2C — January 22 - February 18, 2021 — Owners, Developers & Managers — M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal


O wners , D evelopers & M anagers

By Lisa Shull, Bennett Williams Finding opportunity during a pandemic still comes down to relationships


he industry is grap - pling with the impact of the pandemic and

profitable during uncertain times always comes down to relationships and that rings true for property managers now more than ever. The challenges facing our industry today are not new but are certainly exacer - bated. Rent collection, ven - dor management, expense management, and staffing are on the list of hot topics being discussed every day and government regulation during the pandemic has added even more complexity to that discussion.

There is no doubt property managers received calls from tenants during recent stay at home orders requesting rent relief. While eviction moratoriums were looming, property managers were hard at work balancing PPP loans, accounts receivables, operating expenses, and building safety to ensure that properties remained open and profitable. Those manag - ers who were most success - ful during this time likely went into the pandemic with an already strong focus on

landlord / tenant relations. These managers were adept at fielding calls, listening to tenant concerns with em - pathy, communicating the reality of the situation ef - fectively, and conveying the landlord’s position clearly. When relationships are at the forefront, landlords and tenants alike develop a cer - tain level of loyalty and will generally work harder to maintain the relationship. Vendor and expense man - agement offer additional opportunities for property

managers to realize the pow - er of strong relationships. At the start of the pandemic vendors bent over backwards to source sanitizer for their most loyal customers when there wasn’t a drop to be found anywhere. To keep expenses low with declining revenues property manag - ers might consider offering an extension to a contract and postponing preventa - tive maintenance for a more favorable time while guar - anteeing a vendor future work. When relationships are valued and prioritized as regular practice property managers are better able to renegotiate pricing and con - tract terms so that the bur - den is less and shared by all. All of what has been men - tioned previously revolves around the single most im - portant resource – people. More and more we are seeing remote work become com - monplace. Landlords need to trust that their property managers are able to perform while out of the office and property managers need to trust that their staff is getting the job done while at home. Those who placed emphasis on team building and created a culture that encouraged independence, accountability, initiative, and trust likely continued without a notice - able difference. In contrast, remote work brought weak - ness in collaboration and leadership front and center for those teams who were already stressed and left ten - ants and landlords to pay the price in poor service, delayed response, and costly expenses. COVID-19 has dismantled the way we do business, forc - ing our industry to rethink many of our standard prac - tices. Regulations are ever changing and require that we remain agile in our response. We must stay ahead of the curve, constantly learning and applying new tools and technology to ensure that we are ready to performwhether at the office or at home. Above all, we must always place value on the concept of relationship, working to - gether to find opportunity when it seems there is none, and in doing so we will get through this. Lisa Shull is a portfolio manager with Bennett Wil- liams in York, PA. MAREJ

wh i l e t he promise of n e w v a c - cines brings hope , CO - V I D - 1 9 wi l l l ikely be here for y e a r s t o come. Effec -

Lisa Shull

tive property managers nev - er waver in their approach to commercial real estate management. Remaining

Asset & Property Management MANAGEMENT . Redefined .

Bennett Williams has been servicing clients for over 64 years with one goal, to build relationships through performance. Our goal is to provide the best service through knowledge, technology, and communication. We continue to enhance our knowledge through education, certifications, and networking. We are the only full service commercial real estate company with two certified property managers in Central Pennsylvania. We tailor our service to your needs and always use the latest technology. This allows us to service more clients in an efficient and deliberate manner. We believe transparency instills trust, we provide our clients with the access to our management systems in real time. We recognize that not all clients are as excited about systems as we are, so we tailor our reports and communications to our clients preferences. We have a proven track record of reducing expenses, adding value, maximizing profits, increasing tenant satisfaction and retention. We welcome the opportunity to learn more about your assets and properties so that we can tailor a program to your needs.

Years of Experience 64 56 3 Team Members Offices

Property Types

Power Centers Lifestyle Centers Anchored Centers Neighborhood Centers Freestanding Retail Un-Anchored Centers

“Our experienced Certified Property Managers and company experience has positioned us to be the solution for commercial property management .”

York Office: 3528 Concord Rd. York, PA 17402 Exton Office: 1 East Uwchlan Avenue, Suite 409, Exton, PA 19341 Lancaster Office: 150 Farmington Lane, Suite 201, Lancaster, PA 17601

Contact Us: 717.843.5555 www.bennettwi l l iams.com

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