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Where have all the property managers gone?

By Cristel Stenhouse
21 March 2017 | 10 minute read
binoculars looking to future

BDM Christel Stenhouse wonders if the stressful life of a property manager is resulting in a substantial drop in people applying for PM roles, and how this trend can be reversed. 

I have a job for you!.

You can become a property manager today.

This role can be incredibly rewarding for the right person. The role includes but is not limited to:

  • Dealing with other people’s problems all day. And you must find a way to solve them on your feet;
  • Utilising outdated systems that are put in place to support you;
  • You need to be prepared to be on call 24/7, including during holidays such Christmas;
  • You will need the ability to deal with disgruntled clients, usually on a daily basis:
  • You will have your own desk in the corner of the office, but no one wants to know about the challenges of your day;
  • You need to wear many hats, because the clientele you will be dealing with will come from all walks of life;
  • You must be willing to be placed in situations that are uncomfortable; and
  • You may come into contact with drug users and acts of domestic violence.

There will be training if you are lucky, but it will probably be sporadic and basic.

Unfortunately, being granted holidays will be difficult as the job entails someone to be around all the time.

The salary will be similar to what a good administrator receives and has not changed in the last 10 years or so.

Sounds negative, doesn’t it? And that was not even my intention but it is the reality PMs face. And everyone questions why so many property managers are leaving the industry.

The average lifespan of a property manager is three years.

This needs to change, and fast, because the industry is suffering a large shortage of property managers, and it will continue to decline until property management is taken seriously, and systems are put in place to support and guide newcomers through the job.

Those who have been around a long time do it for the love of the job, not the hours or the pay.

I ask all business owners to ask themselves – would they do it?

How do we fix it?

  • Show your property managers appreciation. A little bit of appreciation goes a long way;
  • Give bonus structures and annual pay reviews;
  • Give them a mentor they can solve problems with, if you don’t want to be actively involved;
  • Have relevant and up-to-date policies, procedures and systems;
  • Hire a temp so they can have a holiday;
  • Utilise up-to-date technology that makes their lives easier;
  • Stop treating the PM department as a small, unimportant part of the business; and
  • Put systems in place to stop their phone ringing 24/7.

A few simple changes will create greater staff retention in your office and greater property management retention for the entire industry.



Cristel Stenhouse

Cristel Stenhouse

Throughout her 13 years in real estate, Cristel has demonstrated sheer drive and determination to get the best results.

As a fully licensed estate agent, Cristel has proven herself to be an expert across all facets of property management, working as a property manager, department manager as well as vast experience in trust accounting and leasing.

As business development manager within her property management team, Cristel displays leadership, commitment and a strong work ethic every day which assists her in helping owners meet their expectations.

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