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General managers working in real estate rental agencies implement financial and operational initiatives, inspect building facilities, negotiate leasing contracts, advise of changes to relevant legislation and identify business opportunities. If you’re interested in this position, you need to earn at least a bachelor’s degree in business administration with property management emphasis and fulfill state-specific licensing requirements.
A general manager inspects properties to ensure they're in good condition and attractive to tenants. If some buildings or units are in poor condition or don’t meet the specification of the average buyer, he may ask the maintenance contractors to renovate the facility. When a new building is ready for leasing, the general manager may invite property valuers to assess the building, determine its values and set rental prices based upon the prevailing market conditions and desirability of the units.
In most real estate rental agencies, the general manager negotiates deals with contractors and service providers. For example, when a rental agency wants a specific property insured against fire, the general manager may conduct market research to identify a reliable insurance firm. She can then enter into contract negotiations with the insurance firm to ensure the agency secures an insurance policy at a fair or discounted price. The general manager also ensures timely payments to providers for services such as electricity, water and Internet to avoid disconnections.
Real estate rental agencies must develop effective strategies to enhance financial performance in a competitive industry. As a general manager, you can focus on finding business opportunities in new markets. For example, if your agency does not have a strategy for attracting rental customers online, you can collaborate with social media specialists to build the company’s Web presence, expose your properties and engage with prospective buyers. You also can attend corporate conferences to interact with industry leaders and gain new tips for managing a rental agency.
Given that most states regulate residential renting, general managers at real estate rental agencies must maintain compliance with property laws. For instance, if you want to evict a tenant, maybe because he violates the property’s code of conduct, you must follow due process as provided by the landlord and tenant law. You also must ensure the agency’s employees adhere to professional ethics and don’t discriminate prospective tenants based on race, sexual orientation or disability. An effective general manager should be familiar with laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Federal Fair Housing Amendment Act.
Based in New York City, Alison Green has been writing professionally on career topics for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in “U.S. News Weekly” magazine, “The Career” magazine and “Human Resources Journal.” Green holds a master's degree in finance from New York University.