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  • Feb 03, 2022
  • John Salustri

The true face, and future, of property management

Does property management get the respect it deserves? Professionals who trained long and hard to maintain optimal building efficiencies and value, while upholding the highest ethical standards, can sometimes be depicted as little more than rent collectors.

This identity crisis is compounded by the fact that relatively few people outside the industry even know the profession exists. If you doubt that, just ask some of IREM’s Next Gen CPM leaders if, in their college years, they’d ever thought about becoming a property manager.

IREM is proactively changing those perceptions with messaging that is clear, concise, and forward looking. Here are two examples of how that messaging is taking shape:

Quote #1: “Our vision is that real estate management professionals be recognized as essential for the success of all our communities, for the people who live, work, and play in these properties, and the investors who own real estate assets.”

Quote #2: “Property management is a profession where you have to divide your brain into different sections, but at the end of the day, it’s all about relationships.”

The first quote comes from 2022 IREM President Barry Blanton, CPM® in a recent interview for the Journal of Property Management. Notice his use of the word “recognized,” driving home the point that insiders all know the truth. The challenge is to spread it. (Barry goes into deeper detail on this subject in his inaugural blog for Wealth Management Real Estate.)

The second quote comes from Anita DiPietro, CPM®, featured in our “Building the Future” blog series. Her quote is important for two reasons. First, and most obviously, it’s her emphasis on relationships, and the concern and advocacy that go along with it. Second is the blog series itself, which despite an increasingly aging property management population, makes it clear that the profession holds much interest for future industry leaders.

Through initiatives that include Next Gen CPM Leaders, 30 Under 30 and IREM Student Leaders, IREM is actively spreading the truth Blanton refers to. This is especially true of the Student & Academic Outreach Advisory Board, which in a sense, is taking the messaging to the streets, spreading the net of property management to those searching for a career path and may not have any idea that this compelling career choice even exists. And, it’s increasingly clear that a growing number of IREM chapters around the country (if not the world) are supporting that messaging and engaging their local educational institutions with programs to introduce students to the field.

AppFolio’s Stacey Holden, in a recent blog, noted the need for a more open door to hiring for the future: “Innovative companies are using new methods, and are promoting their businesses in clever ways to attract new hires,” she writes.

Included in those innovations are approaches beyond the traditional post-and-pray hiring methods. She recommends partnering with diversity-focused organizations as well as technical schools and universities, “making sure they have a point of contact at each to keep them up-to-date with available career opportunities.”

The message embedded in partnerships of this sort is one of challenge, reward, and vibrancy. As Barry points out in WMRE, all three of those aspects became clear during the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic. IREM members met those challenges with a laser focus on the needs of their tenants and residents. They rose to address those needs with an unprecedented level of technology. And they forged greater relationships with all their constituents to merge often conflicting goals into successful pandemic work-throughs.

Property management is much more than collecting rents and maintaining elevators. In his JPM interview, Barry said it best: “The bottom line is to make sure that we get the word out that this is a vital and rewarding profession to be in. The dynamic nature of the industry is the message that we are bringing to the world.”

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