Africa-Press – Rwanda. The number of professional property managers and valuators is expected to rise as graduates from the department of Estate Management and Valuation in University of Rwanda and other private universities join the working force.
However, observations show that the population of Rwanda has not fully embraced their services and skills. Yet, experts say that they might be the needed boost to the housing market. Especially as sector stakeholders continue to invest in the real estate sector and supporting infrastructure.
Statistics show that almost a tenth of the country’s annual budget is committed to infrastructure. As a result, a number of investment opportunities are directed to informal settlement upgrade and affordable housing, property development, and industrial park developments.
“Employing institutions and property owners do not have a common understanding of our qualifications” shared Justin Murenzi, Estate Management and Valuation graduate. Property managers’ prime role is to be an intermediary between the tenant and the property owner.
They are trained to deal with the overall financial and operational management and also maintenance of the property. They are expected to manage the budget, collect and address concerns of the tenant. Valuation comes in for estimating the worth of the building they are responsible for and full assessment for property taxes.
“It is easy to have someone you know managing your property in case you are not able to do it yourself, otherwise it is even best to do it yourself” some argue.
Jeremie Kirabo, Head of Property and Facilities Management at Century Real Estate said that property managers’ roles are beyond residential houses to include hospitality buildings, recreational, malls, educational, students’ housing among others.
“They act on behalf of investors who do not have time and expertise to look after their business from day to day or those in partnerships/joint ventures, acting as the uncompromised third party,” he said.
“The role of a property manager is the meeting point between a tenant and the owner of a building. They are in charge of marketing the property for potential tenants, rating, and leasing, responsible for tax declarations and payment, Budgeting and management of a sinking fund (capital expenditures),” he said.
Their roles also include understanding and catering for tenants needs, tenant signage (right positioning of tenants), maintenance and repair, people and vendor/contractor management (service payment for security, cleaners, managing customers/visitors or any other person who enter the building), depreciation valuation and so on.
“The property manager is in charge of maintaining and adding value to the property they are in charge of,” he said
With regard to driving the professionalization of commercial real estate, Kirabo said that dealings are guided by definite contracts which improve the predictability of outcomes.
“They sign law binding contracts with the owner so their remuneration, rights, boundaries, period of time, and other factors are clear. They ensure the property adds value, hence it does not age in a short time and has a high return on investments. Which boosts Real Estate investments and housing markets,” he noted. However, it is with a reason that experienced people in matters of preservation practice their knowledge.
Tunde Obileye, a lawyer and CEO of Great Heights Property & Facilities Management Ltd, had previously written in The New Times that leaving management in the hands of inexperienced owners, and inefficient construction methods and materials, could lead to failure to meet global standards of infrastructural developments.
He also highlighted that having proper management of a building could increase its value. Value, he said, increases as managers adapt to increasing technological demands and modernization.
Also, part of the job of a property manager include finding market for the buildings they manage. This reduces on the confusion or fraud of those who made it their unregistered profession to be house commissioners.
“Random commissioners have proven to be liars and thieves. They charges you high commissioning fees and in turn charge your future tenant in the process, before you know they gain way much than we do” shared Marie Claire Umubyeyi, landlady in Kigali.
Real estate managers are responsible of maintenance, responding to unexpected challenges, ensure safety of materials and tenants and so on. Failure or delay to do so could lead life threatening occurrences and/or financial collapse of the organisation.