firm represents. Ask the firm to provide examples of previous successes of reducing costs, increasing occupancy, and enhancing value.

Technology and Reporting Capabilities

Ask what accounting software the firm uses. Request a sample monthly report and sample budget. Assess how key financial reports, such as the budget variance reports and aged receivables reports, are formatted. Are tenant service requests and preventative maintenance scheduling automated? If a firm’s reporting capabilities are weak in these areas, their implementation is likely to be weak as well.

Business Plan

Articulate your goals and objectives for the asset and ask the prospective firm to articulate their management and marketing plan to meet those goals. Where do they see value enhancement? Are rates under market? Are there areas of potential operating efficiencies? The goal is not to find a babysitter, but rather a proactive firm that thinks like an owner and brings value to the equation.

The Right Fit

Is the firm the right fit for you and your property? How does your property fit within the firm’s portfolio? 

Bigger does not always mean better when it comes to property management and leasing. Technology has drastically enhanced the accessibility of market data and the ability to create and distribute marketing information, effectively leveling the playing field between larger and smaller firms. Often a smaller, more entrepreneurial firm will provide you with a more customized approach, greater responsiveness, and a higher level of diligence on your property. 

Do your research and choose a firm that has both the required experience and expertise, as well as the commitment and enthusiasm to achieve your goals and objectives. Our team is fully equipped and qualified to provide management and leasing services for your asset. 

Call Heather List, Business Development Manager, at (813) 908-1727, to discuss your property needs.