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How to get the most out of estate management

The U.S. boasts the highest concentration of ultrawealthy households worldwide, per researchers from Knight Frank, who found that approximately 38,500 families with net assets worth $50 million or more reside here. Los Angeles is home to many of these affluent clans and ranks among the top three wealthiest cities in the world, the real estate consultancy found.

The left coast metro maintains an expansive luxury residential market as a consequence, with enclaves like Beverly Hills and Malibu where the average property goes for more than $10 million, according to data analysis from PropertyShark published on Curbed. The wealthy families that own these sweeping estates normally employ estate managers who handle numerous household issues, from scheduling maintenance activities to coordinating home security operations.

If you count yourself among Los Angeles' elite but do not have a reliable estate manager at your disposal, you might consider hiring one of these top-flight domestic professionals. However, simply recruiting anyone with seemingly strong qualifications and setting them to work is not an ideal methodology. You should instead carefully consider your households' needs and take the time to pinpoint candidates who have the expertise needed to serve your family, thereby maximizing your estate management experience.

Understanding your estate management needs
Affluent households often maintain entirely unique lifestyles. That said, there are some commonalities between these households depending on location and familial situation. For instance, single, wealthy individuals living in Laurel Canyon often spend their time enmeshed in the sylvan yet sophisticated local culture, ping-ponging between bohemian hotspots and lazing in their bucolic compounds.

Affluent families settled in Brentwood, on the other hand, navigate faster-paced schedules, as parents commute to posh downtown offices and maintain packed social schedules while their children balance private school and extracurriculars. Each of these types of households has different estate management needs. Individuals in the former situation might be hands-off, only asking estate managers to ensure their properties are well maintained and ready for entertaining. Conversely, families normally need more intensive assistance, requiring these domestic professionals to play essential roles in everyday home operations.

Whether you are living the single life or are part of an expansive family, you must assess your everyday routine and decide how an estate manager might be able to help. What exactly can these domestic professionals do for you? A lot.

Unpacking the estate manager profession
Modern estate managers are often highly educated and skilled, The New York Times reported. They use their formalized knowledge and experience to manage household staffs featuring dozens of full-time and contract employees, from landscaping experts to animal care professionals. Estate managers often oversee multiple properties and larger assets, including luxury vehicles and yachts. Additionally, most participate in event-planning activities, leveraging their coordination competencies and vendor connections to facilitate flawless gatherings. Of course, many also perform specialized services.

For instance, The Times highlighted one LA-based estate manager who leverages her formal artistic education and experience – she holds a Master of Fine Arts degree and works as a sculptor – to help her client manage his art collection and decorate his multiple properties. This kind of niche knowledge is especially in demand in the current climate, where art is among the most popular and well-performing assets within the world of the ultrawealthy, per Knight Frank. The newspaper also spoke with a domestic staffing agency that had received requests for estate managers capable of ghostwriting memoirs and directly overseeing renovations for multiple properties, a task that required candidates to have advanced construction and engineering training and experience. In short, estate managers can do far more than coordinate lawn work and ensure all of the refrigerators in the house remain stocked.

Keep this reality in mind as you search for candidates and do not be afraid to search for individuals with specific expertise that might benefit your household.

LA-area estate managers can capably oversee your property.LA-area estate managers can capably oversee your property.

Identifying optimal estate manager characteristics
In addition to having the managerial expertise and experience needed to oversee entire households, estate managers must possess the innate interpersonal characteristics needed to navigate others' homes. These essential qualities include:

  • Civility: Managing a household can be immensely stressful. However, estate managers must keep their composure and interface with third parties and guests without letting their exasperation show. This commitment to decorum allows these domestic professionals to operate effectively.
  • Discretion: Estate managers are often intimately involved in their clients' lives. As a result, these domestic professionals are privy to personal information that simply should never make it into the public sphere. It, therefore, is critical that estate managers exhibit the utmost discretion and honor the trust their clients place in them.
  • Organization: The number of different tasks estate managers must juggle is enormous. Organizational prowess is therefore key in this role, as is clear foresight and the ability to properly oversee and sequence mission-critical tasks.
  • Professionalism: While estate managers normally hold significant sway over household operations, they must exert their influence behind the scenes, making sure to maintain an appropriate distance between themselves and their clients. The ability to establish and maintain these boundaries is key to success in this role.
  • Reliability: Estate managers must be available and prepared to supervise essential household activities. This necessitates around-the-clock-connectivity and the willingness to step in and address emergency situations in almost any circumstance.

You should certainly focus on finding candidates with the above characteristics during your search, as domestic professionals in possession of these qualities are likely to offer you the assistance and support you need.      

Finding the perfect estate manager
So, you know what estate managers do and what characteristics to look for but how should you go about finding and assessing candidates? While managing recruitment on your own might seem like the most logical option, you might be better off entrusting the search to an established domestic staffing agency. LA is home to some of the oldest and most respected domestic recruitment groups in the world, meaning you have numerous choices should you pursue this avenue. Of course, finding talent is only half the process. You must then meet your potential estate managers and evaluate their qualifications and general fit. For those unfamiliar with the machinations of recruitment and interviewing, this part of the process can be challenging. What do you ask domestic professionals vying for this role?

There are luckily some common interview questions that can help you extract the insights you need to make an informed decision. For example, many property owners question candidates as to how they develop and maintain boundaries with their employers. This query allows talent to speak directly to the issue of professionalism and provide concrete evidence into how they comport themselves during everyday operations. Questions concerning specific estate management functions are popular and useful as well. If you need someone who can effectively protect your property, curate your art collection or plan events, you must ask candidates to expand on their experience in these specific areas.

Pinpointing a recruitment partner
With the aforementioned information in mind, you can now begin your search by finding a third-party recruitment partner with the experience and connections to deliver strong estate management talent. As mentioned above, there are a large number of established domestic staffing firms in the LA area but few have a track record of success as extensive as the Colonial Domestic Agency. We have been working with affluent families on the West Coast since 1963, leveraging our copious internal resources to find the best and brightest domestic professionals, from personal assistants to estate managers.

Our seasoned recruitment professionals provide resumes for qualified candidates who possess the competencies needed to manage your household. The process typically unfolds like this:

  • A Colonial Domestic recruiter meets with you to discuss your estate management needs and offer advice on how you might go about filling the role.
  • The recruiter then searches our expansive database and pinpoints potential candidates that might fit your needs.
  • The recruiter conducts initial interviews and then connects you with domestic professionals who pass this screening.

Are you prepared to start your search today? Contact us to learn about our services and how we can help you find a skilled and reliable estate manager.