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Staffing your Subsidized or Conventional Community

Finding the right person for the right job is a job in it of itself. It’s not always easy to fire someone and it’s not easy finding a replacement. When hiring a person to manage a subsidized or conventional property you are looking for someone with some industry knowledge and all their personality.  Industry knowledge can always be taught.  The smartest affordable housing and conventional housing communities hire on future success and personality when determining the best candidate.

Property managers/Leasing Agents work in apartment complexes and rental agencies. Agents handle rentals and leases for affordable housing and conventional properties. They are responsible for finding tenants based on the owner’s , state and federal requirements. Property management companies have different requirements for leasing agents, and state licensing requirements vary, but there are general requirements that prospective candidates should be.

Pro-Active Confident Passionate
Intelligent Successful Education
Ambitious Honest Experience
Autonomy Detail Oriented Certification
Display Leadership Modest Licensing
Cultural Fit Hard working Personal Qualities and Skills
Upbeat Marketable Loyalty

All ideal staff should share some common traits and skills.  These include, but are not limited to individuals who can be described as or possess the following:

      1. Pro-Active – Hire staff who take initiative and take chances.  Those who take chances may lead to failure, but they will more often lead to success and mold confidence while generating new ideas.  Action-oriented employees will make or save you money.
      2. Intelligent – Intelligence is not the only thing, but it’s a strong foundation for success.  While there are many variables when hiring, intelligence is a must or you’re going to be spending an abundance of time training them and perhaps re-training them in the near future.
      3. Ambitious – Are they “Go-getters”? Employees can only help your company if they want to help themselves have a better career.  We always encourage people to perpetually re-invent themselves so when it comes time for their review, they will stand out.
      4. Autonomy – After I train them do I have to still walk them through every process? Can they stand on their own two feet when I leave? Once they have been trained our new employee should be able to get the job done without extensive hand-holding.  As the owner of the company, you have your own tasks to take care of and, when you delegate activities to the individual whom you’re hiring, you want execution.
      5. Display Leadership – Do you see this individual being able to lead others in a respectful way (not a power hungry way)? Some people have the leadership gene and some of us do not. Do they know not to chastise a subordinate in front of others or do they do it privately and calmly?
      6. Cultural Fit – Will this new employee play well with others? Are you going to enjoy working with this individual and will your other employees enjoy working with this individual?  Personality can mean the difference between an employee who doesn’t stay long and fails to produce vs. an all-star who is going to significantly increase your competitive advantage.
      7. Upbeat – Positive Mental Attitude is something we have all heard. Employees who come into work fresh and energetic everyday are going to out-produce workers who think negatively and easily burn-out when they encounter defeat.    Upbeat and optimistic employees create a working environment that is enjoyable for the other people involved.
      8. Confident – Confidence produces results and encourages employees to take on challenges that others shy away from.  The best companies are highly confident in their abilities to provide a superior product or service and this belief spawns a culture of improvement and client confidence.
      9. Successful – One of the most effective ways to predict future success in a candidate is their past success at other firms.  Have they remained at companies for a prolonged period?  Have they met company goals?  What achievements have these individuals accomplished?  If one looks closely, a lot can be deciphered from a resume.
      10. Honest – An employee can have all the talent in the world, but without integrity and authenticity, nothing great will be accomplished.  If nothing else, you want honest, forthright employees at your organization, otherwise your company will turn off clients and, ultimately won’t survive.
      11. Detail Oriented – Attention to detail is crucial or mistakes will be made within your company.  Detail-oriented employees take pride in their work.  They dot the “i’s”, cross the “t’s” and get the job done.
      12. Modest – The most sought after employees shout their value not through their words, but rather through their work.  They are humble, don’t need to pump themselves up in front of others and quietly out produce those who do.
      13. Hard working – Nothing great is accomplished easily.  Nothing great is accomplished via hiring 9 – 5 employees.  Rather, the foundation of an effective organization lies in its ability to recruit results oriented, hard working employees who execute.
      14. Marketable – By marketable, I mean presentable to clients.  Business is not a fashion contest nor do looks dictate success, however most successful applicants are well put together and, when dealing with clients are going to represent your organization as professional and organized.
      15. Passionate – Employees who are passionate about their job never work a day in their life.  While money should be a motivator in all individuals whom you hire, make sure that they enjoy the journey when pursuing that end-goal.
      16. Education – Some rental agencies and owners may require or prefer applicants to have at least a bachelor’s degree – especially for those working in off-site locations handling contracts and finances. This depends on the state and company. A bachelor’s or master’s degree in finance, real estate or business administration is acceptable. Without previous work experience or training, a degree is typically required.
      17. Experience – Work experience in sales, management or real estate is preferred for leasing agents, but not always required. Since leasing agents show properties to prospective tenants, being a natural salesperson might help fill vacancies. Depending on the state and/or company, applicants with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration, finance, accounting or real estate management may not need previous work experience.
      18. Certification – Professional certification exhibits professionalism and competence for leasing agents. Some employers may require formal training and certification upon hire, while others require it prior to applying. Certifications are available through real estate associations – such as the National Apartment Association or National Association of Realtor’s Certification training often includes minor maintenance training; risk management; insurance, accounting, business and real estate law; and risks and liabilities.
      19. Licensing – An agent who buys or sells property must have a real estate license. Some states require leasing agents to also have a Realtor license, but owners who lease and rent their own properties typically don’t need one. Leasing agents or managers working in federal subsidized housing are required to carry a Realtor license.
      20. Personal Qualities and Skills – Property Managers/Leasing agents are “selling” a property to prospective tenants. Therefore, having customer-service skills, speaking skills and being able to negotiate are important to perform the job well. Being organized, especially in dealing with paperwork and coordinating meetings, is also important. Property Managers/Leasing agents must also be tactful when dealing with resident disputes, legal issues, complaints and other property disturbances.
      21. Loyalty – Once you have found the “Ideal” employee with all of these above mentioned qualities, you got it made! They never object to rolling up their sleeves to get the job done, they never complain and they are always looking out for the bottom line.

In the End                                                                                                 

You can train on an employee on your product or service, but you can’t train someone to have integrity, resiliency, self-confidence and work ethic.  The smaller the business, the more crucial any hire is.  Be flexible on background requirements, but continue to be stringent on personality traits.

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