Picture this – you drive up a manicured driveway and greeted by a doorman as you enter a pristine lobby. You squeeze in a quick work out in the gym before finding a quiet nook in the lounge to catch up on work emails. But this isn’t a five-star hotel, this is your home in a well-managed condominium development.
Such is the experience that Shang Properties Management Services Inc. (SPMSI), the property management arm of Shang Properties Inc., strives to deliver every day to the residents and tenants of its six developments in the Philippines, as JJ Montinola, head for property management at SPMSI explains.
“Being part of a global organization, our international expertise and affiliations enable us to deliver a service that goes beyond local expectations. Well-executed property management means that you hardly notice the team at work, but you feel a clear sense of security and being taken care of,” says Montinola. Such is the work of a finely tuned property management team – working behind the scenes every day to ensure the safety and upkeep of a particular property and in turn creating the best quality of living for any resident or occupant of that space.
In the past, property management was an often-overlooked aspect of real estate. “The mindset of developers was basically, ‘build then sell.’ What happens to the building after is the buyer’s lookout,” says Montinola. But in the last few decades, developers have realized the importance of establishing a professional property management team, not just to spare them from the wrath of their buyers, but also to cement their reputation as quality developers.
But with so much going on in any given development, what are the indicators of good property management?
According to Montinola, property managers are “fortunate” in the sense that residents will never shy away from speaking their mind, so regular positive feedbacks from residents and tenants are a great indicator of success. The second is the state of the property itself – not just upkeep but the feeling of being inside.
“Simply visiting a property and taking note of how you feel – ‘do I feel safe and secure, welcome?’ – will tell you if a property is well-managed or not,” says Montinola.
The last is resource management. At the end of the day, property management is funded by the association dues of residents. A property management company that will manage the financial component is key for both short and long-term planning.
Property investors, not just tenants, should consider the quality of property management when making purchasing decisions. It’s no secret that well-maintained properties with great customer service and a high quality of living command a higher price. Quantifying this premium is challenging as valuations are a function of many factors, but from Montinola’s experience, “having a professional and dynamic property management team managing any project type can enhance the value of the property.”
Like any industry, property management is continuously evolving to better serve its customers. For premium property managers like SPMSI, the push is to use technology to bring a richer set of information and tools to the fingertips of both administrators and residents.
“Technology systems will serve to provide accurate and timely information to save all stakeholders’ time and effort,” says Montinola. But ultimately, he adds, property management is and will remain a people-focused endeavor.
The importance of people was all the more evident during the onset of the COVID pandemic the last 16 months.
“This pandemic only made us realize the importance of protecting our colleagues during this critical time,” Montinola recalls. He says that property management companies need to realize that caring for their staff is paramount “because without a well trained and equipped team manning a property, you will definitely see the resident’s quality of life deteriorate when faced with challenges.”
What does the future hold for SPMSI? The company has several residential and mixed-use developments in strategic locations in various stages of development. More than ever, Montinola is focused on building the right team to support this growth and maintain the level of service that their discerning residents have come to expect.
“Property management as a service will only go so far as the quality of your people. I’d like to think that others share my vision that people management is the way forward for property management as an industry to succeed and to be fulfilled.”