how to manage a property portfolioWhen you have multiple property interests, there are more factors to consider than if you just have the one property interest. You're in the realms of other factors unique to yourself and the properties that can start working collectively for the greater good, whether that's, say, greater returns as a property investor, or reduced costs from an occupier with several occupied buildings.

This is important for all stages of your property portfolio, whether that's right at the start as you begin building your first portfolio of properties, or when you're further down the line and wanting to build your portfolio to the next level.

It's important to realise that the management of properties is actually a dynamic thing, not a static one, in that the way you proactively manage them now will shape how they grow and change in the future. It's more than just problem-solving and coming up with slick systems now, it's shaping your portfolio so you're ready to see greater success both now and in the future.

The How-To From Four Perspectives 

In terms of how you can therefore manage a property portfolio, here are four essential factors linked with the four perspectives of our Property Management Guide book. These look at all property interests from four unique angles, all beginning with the letter 'P', and all helping you see how all aspects link together. So here goes:

1. The Property Perspective

This is looking at the literal bricks-and-mortar property that you're involved with, not some generic 'property interest', but the reality of the building itself. So it’s considering what type of property it is, for example a small residential flat or a larger commercial office, and if there a combination of mixed uses now or possibly in the future.

The age of the property will also differ, and will link to other factors such as the condition of the property in terms of the effect on your portfolio. So an older, more substantial-construction property may be more suitable than a modern flimsy-built one, and in actual fact the legal interests linked to them are also key, with any long lease interest sometimes being too short to secure any future mortgages.

Location, location, location is also pivotal. Not only looking at what particular parts of town are best in terms of up-and-coming areas and good demand and access, but whether you are based in your local area only or spreading your wings and portfolio further geographically.

With all these aspects, in short you need to first ensure that each individual property is a sound one for it’s own purpose, and secondly that other properties added to your portfolio are not only good ones in their own right but there is a great balance and mix of factors between them. So for example, you may focus more on a certain residential type investment property, but you decide to diversify to some commercial as well to spread the risk over the portfolio.

2. The People Perspective

Although you have a tangible asset, it's actually the connection with other people and their interests that will make or break your property portfolio. So if you are a landlord then it's the nature of your actual tenant which will determine how effectively you collect rents and have to deal with issues, and which can filter through to better property valuations.

Likewise, for, say, a business tenant with a chain of newsagents and a portfolio of properties you rent from different landlords, you want to ensure that there is good communication with your landlord so your focus is on running your business and not fire-fighting landlord and property problems.

There's also a whole host of other property interests to consider such as contractors, agents and solicitors, property managing agents, and specialist advisors. Once you have a good, capable, and workable team of others you can work with, then managing and building a property portfolio becomes a whole lot easier.

3. The Payment Perspective

Of course it does all boil down to the money, whether that's a landlord seeing the best rents and values, a tenant seeing lower costs, or an advisor seeing suitable fees. Therefore getting this in shape is critical, and managing the properties to see the greatest possible returns and lowest costs.

There's also the compliance side of things to remember, such as dealing with deposits, taxes, accounts, and fees, so that there are no nasty surprises and liabilities later on down the line. And of course with a portfolio of properties there are other dynamics as well, such as being able to effectively refinance on these interests for other acquisitions, and being able to gear-up and leverage any equity stake in them.

4. The Paperwork Perspective

This is all the documentation that comes with property interests, both literal paperwork and more general and digital formats that are key in ensuring compliance and therefore no hiccups later on as you shape your property portfolio. This can range from, say, a nitty-gritty asbestos survey or health and safety risk assessment, to the actual legal leases and documentation forming the property interests.

Not only are they needed for safe and best compliance, but they can be an important bargaining tool as you build your portfolio, and being able to adjust any purchase or rental values accordingly based upon the reality of the property's compliance and paperwork.

Bringing the Perspectives into a Plan 

So as you continue to build and manage your property portfolio, go through each of these four perspectives and begin seeing the range of issues needed to make sure your portfolio is best set up.

The order of these four is also important, as you often need to first begin with looking at the actual property in question, and then who's involved with you in this, followed by the payments and returns involved, and then finally all the satisfactory paperwork to correctly back this all up.

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