Successfully Investing in Real Estate Requires a Qualified Property Manager

By definition, property managers set appropriate rental rates, look after tenants, coordinate with construction management in repairs and build outs, and serve as the middleman between building ownership and its tenants. As owners and investors in buildings have evolved, so to have the responsibilities and expectations of a property manager. In years’ past, an attorney or doctor might look to acquire the building its practice is in as a means of retirement income. Today, with buildings costing tens of millions of dollars, the typical investor might be looking for a return on their investment in two or 10 years. A good property manager can help asset owners better understand the performance of their investment(s), as well as provide recommendations for any stage of a property’s life.

First time ownership.
For those looking to acquire an asset for the first time, a property manager can help owners understand the financials of their investment, and what it will take to ensure a return when they do want to exit. Today, employees are headed back to the office and leasing is taking place but be sure to consider what types of tenants you want in the first place. While we’ve seen life sciences leasing opportunities increase recently, other industries have been slow to return to an office. Identifying the types of tenants you want, along with the amount an owner is willing to invest and the exit plan, will help determine the type of investment you’re after.

Financials are key.
If the timing is right for you to purchase a building today, consider the golden rule, cash is king. For prospective buyers, competition could be fierce on certain properties. For those looking to acquire a loan, buying could be difficult. Banks are cautious to lend money during a recession and in situations where businesses may default. A good property manager should be able to support you with building financials and help alleviate concerns from any lenders.

Prepare now for a recession.
During and post-pandemic, the commercial real estate market has been on fire. Those with cash have been able to find deals. Those that capitalized on opportunity buys early in the pandemic, were able to purchase properties with a reasonably low interest rate compared with today. No matter when a property is acquired, owners should be coordinating with their property managers now on how the recession could impact their tenant pool. Asset managers should carefully consider what investments to make in the property now, so they don’t lose tenants (especially after employees are finally returning to the office) tomorrow. In addition, property managers can identify which tenants’ lease agreements could be renegotiated and renewed. As the conduit to both ownership and tenants, property managers are in the unique position to help both, so let them. If ownership waits too long, they risk losing existing tenants to a competitor.

Credentials Play a Pivotal Role.
There are plenty of good property managers but leaning on someone’s accreditations can help. The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) is an international institute for property and asset managers, providing complete knowledge to take on real estate management’s most dynamic challenges from solving the latest tenant crisis to analyzing market conditions. In today’s commercial real estate climate, a property manager is the most valuable asset to ensuring a return on investment. Owners, investors, and employers know that if a property manager holds an IREM CPM designation, he or she has the knowledge to maximize the value of any property, in any asset class. CPMs have the potential to make over twice as much than the average property manager salary in the U.S1,2.

Shawn Harvey has a BBA in Accounting from the University of Texas and is a Certified Property Manager through IREM, where he has served on the board for the past seven years. Harvey is a Senior Managing Director and Partner at Lee & Associates – Houston.