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Unlock Success With These Property Management Skills

In today's episode, we delve into four under-the-radar, yet essential skills every property management professional needs. With the help of new co-host, Charles Buggs, we explore the importance of adaptability, emotional intelligence, and data analytics in the multifamily industry. You'll gain insights into how these skills impact daily operations and long-term success in property management. Tune in to discover actionable strategies and personal anecdotes that will empower your career and enhance your professional toolkit.

Listen to the episode below, watch on YouTube, and subscribe to The Resident Experience Podcast for more episodes.

Key Skills Uncovered: Elevate Your Property Management Career

Introduction (0:00 - 0:03:35)
Discover what this episode will cover and why these property management skills are crucial for professionals in the multifamily industry.

Property Management Skill 1: Adaptability and Learning Agility (0:03:36 - 0:06:24)
Yolanda and Charles discuss the critical skill of adaptability in the property management industry. They share personal experiences and emphasize the importance of embracing new technologies and operational shifts. Learn how being adaptable has directly impacted their success and can do the same for you.

Property Management Skill 2: Emotional Intelligence (EQ) (0:06:25 - 0:09:37)
Explore the vital role of emotional intelligence in property management. Yolanda and Charles highlight how understanding and managing your own emotions, as well as those of residents and team members, can lead to better conflict resolution and overall job performance. They share funny and enlightening stories to illustrate their points.

Property Management Skill 3: Analytics and Data Interpretation (0:09:38 - 0:14:31)
This chapter is a must for anyone looking to enhance their decision-making process with data. Dive into the importance of data analytics in making informed decisions in property management. Charles shares how leveraging data has influenced his career and outlines practical tips for applying analytics to improve business outcomes. 

Property Management Skill 4: Self-Promotion and Advocacy (0:14:32 - 0:18:06)
Discover the under-the-radar skill of self-promotion and advocacy within the property management field. Yolanda and Charles discuss the importance of recognizing and sharing your accomplishments and innovative solutions. Learn how to effectively promote yourself and your ideas to benefit your career and your organization.

Conclusion (0:18:07 - 0:18:29)
Wrap up with key takeaways from the discussion on essential skills for property management professionals. Yolanda and Charles encourage listeners to apply these insights to their own careers for growth and success in the multifamily industry.

Send in Good News to Share on the Show

We want to hear your good news! Have a recent multifamily win? Maybe you have a personal growth story. Whatever the good word is, let us know and we'll highlight it in the good news of the week.

Send a Show Shoutout

Share with us your good news and we’ll highlight it on the next show. Good news can be anything - a successful initiative, a fantastic resident review, or even a shout out to a work colleague or friend. Heck, go ahead and promote yourself. Maybe you just earned your CPM or CAAM. Whatever it is, we’d love to hear it. There’s enough stress and anxiety in multifamily, so help us shine a brighter light on what’s going right.

Episode Transcript

Yolanda Muchnik:
Today we’re peeling back the curtain on some under the radar must have skills that every property management professional should develop. Personally, I think these skills are critical, no matter what industry or position you’re in. But in property management and multifamily, they’re certainly necessary.

I’m joined today by my co-host moving forward, Charles Buggs, who not only has a rich background in property management, but also experience on the vendor side, which helps him bring a unique perspective to today’s discussion. Charles, welcome to the show.

Charles Buggs:
Thank you so much for having me. I’m super excited to be here, as you said. Yeah, I’ve had the pleasure of working on site and as a vendor about 13 years. Not to age myself too much. I’ve been in the industry loving every minute of it, hating every minute sometimes. But I think, all in all, it’s a very fun industry that has a lot of growth potential, and there’s some great people in it.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Awesome. Super pumped to have you here with us. So let’s jump right in with the first critical skill of our discussion today, adaptability and learning agility. In a dynamic industry catering to residents and consumers, the ability to pivot operationally or embrace new technologies is vital. I know this has been true in my own marketing career, keeping track of trends on content consumption, for instance, or new features across several social media platforms.

Charles, can you share how this skill has also played out in your own experience?

Charles Buggs:
Oh, for sure. I think adaptability is one on one when it comes to being in property management at any level. A great example of this is a time where I was on site and just kind of going through the motions, and I think it was, I’m checking my voicemails coming into the day. It was a day I was actually helping at one of our senior communities, and this gentleman comes in and he has a question about.

We had fitness classes, we had instructor led fitness class, and he was asking about the instructor, and it had a lot of questions, which I think looking around the room as I was answering the questions. Other people were like, well, he’s kind of been here for a while, and he’s asking a lot of questions that aren’t particularly, I guess, important in the greater scheme of things. But in event, I sat there with him for about 35 minutes, helped him fill his coffee, and just kind of went through the day where he kind of come back and forth. And over a few days of working there, he kind of was like, oh, my friend Charles is here, and he will come in the office. And it’s one of those things where I think it’s often missed. It’s a lot of moving parts. Operationally, for sure, there’s going to be leaks, there’s going to be resident issues, but being able to kind of see people for people, and sometimes people just want to make a connection, I think is very important. And I think a lot of what you said about the whole marketing side of it, we’re talking a lot about Gen Z, millennials, and there’s always the same consistent thing that kind of beats where it’s really just meeting people where they are. So if they want to have that 30 minutes conversation while they get their coffee every morning, they look forward to that. If they never want to see you and pay their rent online, they look forward to that as well. So I think being adaptive to ’s needs is kind of fundamental in being successful.

