Top apartment manager skills needed to get the job.

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Host

What are the top 3 traits or skills every apartment manager must have to excel?

Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your apartment manager expertise?

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canezbarbara in Fresno, California

80 months ago

Host said: What are the top 3 traits or skills every apartment manager must have to excel?

Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your apartment manager expertise?

people skill communication
public relations intent (basic law rights

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Kate in Moreno Valley, California

73 months ago

Host said: What are the top 3 traits or skills every apartment manager must have to excel?

Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your apartment manager expertise?

All apartment managers need exceptional people and problem solving skills. Extensive knowledge of the state and federal laws of rental housing. Ability to prioritize. Everything else can be learned easily.

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pj in Aledo, Illinois

62 months ago

Lorie in Columbia, Missouri said: Well...here's my list:

1. You have to be just a little bit psychic. You are supposed to know all, do all, be all, & manage to do it without being asked.
2. It helps to be well versed in issues of mental health since you will spend most of your days administering counseling & advise & since most of your residents will be at least slightly "off their rocker". (I actually had one guy that we caught up on the roof of our 4 story building "chasing ghosts")

3. A degree in early childhood development would be tremendously helpful if your going to run a complex large enough to have a staff. Enough said.

4. You'll need to either be incredibly patient or else have easy access to thorozine. You'll understand why the first time you spend a day showing the same person the same apartment for the 3rd or 4th time, then spend the better part of an hour telling one of your elderly residents all about how you became a property manager & how well you like your complex b/c she can't remember that you've been working there for 3 years & that she talks to you almost weekly.

5. I also suggest some pre-emptive anger management. This will come in handy the first time you watch one of your residents sit out in the parking lot & rebuild his car engine & then call the emergency maintenance line to have some one change a light bulb for him.

Well, I think you get the idea.

That is too funny. You dont know anyone in Pittsburg Kansas looking for a job do you?

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T in Modesto, California

62 months ago

Haha, Touche' So informative and So right on the money!

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spolley in sarasota, Florida

56 months ago

This is funny. However, on a serious note, it has been said that the most difficult part of any job is "managing people". Something Property staffers know all too well. This refers to both managing staff and residents. This is truely the most difficult part of the job. Therefore, the other traits that were previously posted, fall under this category. Such as; anger management, customer service, people skills and of course tenant landord laws.

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Charlie Wade in Bay Area, California

52 months ago

Probably not. Nowadays, landlords have their pick of experienced managers all looking for new positions (because the economy has tanked so much). Really, I wouldn't suggest anyone without experience waste their time getting training on their own in hopes of landing a job right now (if ever).

A lot of landing a first job as an apt manager is simply luck and having the skills a landlord who is looking for one wants right then. My first job, because I had experience doing carpentry and light electrical work and I had my own pick up truck, that sold him. He didn't care that I didn't know tenant law (bless his heart), he figured I would just call him when needed until I knew enough about it. Nowadays, that wouldn't work because there are just so many people who have experience looking for work.

Once you get experience, it gets a LOT easier finding new positions because few landlords want to train people on-the-job and you have a track record of performance (hopefully). But it is a very difficult field to break into without a lot of luck.

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Charlie Wade in Bay Area, California

52 months ago

My top skills necessary for an apt manager:

1. Knowing the law. You MUST know tenant/landlord law very very well, and know when to ask for help in applying it when you don't know. Can't fake this, otherwise you will cost your landlord a lot of money.

2. Being organized. You have to stay on top of lease expirations, when rent is due, juggling maintenance requests and scheduling vendors/people to attend to them, make timely replies to phone calls and emails, make sure ads are up-to-date and complete.... To do your job and save your sanity, you have to be uber organized and stay on top of things in a big way.

3. People skills. You have to know how to deal effectively with a whole spectrum of different kinds of people: difficult people, manipulative people, angry people, nice people, low-maintenance people, high-maintenance people.... Need to know this not only to do your job, but also to keep your sanity. You have to know how to deal with people but not to internalize their replies. Remember: it isn't personal (for them or you), you're just there to do your job.

