Types of Property Managers

Types of Property Management Services

There are several different types of property managers. Here’s a breakdown of what each type of property manager does. Each type of property manager is reflecting varying degrees of knowledge possessed at different management levels.

Granted, the amount of authority also changes with the management level, but this is usually just a further reflection of a particular manager’s skill and experience.

Site Manager

The front-line operator of the property is called the site manager or, to use a more contemporary title, the community manager. The responsibilities of this position include day-to-day dealings with residents, marketing and resident selection, rent collections, staff coordination and supervision, maintenance performance, and budget control.

This manager position has pivotal control over the daily operation and potential of a property. The manager on site is often the employee of the particular property but can also be on the managing agent’s staff. Compensation for this position is usually a base salary determined by the property’s size, complexity, and local market pay levels.

Additional benefits might include an apartment and, in some cases, commissions and/or bonuses. The term “site manager” is often interpreted as a person who lives on the site. Of course, this can be true, but it is not necessarily so.

The manager’s place of residence has nothing to do with the responsibilities of this position. A type of site management now quickly becoming extinct is the management team called “ma and pa,” originally popular in furnished apartment buildings and which still exists on some smaller properties.

Typically in this arrangement, one spouse would perform the renting and bookkeeping duties, while the other would handle simple maintenance tasks, minor disturbances, and possibly a rent collection or two. Compensation would take the form of individual salaries and free housing.

The Property Manager read questions to ask a Philadelphia property manager

is the operating officer or administrator of a single property or a group of properties. A property manager is responsible for fiscal planning, setting rents, establishing marketing and maintenance procedures, supervising site managers, and reporting to and maintaining liaison with owners and superiors.

Property managers may be in the employ of the ownership entity, one of its subsidiaries, or a staff member of the managing agent. They are typically compensated with a salary and, possibly, incentive bonuses.

Executive Property Manager

An executive property manager is a supervisor who oversees and directs other property managers who are in the field handling the operational affairs of various properties. The executive’s primary concern is with running a business that manages properties rather than with the direct management of those properties. Knowledge for this position is usually acquired from long and broad experience in the actual management of investment real estate.

This knowledge is used to establish long-range policies and fiscal plans and to guide the company’s property managers in resolving difficult situations. The executive property manager is frequently an officer of the company and, in fact, might be an owner. This position is typically compensated by a regular salary although additional incentive bonuses are common.

Asset Manager

Asset managers provide finely tuned skills in the planning, analysis, and financial tracking of investment real estate. These managers are often charged with the long-range planning and preparation of business plans for rather substantial investment portfolios.

It is common to combine the use of an asset manager with a full complement of management personnel. For example, a 200-unit apartment community might have a site manager who works for a supervising property manager who, in turn, reports to an executive property manager.

If the property is owned by an institution, there might be an asset manager who is coordinating that 200-unit property with the other properties in his or her portfolio. Responsibilities of the asset manager may include capital improvements, cash management, market analysis, rent structuring, and budget tracking, plus short- and long-range goal attainment; sometimes they are consulted regarding acquisitions, financing and refinancing, and dispositions.

Asset managers employed by corporations and institutional investors are typically compensated with a salary. Asset managers often deal with rental properties that are located in widespread geographic areas with many divergent customs, laws, and market influences. Local property personnel can sometimes become frustrated when supervising asset managers try to streamline their procedures into textbook guidelines while ignoring local market nuances.

While asset managers excel at projections and budgeting, there is no substitute for a thorough understanding of the property, its marketplace, and its limitations. This knowledge comes with years of hands-on, local experience.

Therefore, the best bottom-line results are achieved through a collaboration of the analysts’ skills and the property manager’s day-to-day experiences and involvement.


Joe White

Joe White is a Philadelphia Property Manager and Real Estate Broker. He is the owner of Grow Property Management and has been involved in the management, sales and purchases of Philadelphia area rental investment properties since 2008. He is an author and works as a real estate investment consultant and construction manager.

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