Property Management Assistant's a Dying Breed?
With all the focus in real estate on the sales agents and property managers (PM’s), it’s easy to forget about essential back end staff such as the property management assistant.
In the past year or so, we’ve observed an emerging trend, showing a decrease in property management assistants (PMAs) in the mix of a typical residential agency. Our specialist real estate recruitment consultant Mary-Jane Massicci says the number of PMA’s being recruited has dropped dramatically over the past 18-24 months.
In the past, we’ve observed residential rental portfolio’s of 150-200 properties typically being managed by a single property manager with the help of a PMA. However, we’re now seeing more real estate agencies put on two property managers, one senior and one junior, to manage a portfolio of the same size, without the help of a PMA. In a sense the role of the PMA is sometimes replaced by a junior property manager.
We spoke with Deanne Goodwin, Department Manager of Property Management at Gary J Smith Real Estate, for her thoughts on the topic. She offered a number of reasons that could possibly be contributing to the trend.
Deanne agreed that this ‘restructure’ of the typical residential property management department is indicative of agency business owners wanting to promote junior staff up the ranks, provide career development opportunities, reduce their overheads and also deliver better customer service for their clients. ‘Clients prefer to speak directly with their property managers, rather than an assistant’ says Deanne.
Deanne suggested another contributing factor could be the rise of virtual assistant’s in the real estate industry, providing an alternative to in-house administrative staff. Whilst they don’t often deal directly with clients, they can provide administrative services in the background, offering convenience and reduced costs to agency owners.
So it’s clear the role of the residential PMA is changing in line with industry trends. Whilst many property management departments still use PMA’s in their businesses, it’s clear they are embracing new technologies and moving with the times.