Yolanda Muchnik:
A perfect example of why adaptability is a critical skill for us in property management. And of course, it’s important to note that improvements in adaptability, they’re usually incremental, right? Breaking projects up into smaller, more manageable parts always makes sense when it comes to adaptability. And the more you do this and achieve those small wins sequentially, eventually you’ll arrive at whatever that endpoint is you want to reach.

So skill number two, I’d say, is emotional intelligence, or Eq. EQ is about understanding or managing your emotions, just as importantly, effectively understanding the emotions and motivations of those around you. So obviously, for those dealing with residents on the front line, this is core to their job, but it is also beneficial in other aspects of our lives, too. So, Charles, I’m wondering, how has EQ played a role in your property management career?

Charles Buggs:
Great question and a super funny story, I think, to follow emotional. Just being able to gauge where someone’s at emotionally is not always easy, especially when we talk about property management. I always give the example of, if you see somebody screaming at a bank teller, or you see them screaming at someone at a grocery store that’s trying to help them. That person is ten times that when they’re at home and their water isn’t working. Right.

So being able to kind of put your own emotions aside, understand that the problem is not with you specifically, and still being able to work with someone through that frustration is key to being successful in this job. A funny example that happened back in my operation days was, anyone’s been to apartment complex knows that there’s covered parking and uncovered parking, right? Everyone can agree to this, right? So the uncovered parking is usually unassigned covered parking. Assigned.

At the end of the covered parking, there would be this one spot that would sit out and that was unassigned parking. Right. This wasn’t unique to this building or even this block of space in this building. It’s everywhere. But for some reason, a resident on both sides of this building felt entitled to that space that was unassigned to the point where there was police involved, almost came to blows. It got really dramatic because they just could not agree to say, whoever gets there first gets the space.

So in true property management style, handling the situation and not causing it to be worse, we simply painted the space red and made it a fire space. It sounds really silly, but there’s times in the business like that where it’s like, I can’t fix this, right? The best I can do is mediate it and make sure everyone either gets what they want or no one gets what they want. So let the other person have some peace. So conflict resolution, emotional intelligence are very key to being able to be successful.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Absolutely. What a funny example. I hope that worked out for you, but I’m curious. So EQ isn’t super tangible, right? Like, you don’t see too many classes out there trying to teach emotional intelligence. So what’s one strategy you’ve personally used and that listeners can use to improve EQ?

Charles Buggs:
Empathy. Empathy. Empathy. I never forgot at any moment that at some point in my life, I was a renter myself. Even when I worked on the side of the business where I was renting apartments to people. That is probably the most stressful, hard payment that people make in the most part of their budgets, right? Like, it’s 50% of their income for some people. So stress comes with that. And anytime you involve money, stress, family housing, which is like a fundamental need of people, right? Shelter, weird things come with it.

The reaction that you’re usually getting isn’t the reaction about something that you’ve done personally. It’s understanding that that person has other things going on in their life and being able to really segment yourself aside from the problem and look at it as putting yourself on the same side of the table with the resident and saying, hey, I want to help you with this. Right? I want to make your day easier. I want to make this one less thing you have to worry about. All that stuff matters from a minor leaked all the way up into something looking like eviction. Right? Like being able to empathize and understand that that human is a human that’s just simply going through something and may just need some compassion and some understanding to be able to see the forest for the.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Ya know. As you were explaining that just now, I just thought about Lori Snyder. She’s a multifamily thought leader who I follow, and she has excellent advice around EQ. And we had her on the podcast about a year or so ago, and she’s ahead of learning and team experience at Red Peak. Give her a follow on LinkedIn. And I know she recently hosted a webinar on conflict resolution through multifamily insiders. So listeners definitely go check her out to help up level those EQ skills.

Charles Buggs:
Yeah. Shout out, Lori.

Yolanda Muchnik:
All right. And our final must have skill for property management, at least for this conversation, is analytics and interpretation. I see you nodding. Thank you. In today’s data driven world, deciphering what numbers tell you is critical to make better and more informed decisions. So, Charles, can you share with us how data and analytics has impacted your decisions in the property management industry?

Charles Buggs:
Absolutely. Data is probably the most vital thing when it comes to decision making in the property management business. I don’t care if you’re looking at your marketing spend, your guest card allocation, your lead to lease ratio, your digital payments adoption. Right. All these things should dictate what you do. A big part of what I would do as an operator is I constantly hawked over my availability and my occupancy, and I think that’s because my boss hawked over it. But at the end of the day, that was a good rule of thumb to say, hey, I can look at this quickly, eyeball it up or down, and know if this is a good thing. And so I guess my biggest advice would be this.

