By Marie Hamling
When I became a member of The Institute of Real Estate Management, I agreed to abide by its Code of Professional Ethics. The Member Pledge includes the following:
I pledge myself to place honesty, integrity, and industriousness above all else and to pursue my gainful efforts with diligent study and ongoing education so that my services shall be beneficial to the general public and my obligations to my clients shall always be maintained at the highest possible level.
I believe if you are serving clients, you are obligated to follow the same code regardless of whether you are a member of an association or other group or not. In Real Estate Management 101 I learned one of my basic responsibilities is to meet the goals and objectives of the owner. My services to my clients are ALWAYS to be maintained at the highest possible level.
I have a fiduciary responsibility, a special relationship of trust, confidence, and responsibility, to my clients. I always remain loyal to my client and act in his best interests.
I love this story, because it falls in line with my own beliefs about how this business should be run. An associate of mine, Gary, had a small apartment community in his management portfolio that was owned by an older woman. She was one of the most needy clients I have run across, and she required a lot of hand holding. Because it was her only real estate investment and it was the income supplement for her retirement, she was very attentive to the investment and wanted frequent updates on it.
Gary is a very compassionate man who cares deeply for people. For many years, he spent an inordinate amount of time helping the owner, and managing her asset at a high level because he cared about her. This small asset took as much or more time to manage as much larger ones. But because the management fee was based on revenue, the fee would always be lower than a larger property of the same type.
Gary’s oversight of this asset went above and beyond normal expectations. The asset generated good cash flow for the owner and, after her death, for her children. Gary served his client with loyalty and care, and at the highest possible level for many years. She trusted him implicitly. He didn’t base his service on the amount of fees he was paid, and he didn’t reduce his service because he didn’t have time for it. I believe that if you are going to agree to serve a client, you must give them the best service possible to maintain the asset in exceptional condition and generate the most income for them, as Gary did, and as I always do.
This attitude may lose money on an individual case, but it can make money in the long run by using sincerely positive testimonials from the owner and using the confidence and enthusiasm gained while taking care of this smaller property, on larger projects that make more money. What goes around, comes around.
You can read this story as well as others in my book Management Makeover – The Ultimate Guide to Maximizing Your Property Management Income available on this website. It is also available on Amazon and iBooks.