A Multifamily Problem: Property Manager Burnouts

By Chris Arnold

Burnouts on the Rise

I had a call this week about the state of property management for many teams and, more specifically, the depths of expectation bestowed upon the management role. More often than not, they need to:

  • Have design skills
  • Be a people person
  • Know email marketing tactics
  • Have web development knowledge
  • Understand every platform's ad nuances
  • Be able to run into a flooding apartment unit
  • Manage phone calls, text messages, and close sales

When managing an apartment property, it's crucial to have a diverse set of skills - clearly.

From managing tenant relations to marketing the property to maintaining the physical space, many responsibilities fall under the purview of an apartment property manager.

But, also clearly, expecting a single individual to excel at all of these tasks is unrealistic and can lead to burnout and frustration for both the manager and the tenants. We're seeing it all over the industry.

I often shake my head when we (Authentic, our agency) get replies to our email nurture campaigns from renter prospects wondering why the leasing team has yet to be back in touch.

The renter is so proactive that they are replying to campaigns and inquiring what the next steps are because the contact information given in an email yields a dead end.

On the one hand, it's frustrating for my team, but on the other, I understand why those emails can go unanswered.

A property manager needs to be a people person. They should have strong interpersonal skills and communicate effectively with tenants, contractors, and other stakeholders that crisscross a property (or a group of properties).

What that means is being able to diffuse tense situations, listen actively, and respond to feedback constructively.

But when I hear about property managers jumping in for design needs, building email marketing campaigns, and developing websites, I cringe.

While it's possible for a property manager to have an eye for design, it's unlikely that they will be able to match the expertise of a professional designer. And that's OK. It was never intended to be their job!

"Super-Managers"

After the call this week, it was set in stone for me that these "super-managers" are few and far between.

It's essential to recognize the value of specialization and collaboration by building a team of experts in property management, design, marketing, and sales.

Smaller teams can especially lean into strategic partners without burning out their own teams. And in the end, property owners can ensure that their properties are well-managed and that tenants are satisfied with their living experiences.

Until these lines in the sand are realized and adhered to, we'll continue to see burned-out teams, lackluster tactical brand experiences, and owners left wondering why things can feel like a mess.

What do you think? Have you experienced something like this first-hand or through a previous role?

I'm curious. Please drop me a note!

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