The Property Manager’s Job Description (Scope of Services)
We have job descriptions for everyone in our office, but not one for ourselves, as it relates to what we do for the owner. This is a visual way of describing to owners exactly what they retain control of, what the manager takes over, and what you’ll work on together. We developed it in the mid 90’s and gave it to all owners, once a year, to remind them what we do for our fee we charge and what they retain control of. As always, it’s not locked down. You get to tweak it to match your model and create your job description as you want it to be. This document evolves over time as your model changes. It reduces the tension between you and the owner and answers questions before they are asked.
Scope of Service
Most owners don’t know what property managers do for the fees they charge resulting in tension between owners and managers over unrealistic expectations.
To make this worse, some managers think they are supposed to manage the owner’s utilities, HOA issues, home warranties, insurance issues, tax reporting, property tax issues, property line disputes and basically everything that remotely affects the property. If owners have managers in other parts of the country/world they may come to you expecting you to manage all these things for the monthly fee you quoted them. If you don’t set these expectations and put bookends on the services you offer for the fees you charge, they will bully you into doing things you don’t know how to do, have no experience doing, don’t have the authority to do and are not getting paid for in order to keep your owner happy.
Over the years, managing for about 3,000 owners, we’ve fought these battles and, out of necessity, developed several strategies to push back (put bookends on our services), set expectations and let the owner know what we do for the fees we charge and what will cost more if they want additional services.
Just to be clear, you can choose to do anything the owner asks you to do and you don’t have to charge for it. You just don’t want the owner to EXPECT IT for the monthly fee you’re receiving.