I might also add that when you're an apt manager, you don't have friends among the tenants. By definition, you can't truly be friends anyway since you have power over them. You must be friendly with your tenants but you cannot look at them as true friends. Your LL doesn't care about your friendships, you have to do your job. Eventually, your job is going to be telling your tenants 'no'. If you try to be true friends with them, that isn't going to work.

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T in Modesto, California

52 months ago

You advice is great, and I concur with all of it. My management company and atty lack a tad in keeping up with me and the issues that I have with this one tenant tho. I'm swamped with paperwork from her as she faxes, mails and puts it in my inbox on my office door. I've watched her mentally digress, and she really needs to be in a different type of environment. She is more time consuming for me than all my other tenants put together. She hasnt paid rent this month due to the fact that she got told "no" for a screen door on her unit. She left me a note that she will be in the hospital for the next 4 days and will need 8 weeks for recovery. She knows rent is due on the first.. but I'm pretty sure she will use this medical thing to get out of it for now. I have a full box of her correspondence to me, I couldnt fit it in her file anymore. I have to admit that I do get frustrated, however I don't let her see that. Aye yi yi!

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Charlie Wade in Bay Area, California

52 months ago

Stay within your job and the law. If her unit is 'habitable', she has to pay rent. If she is late with rent, she should be immediately issued a 3 day notice. If she ignores that, then punt it to the attorney and have him file an unlawful detainer suit in court. At that point, it's the attorney's baby. Any other correspondance that doesn't include a full rent check gets send onto the attorney.

If the attorney or landlord decides not to pursue a suit or doesn't do it in a timely manner, so what? It's out of your control. Just note all correspondance from her and forward it onto the attorney.

Good luck.

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Nancy in Foley, Alabama

51 months ago

Lori, in columbia, Missouri....my hat is off to you. That is the funniest thing I have read in a long time but oh so TRUE!!!! I am a site manager and I can concur and actually add to the list. Hillarious!

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Dan in Hackensack, New Jersey

47 months ago

Lorie in Columbia, Missouri said: Well...here's my list:

1. You have to be just a little bit psychic. You are supposed to know all, do all, be all, & manage to do it without being asked.
2. It helps to be well versed in issues of mental health since you will spend most of your days administering counseling & advise & since most of your residents will be at least slightly "off their rocker". (I actually had one guy that we caught up on the roof of our 4 story building "chasing ghosts")

3. A degree in early childhood development would be tremendously helpful if your going to run a complex large enough to have a staff. Enough said.

4. You'll need to either be incredibly patient or else have easy access to thorozine. You'll understand why the first time you spend a day showing the same person the same apartment for the 3rd or 4th time, then spend the better part of an hour telling one of your elderly residents all about how you became a property manager & how well you like your complex b/c she can't remember that you've been working there for 3 years & that she talks to you almost weekly.

5. I also suggest some pre-emptive anger management. This will come in handy the first time you watch one of your residents sit out in the parking lot & rebuild his car engine & then call the emergency maintenance line to have some one change a light bulb for him.

Well, I think you get the idea.

So True Don't forget you need to be able to please your tenant but at the same time keep your employees happy. i.e. not spend money. Definately need lots and lots of patience.

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abela in Anaheim, California

28 months ago

im in my early 20's and have rented for a few years now.
in one specific complex, the on site managers were such a nightmare.
they pressured my husband and i to move into a unit that was not move in ready.
it was not painted. the ac was not installed (mid summer in cali)
the tub stuffed up with the previous tenant's hair, for the first week we had to drive 7 miles to my mothers house in order to shower. we would call numerous times a day and never got a call back. finally in the end of the first month living there our issues with the unit were fixed. by that time we were already done with the place so we moved.
they were inexperienced, unorganized, and worst of all they simply did not care.
my horrible situation triggered my sudden interest and want in becoming a property manager. im finding these post to be helpful and also very interesting to read how it is on the other side of the fence.

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Charlie Wade in Bay Area, California

28 months ago

Well... let's talk about the other side of the fence: you are not blameless in what happen to you. You can't be taken advantage of unless you let it.

You're an adult; you have free will and the ability to say 'no' So why did you agree to move into such a dump? Yes, those apt managers might have been 'inexperienced, unorganized, and... not care'. But *you* let them take advantage of you. If they were such dupes and incompetent, what does that make *you* since you were taken advantage of by such incompetent people?

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