Over the course of my 25 years in the industry, I’ve managed properties in all different categories — commercial, industrial and residential. I’ve always believed in catering management style to specific clients based on their property type, and on their own unique personalities. In the office, I often repeat this mantra: “One size fits all fits none.” You can’t properly meet the needs of a warehouse owner with the same strategies you would use to manage an apartment building.
But even within the category of residential, it’s critical to distinguish between the types of homes you’re tending to. Managing luxury homes comes with its own set of demands. Let’s explore some of the best approaches to giving luxury properties the star treatment.
Luxury property management differs from the management of other residential properties in a number of ways. In the case of certain estates, there are no tenants, and instead of serving renters, you’re focusing on keeping the property highly tuned year-round for an owner who might drop in at a moment’s notice. In order to deliver the best possible experience for discerning clients in situations like these, I’ve found that accessory comforts and flourishes go a long way. Do your homework to learn what exactly will exceed the client’s expectations. Examples include a luxury car parked in the driveway for them when they arrive and a vase of fresh-cut flowers waiting in the entryway, so that the house already feels like a home as soon as they step inside.
One other major difference is in the way the owners of luxury assets see their properties. In my experience, many luxury owners think of their properties not only as investments, but as rewards and symbols of the work they’ve done to earn these residences, many of which are true works of art. For example, one home we manage in Laurel Canyon was built specifically to evoke the shape of a ship’s hull protruding from a mountainside. In order to deliver the best possible service as the owner’s property manager, I’ve taken on their way of thinking: I see the homes as landmarks that I have the opportunity to maintain and improve, and I’m happy to serve as the caretaker of a prized trophy property. When it comes to maintaining stunning homes, take it upon yourself to not only satisfy the client but to impress them. In the luxury property management market, those who surprise owners by going above and beyond are the ones who succeed in the long term.
If you’re an owner of luxury property looking for new management, I recommend taking stock of what the management of your property is truly worth to you, rather than seeing how low of a price you can find from a cut-rate management service. You wouldn’t take a Ferrari to Jiffy Lube, would you? No, you’d take it to a specialty shop to have it repaired by meticulous professionals suited for that class of automobile. The same goes for property management. If you’re interested in a company’s management, ask about their experience with properties like yours. (And property managers, make sure to let prospective clients know about your experience.) You should favor a company with the resources to oversee any major renovations you might have in mind. This point applies not only to houses but also to high-end apartment complexes and retail spaces.
Furthermore, a management company in the care of upscale homes should designate a single point of contact in their office who handles all interactions with the property’s owner. Perhaps the term “concierge” gets thrown around too often nowadays, but the concept of individualized, dedicated service remains vital to the management of this type of real estate.
If you can impress a property owner with elegant flourishes, adapt your mindset to see their property the way they do and accommodate their ambitions for maintenance, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the management of luxury properties. These practices and principles have helped me earn the trust of owners across generations, and they can help you do the same.