Property management certainly has its ups and downs, and each day can bring with it new challenges and duties.
This diverse range of tasks can make finding the appropriate attire a challenge at times.
But in spite of that challenge, we know that first impressions matter. And in a world where professionalism is key, these impressions matter a lot. Choosing the right attire for your day is key for property managers and landlords. Conveying a sense of professionalism in your clothing will provide an extra boost of credibility, ensuring that your current owners and potential clients see you as an industry authority.
Your style of dress can also convey to tenants that you–literally–mean business, and while you should always be friendly and offer exceptional customer service, having an elevated sense of style can serve as a visual reminder to your tenants that you to be respected.
Thankfully, establishing a functional wardrobe is not difficult if you follow a few simple rules.
Consider Your Duties for the Day:
Your daily tasks should be key factors when deciding on your attire. Consider your duties for the day, will you simply be in the office handling administrative tasks, or will you be on-site showing a property or assessing a maintenance issue? Truly evaluating your daily tasks is imperative to providing a polished look; no one looks comfortable or professional when their clothing (however office-appropriate) does not work for their environment.
Women should avoid high heels or skirts that may be difficult to maneuver in while walking across grassy areas or assessing a rental property. Men will want to dress for their environment as well, donning a 3-piece suit when showing a casual oceanfront property will seem out-of-place and will likely be uncomfortably hot. Remember, while comfort isn’t the most important factor when dressing professionally, it is a vital factor when dressing for the on-site duties of property management. If you’re uncomfortable, it will likely be visible to your client or future tenant, and it will detract from the purpose of your meeting. Your property manager outfit should ensure that you are ready for whatever management duties you may need to tackle that day.
Find a Few Staples:
While your daily tasks will change, it’s important to have a cohesive wardrobe full of a few staples that will work for any work situation. Invest in comfortable and stylish shoes to ensure that you appear polished and presentable even when you will be standing often or conducting walkthroughs. For women, this can be a particular sticking point, since the traditional professional attire includes heeled shoes–instead, ensure that you are able to easily maneuver by purchasing a suitable pair of flats; opt for pointed-toe shapes that will provide an extra professional flair.
Shirts or Blouses:
For either gender, buttoned shirts are classic and easily one of the most important aspects to your wardrobe. Remember, however, that materials and color matter, both in quality and durability. Don’t simply purchase the first button-down you see on the rack. An item’s color and fabric make a large difference; silk, for instance, can show wetness and may deteriorate quickly if not dry-cleaned. And while white remains an easy neutral color, an opaque material can spell disaster in the bright sunshine outdoors. Trying on clothes in dressing areas with natural light can help you chose your wardrobe wisely.
Pants or Skirts:
A few high-quality pairs of properly tailored trousers are ideal for both men and women. Well-fitting dress pants will provide extra warmth on cold days and are appropriate for nearly every occasion. Many moderate-to-high-end department stores offer free tailoring with your purchase, so be sure to take advantage of this offering, or find a tailor with whom you trust for alterations. No matter how professional your wardrobe truly is, you will look largely unkempt if your clothes do not appropriately fit your frame. If you opt for skirts, ensure that they are windproof and sturdy. Avoid anything that cuts above the knee, and consider purchasing garment weights for any items that may come up with a gust of wind.
Gauge Your Dress Level on Your Clientele:
While some property management companies may have clear-cut dress codes, if you are not sure what your level of dress formality should be, simply examine your local area and your main source of clients. For instance, if you primarily work with student housing, and your main interactions consist of young student residents, your attire may be more relaxed. Dress capris and pressed khaki pants may be sufficient to provide credibility while remaining approachable. However, a property manager working with luxury rentals in their portfolio will find that this type of attire is too informal for their clients–professional business attire with a suit jacket would be more appropriate. With this in mind, find your staple items and adjust your level of formality up or down to find the additional options that may suit your needs.
Realistically, your clients and tenants won’t be enforcing a dress code, but your wardrobe will always send a message, so make sure the message is a good one. Remember, standing out as an authority in your industry and building a good professional brand starts with making that great first impression.
Also important is CLIMATE. Where we are, the temperature is over 100 degrees most of the year. Everyone wears short sleeve shirts and shorts everywhere all the time.
Great point, David! Climate and surrounding area certainly impact the overall expectation for formality. Few expect a property manager to wear a double-breasted suit while touring a beachfront or countryside property.