“Ownership must view operators as partners and ensure they have strong working relationships in place,” says Read, host of IREM’s “What Demanding Clients Want from Their Third-Party Property Managers” Accelerator Webinar

CHICAGO–Set your calendars to Dec. 13. That’s when Dustin Read, PhD/JD, assistant professor of Property Management and Real Estate at Virginia Tech, will be hosting “What Demanding Clients Want from Their Third-Party Property Managers,” part of the recently launched Accelerator Webinar series from Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM).

According to Read, the focus will be driven by the growing sophistication of real estate investors, who naturally “demand more sophisticated property managers. Collecting the rent, paying the bills, maintaining the asset and keeping the tenants happy simply isn’t enough anymore. The webinar is designed to encourage property managers to view these activities as the floor rather than the ceiling. Best-in-class property managers are dutifully executing all of these tasks, while also analyzing market conditions, engaging in various types of financial analysis and actively taking steps to convert data into actionable information that ownership can use to create value.”

The goal, he adds, is to help viewers build stronger working bonds with their clients, in effect to close the disconnect. “The most effective working relationships exist when both groups have a great appreciation for the challenges involved in day-to-day operations,” he says. This comes with “an understanding that market conditions often affect the financial performance of income-producing properties more than any other variable.”

There are benefits and challenges whether the property manager is internal or a hired gun, Read says. “However, the success of both models is predicated on open channels of communication, as well as clear expectations and a well-defined, property-level business plan guiding management decisions.”

Somewhat surprisingly, not all potential problems with a third-party property manager evaporate with a well-crafted contract. That’s undoubtedly important, Read says, but “it’s difficult to contractually mandate creativity or a willingness to explore new ideas. Since value-added property management often requires these very skills, ownership must view operators as partners and ensure they have strong working relationships in place that are built on mutual respect rather than solely contractual provisions.”

The Accelerator series is designed, says IREM, to help viewers better navigate the changing commercial real estate landscape. In full disclosure, this writer will also serve as host for “Trends in Property Management for 2019,” slated for December 18. (Click here for a complete roster of webinars.)