PROPERTY MANAGEMENT 101 | How Great Relationships Take You Far in Management

Ed Drummond
Founder, Capstone Realty Professionals


Property management is not for everybody. I like to think I got into management on a dare and over time recognized that the shoe fit. It’s been 11 years since I put on that shoe. In that time, I’ve seen the ups and downs, but most importantly I’ve used both to come to the realization that there are three key things that differentiate good and bad management service. These three core competencies are good relationships, communication, and transparency. In this article I will focus on the benefits of maintaining a good relationship with vendors, clients, and tenants.



Good relationships with owners develop over time by demonstrating great communication and transparency, which leads to good rapport and trust. As property managers, we need our clients to trust us quickly so we have their support when circumstances arise. I often joke with our clients and tell them that our team is good at giving bad news because it seems like we are constantly giving bad news. Also, a great relationship buys more time when things go south.

A friend of mine here in the Valley runs a locally owned auto repair shop. His mantra is “truth builds trust.” When he turned my business away and told me the WHY behind it, he rapidly gained my trust and now I consistently refer business to him. Using this example, “ripping the band-aid off” and hearing the hard truth builds trust and helps clients understand the WHY behind your actions.



When a tenant likes the management company or property manager, they tend to stay in the property longer. What builds relationships with tenants? A couple of things can help:

  1. Setting proper expectations – I see it all the time with new employees. The tenant has an issue and instead of correcting the issue and using the opportunity as a way of educating the tenant, the employee capitulates. This usually leads to expectations that are out of sync with what we can or are authorized to do. Letting the tenant know the rules quickly and respectfully keeps expectations on point and fosters a better relationship.
  1. Consistent communication – The biggest complaint I hear from tenants about bad experiences with property managers almost always ties into poor communication from the manager or management company. The easiest way to get around this, as stated above, is setting proper expectations around communication and secondly, adhering to this process religiously. Tenants don’t expect us to connect when we don’t have much of an update so when we do, it tends to go a long way.



The hot Phoenix real estate market, strong economy, and overall lack of skilled tradespeople in the industry right now seem to have created the perfect opportunity for many vendors to be exceptionally busy. Finding a great vendor that communicates well, has their billing in order and offers reasonable pricing can often seem impossible. When we foster great relationships with our vendors it can help alleviate the following potential stressors:

  1. Response time – Better relationships with vendors can help when you need to ask for a When the water heater at a property ruptures on a Sunday night of a three-day weekend, do you know who you can call to fix it quickly at a good price?
  1. Trust in bids – In this market a strong relationship can help answer why a bid may be off, especially when a vendor is very The better the relationship with the vendor, the easier it can be to get the WHY out of hard conversations.
  1. Confidence in getting the job done right – The better we know the vendor the more we know their strengths and weaknesses. For some vendors it’s hard to turn away a job when one of their better clients is requesting it. A strong vendor relationship can be just what they need to say “no” to a job they are not best equipped and/or staffed to This can lead to fewer issues in the future.


In conclusion, the ability to build good relationships and better processes in the management business can be the difference between getting positive reviews and losing clients. As the market changes and technology makes everything easier to access, good relationships will remain the differentiator between keeping your client happy or losing them to the competition.