A day in the life of a real estate property manager

Property managers encounter a host of issues from dawn to dusk.

Working mostly behind the scenes in every type of building from single-family houses to apartments to industrial warehouse space, property managers keep these properties running for their clients and tenants.

Recently, five members of the Alabama Chapter of the Institute for Real Estate Management spoke to a class of real estate students at the University of Alabama.

The five-person panel, moderated by Peter Drake of The Drake Group, included Marc Seals, CPM, property manager at Atlanta’s Prologis, Tommy Joyce, partner at Red Rock Realty Group in Birmingham, Molly Shuster, commercial property manager at Davis Management, Robby Waldrop, CAM, ARM and vice president at IMS Management and Kevin Perkins, vice president, commercial management at Engel Realty in Birmingham.

Some of the panelists offered a glimpse into a day in the life of a property manager.

Marc Seals – My company actually believes you cannot manage your properties from your desk, so I spend a lot of time working from home or operating from my properties. I manage around 16 buildings and a little under 3 million square feet in Atlanta. I spend my time pretty much operating from my vehicle or a customer’s suite…I make sure that the landscaping looks good, the lights are working on the outside and that there is security.

Tommy Joyce – Property management is the foundation of commercial real estate. Understanding what goes into managing the asset from collecting the rent, paying the bills to your NOI (Net Operating Income). It’s all the basis of what commercial real estate is all about.

Molly Shuster – It changes every day. A lot of stuff comes up in property management. Every tenant has a different problem…I answer a lot of emails and those emails pretty much guide what I am going to do. I try to do a lot of networking opportunities, especially being so fresh on the scene. I find that to be extremely valuable.

Kevin Perkins – The main reason you are hired in property management is to turn your asset into an income-producing property for your clients. You work for your clients at the end of the day…When you start working for your client rather than your customers or tenants, it changes the nature of the job dramatically, because next to their children, this may be the most important asset of their life. It’s what they depend on to run their family, and you have to take that seriously every single day…The best part of my day is figuring out a problem, under budget that no one else could figure out. I love doing that. If I get something that is an usual call for me that I’ve never heard of, it’s almost exciting.

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