If you can’t consume all of it, it’s a lot. You have your noise, and I can go on on acronyms for probably 35 minutes, and we won’t get anything done except getting acronyms out. But fundamentally, I think the most important thing is to kind of pick out three, maybe five really key things that really drive your business and your property forward and look at them daily. Set up ways to monitor them and also ways to change and affect them in a positive way. Set up ways and calls with your vendors.

Not too to my own horn here, but people like us want to help you use our products successfully. So being able to leverage the contacts you have, being able to leverage the technology you have to its full potential, and also knowing what to do with that and analyzing that data to make informed, good decisions. An example of a product we have mobile dormant, really helps in a way where I think it’s kind of niche, but it’s missed a lot.

Having RSVPs to a resident event may not seem like a big deal, but the next time you’re going to have that resident event, to know if it was successful, to know if people liked it, aside from just asking them as they come in the office or sending out a mass survey after knowing how many people looked at that thing ahead of time and said, I want to make time on my schedule to be there, right? Is a powerful thing to know if that thing works, to do it again. We used to do simple things like handing out breakfast. We would go to Chick-fil-A, get a bunch of breakfast, hand it out to people as they were driving to work.

Small, extremely cheap, I won’t say extremely cheap, but relatively cheap to other things we did. But it was super effective and people really enjoyed just pulling out. Can you imagine pulling out of your driveway and there’s a person there with a fresh chick fil a breakfast for you and an orange juice, just handing it to your window like, hey, have a good day. I don’t want nothing from you, just want to give you something, send you onto a good day.

So we can’t do that and know that it’s going to work if we aren’t measuring its success. So that will be my mantra. Pick a few things out that make sense to your business, monitor them daily and make plans to affect changing them positively.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Those are great examples. And I’m just curious, do you have any tips on how someone who’s eager to improve those data analytics capabilities, where should they start? How do they do it?

Charles Buggs:
Again with my horn tooting, talk to your vendor. Talk to us. Because ultimately, if you are trying to start from square zero and get to square ten, we’re already looked at it from square one, two, three and all the way through. And sometimes the nuance of your business may make you feel like this is a barrier, like I can’t use that part of it, but maybe that’s not true, right? We want you to use everything.

Every bit of juice you can get out of that squeeze. When you’re paying for it, we want you to have it. So I would say, step one, talk to your vendors. Figure out how to set up KPIs in reference to the vendor you’re speaking to and measure to them.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Excellent. Thanks so much for sharing. All right, we’ve covered our three under the radar skills for every property management professional, but I want to throw in one bonus. One. And before I do, before I do, I want to introduce to our listeners a new segment we’re starting at the end of each episode moving forward called the good news. Go to our show bio on any platform or at the top of our podcast page on our website and you’ll see a link to contact us here at the show.

Click on that link and share your good news with us, and we’ll highlight it on the following show good news can be anything. A successful initiative, a fantastic resident review, or even a shout out to a work colleague or a friend. You can even promote yourself.

There’s enough stress and anxiety in multifamily, so help us shine a brighter light on what’s going right. And this is the perfect lead in to the bonus under the radar skill want to talk about and that is promoting or advocating for yourself.

Maybe it’s the marketer in me, but I think this is a skill any professional should have, and we often overlook it. It’s incredibly important to any career. So, Charles, do you have any thoughts on this under the radar skill and how it pertains to your career in property management?

Charles Buggs:
It sounds like you tell me to brag about myself, which is something I’m good at. No, but seriously, I think it’s a huge deal, right? If you accomplish something super unique that you thought outside the box to accomplish, take that information and figure out an avenue to share with people. I think one of the things that’s missed often is that people want to feel like they are the only one experiencing something, right? Like I’m the only one having this problem and I found this solution and I don’t want to tell anyone. I’m working around it this way. Property management is the epitome of workaround. Every single day, something comes up that’s not supposed to happen and you have to figure out how to get around that obstacle, right?

All those outliers, all those things that happen in a given day are things that can help your team. One thing, back to my vendor speech, get off the soapbox here in a second. But one thing I try to do with all my clients is if I talk to a site manager that’s done something really cool and unique with the product, that made a very big impact. The first thing I wanted to do is tell your boss about it, because I want your boss to make all your peers do the same thing.
Not just promoting yourself for your own obvious reasons, but also because you can really change the game for your entire organization with an out of the box idea.

Everyone talks about the post it notes right from the office, how the post it note came to be. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I think it’s pretty cool to think that that big of a change can come from somebody just sitting at their desktop outside the box. And you do it every single day. And I think it’s important for you to talk about that in any opportunity you can.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Thanks so much for sharing. I entirely agree with you. And this is the perfect note for us to end on today. To our listeners, we hope you found these insights into the must have skills for property management professionals. Informative and inspiring.

Charles Buggs:
Informative. Inspiring is how we like to leave it. This has been. Thank you for having me.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Great to have you on.