Property Manager vs. Project Manager - When Do You Need to Hire One - Article Banner

What’s the difference between a property manager and a project manager? And, when do you need one to help you manage your investment property, your portfolio, or a specific task that needs to get done at your rental property? 

We’re exploring this topic today because it’s of particular interest to us. At Chase Pacific, we are property managers who happen to have a lot of experience in project management. We think that area of expertise has given us better tools and skills to effectively lease, manage, and maintain investment properties. 

As an investment property owner, think about what you expect from your property manager in San Diego, or anywhere in the surrounding southern California communities. Your expectations are in many ways similar to what clients expect from their project managers, whether we’re talking about construction or some other industry. 

Both project managers and property managers are expected to plan and execute specific tasks to reach the established goals of their clients. While their titles may be slightly different, the essence of what they do is generally the same.

So, let’s start by taking a look at when you should hire each type of professional, and why. Then, we’ll explore some of the benefits that come with making those hires. 

When Should You Hire a Property Manager? 

A property manager is focused exclusively on properties. Real estate can mean a lot of things. It’s a building. It’s a home. It’s residential or commercial. Sometimes, it’s land. 

Property managers are hired by landlords and investors to oversee the day-to-day operations of a real estate space. It is typically a rental property, but you can also use a property manager to take care of your own home while you’re away. When you don’t have the time to effectively lease, manage, and maintain your property, you hire a property manager to do it for you.

So, when does property management become necessary? 

We think it’s always a good idea; even if you’re only renting out one property. Property managers have the expertise and the resources to ensure you’re not wasting money or making expensive legal mistakes. 

You should hire a property manager when you know your property needs a level of attention and expertise that you simply cannot provide. 

It’s also a good idea to hire a property manager when you want to earn more and spend less on your investment. 

You know that cash flow is going to impact your property value. Therefore, improving your Net Operating Income (NOI) is crucial to the success of the performance of your rental home, your unit, or your building. Improving your NOI requires an experienced property management company. Your property manager will be more proactive than reactive to the issues that arise for real estate investors, asset managers, and owners. 

When you’re looking for a property manager, think about their experience and abilities when it comes to project management as well. The value provided by a property manager with project or construction management experience is hard to match. You’ll have extra insight into budgeting, decision-making, and transparency. 

When Should You Hire a Project Manager? 

Project managers are used in a variety of industries; they’re not strictly part of real estate businesses or physical properties. 

A project manager is a professional who is tasked with organizing, planning, and then implementing plans and projects for a team, company, or individual. There are typically constraints to the project that needs to be managed. Budgets and timelines must be followed. A project manager will often lead a team of people to define the scope of the work they’re doing, communicate with interested parties, and evaluate the results of the project. 

Why might you need a project manager? 

Thinking strictly about your rental property investments, there are several good reasons to work with a project manager. Maybe you’ve recently invested in a new acquisition and it needs a full rehab. A project manager can pull together your contractors and subcontractors, oversee how permits are pulled, and keep everyone on schedule and working towards the same goal. If you’re working within an HOA or a condo association, a project manager can be helpful in getting new buyers and tenants approved. 

You might need a project manager when you’re making changes to your portfolio, or growing the number of properties you currently own. 

The specific tasks of a project manager will be different from those of a property manager. When you’re growing your real estate investment business, you can benefit from having both a project manager and a property manager. A really skilled partner, however, will have both skill sets perfected. 

Capital Projects Experience and Your San Diego Investment

You’ll need a property manager and/or a project manager when you’re ready to tackle capital projects. As a property owner, you will likely have capital projects and improvements, whether it’s a new roof or a second floor or a finished basement. When your property manager has previous experience managing similar projects, you can expect an efficient process that costs less and yields better results. 

Project managers are committed to helping property owners with three specific areas when they’re taking on work: 

  • Scope of the project
  • Cost of the work being done
  • Time and schedules

These three areas of expertise produce not just the expected result; they also ensure high-quality work. 

Project Management and Subcontractors

Property managers may have to hire a contractor to take care of the work being done on your property. Project management experience will come in handy, because there are likely to be multiple subcontractors working at your property on the same goal. You’ll need access to the skills needed to coordinate work between vendors. Systems and procedures are immediately created to ensure deadlines are met. Project managers bring tenacity to managing properties. They understand the importance of gathering the right partners to get the job done correctly. 

Leadership is essential to both project and property management. When you have a professional who is willing to step in and take charge quickly, you’ll find there’s more collaboration. This helps property owners by creating a vast network to serve the needs of their properties.  

Property Management and Problem Solving

Project managers know there is no such thing as a perfect project without a hitch or unexpected issues. Things will happen, and there’s not always anything that can be done to prevent it. 

An experienced project manager is comfortable dealing with unexpected issues and challenges. There’s no stress and the chaos is limited. A property manager who can acclimate and resolve issues in the same way will provide property owners and investors with peace of mind. 

Quick decision-making is often essential. Project managers are driven by deadlines and time management, so issues will be resolved quickly and problems will be solved creatively. Property managers are also sensitive to timelines and due dates. There’s no option in returning a security deposit even a day late.

Valuing Communication and Transparency

Relationships depend on communication. You have to establish a good relationship when you’re working with property managers and project managers. These are the partners you have hired to take care of a thousand details on your behalf. You need good communication. You need transparency. 

Project managers are great facilitators when it comes to conveying information. They’re required to not only share information but also to translate and decode information so the right stakeholders understand. This will be incredibly valuable in a property manager who must be responsive to owners, tenants, vendors, and other community partners. 

Work with Project and Property Managers for Financial and Budgetary Help

Budgetary HelpThe costs involved in any project you take on will be at the forefront of what you’re thinking about. 

You don’t want to spend more than you need to. Property managers need to identify and adopt cost-efficient procedures and action plans. Reducing costs will increase ROI, which is a win for any investor. 

  Property managers consistently perform cost to benefit analyses for financial decision-making. Most project managers treat projects as their own, and they’ll take actions that provide the best quality and functionality at the property.  

Property managers in San Diego are called to fill a lot of roles. We work as:

  • Owner representatives
  • Customer service agents to tenants
  • Maintenance coordinators
  • Leasing agents
  • Lease enforcers
  • Rent collectors
  • Finance managers

Because there are so many details to manage, you’re looking for a property manager who has the experience and skills to keep the property running at its best on a daily basis. Periodic inspections are needed to monitor the performance of the building and its tenants. You need a property manager who can communicate, manage projects, and ensure financial stability. 

Working with a top-of-the-line property management company like ours will lead to a better and more profitable investment experience. We pride ourselves on delivering better outcomes because of our project management skills and financial management experience. 

You can benefit from having us on your side. When you’re ready to talk about full-service property management and our project management experience, please contact us at Chase Pacific Property Management & Real Estate Services.