As you may know, part of our service at Real Strategix is to provide temporary recruitment to Real Estate agencies and onsite managers.  We perform all our checks as you would a tenant, or employing someone yourself. We have our own 100-point system and one of them is social media.  When I say social media – I mean everything on the big, bad web.

We put your name into Google and you would be surprised what comes up.  We have had people apply for jobs that have no mention of working at a “particular” real estate on their resume, but this agency still has them listed in the back end of their” about us” page of the website.  Personally, I worked for a company many years ago, and if you type my name in I am not listed in “about us” or “our team” but I come up in staff photos from Christmas parties, in blogs, and also in the backend of the “about us”.  I am more than happy for that, and by the way it is purely an example.  Do it yourself and see what you find.  Set up a Google alert too – that will take longer to explain, but you can see what people are saying about you, or to you.

Facebook – the WORST culprit for you – the best for any employer!  Make your page private.  We have had many candidates that we search, who have their name, and a strange name in brackets under it.  For example: Mary Rose (perfect princess).   I have, on a few occasions, then entered the words (perfect princess) into the search engine, and low and behold Mary Rose has a talent for other things that men pay money to see (that was an example, by the way, just to clarify).  People are not silly, and these days you cannot escape social media. Even if you try to, people will TAG you in the drunken photos. Facebook has the ability that requires you to “accept” being tagged in photos.  My one rule – no DRUNK posting!  In fact, don’t touch your phone while drinking!

You might want all of your Instagram followers to see you as a model, and holding up a bottle of protein powder.  This might get you sponsors, however WE also see this!  We can, therefore, see how drunk you got last Saturday night, and what people are commenting back to you.  Many employers have absolutely no problem with weekend shenanigans – we have all done it – all been there (I was just fortunate that social media didn’t exist when I was 18).  Just remember, that even though it is in “your time” it does, unfortunately, open you up to be judged before you have walked into the interview.

If you are a BDM, Business professional, agent, trainer – why not have TWO Facebook profiles.  I do – one to follow all my sporting teams, my sons football, my daughter’s gymnastics, and become a member of my own gyms personal group; but everything else in my life relates to my working life.  I actually now find I use this profile more.  Just remember which one you are posting on!

Lauren Kropp

Director – Real Strategix


What is bullying? Everyone’s definition of bullying is different.  Wikipedia says as follows:

Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. The behaviour is often repeated and habitual. One essential prerequisite is the perception, by the bully or by others, of an imbalance of social or physical power, which distinguishes bullying from conflict.

Many of us have children and the bullying that occurs at schools today astounds me.  From verbal threats to physical attacks.  We all are asking “why is it getting worse?”  I don’t remember it being this bad when we were kids.

We can blame that fact that our children are getting older “quicker”.  Some of the things my 8-year-old comes home and tells me are things that I was saying when I was 15, not 8.  Where are they learning this – at school – at their PCYC – on the internet?

This could very well be true, but we learn by example. We learn by what has happened to us as children, and how NOT to treat children, or we teach our children how to behave as humanitarians.

This carries over to the workplace, and I, myself, am guilty of this as I am sure all of you are too, but simply not aware.  We come home at night and grab a glass of wine, and sit with our partners talking about our day, which sometimes involves talking about certain co-workers that have not met deadlines, not performed, or simply drove you to drink the entire bottle of wine.  Our children may be watching the TV, but they hear everything.  They think it is ok to talk about someone behind their back but do not have the filter that we have learnt, through age, to keep it behind closed doors.  Yes, we are telling our partners as a vent, but the children do not know this. They then think that it must be ok to talk about people behind each other’s backs.  Which then gets carried to the playground, which in turn creates a ripple effect that we now refer to as “bullying”.

We all have worked with that one person that sits at the office desk, or the lunch room, and speaks crudely about the “boss”, and then when the boss walks in and he/she says, “Hi boss how is your day”?  The moment the boss leaves he/she giggles and resumes speaking ill of the boss behind his/her back.  This is workplace bullying.  Someone will tell the boss – which again causes the ripple effect.  The difference is that we, as adults, in such a workplace situation can rid ourselves of these people. However, our children do not have the emotional intellect to do so.

Workplace bullying is therefore, unintentionally, being carried into our homes as we speak ill of our colleagues, and setting an example of poor behaviour to our children in allowing them to think it is OK.

Many people think of bullying as physical – “No boss I didn’t hit Tim with the stapler, I simply told him he was not smart enough to do the task at hand.”  What hurts Tim more?

We must be more mindful of what we say, and how we speak of others, to impressionable young children who simply want to be just like mummy and daddy. They are possibly following in our footsteps with behaviours we are setting.

Please be kind to your co-workers!

Lauren Kropp – Director – Real Strategix


Three years ago, you were employed by your agency to run a portfolio of 150 properties and had the title “Property Manager” on your business card.  Many people were looking to change this title to “asset manager”, “people manager”, “counselor” but we still referred to it as Property Manager.

As times have changed, many agencies have resorted to outsourcing their administration tasks.

These tasks include the following:

  • Lease renewals
  • Arrears
  • Application processing
  • Reference checks
  • Scheduling of inspections and sending appropriate forms
  • Entering and arranging maintenance
  • Compliance (smoke alarms, pool management)
  • Arranging open homes including uploading to websites.
  • Sending lease documents and welcome packs
  • Email liaising
  • Client marketing
  • Social media posts
  • Trust accounting

What is left for the “Property Manager” to do?  The only true gap that I see is routine inspections, leasing or viewings and tenant and landlord signups for those who prefer face to face.

If an office was to hire a routine inspection officer or outsource one and a Business Development Manager who could in fact, perform the signups and viewings, this would make the role of the Property Manager obsolete.

I hear a lot of Property Managers complain that they do not get paid enough for the highly stressful job and I concur.

However, if an agency appoints the outsource team and a BDM what will happen to the current annual salary of a Property Manager?

If this were to happen, a Principal has every right to greatly reduce the role and salary of a Property Manager or make them redundant.

Outsourcing is like religion – everyone has an opinion. As the Managing Director of an outsourcing business specialising in trust accounting and temporary recruitment, I have spent a lot of time especially of late writing a “pros and cons” list.

A Principal will LOVE outsourcing if they do not have a strong relationship with their team and sees them purely as an expense.  That may sound harsh but not all employers respect the employee and value the face- to- face concept of their input in the business.

By contracting the services of an offshore Virtual Assistant, they only pay $7 per hour to perform the above tasks compared to $25 per hour for a regular employee.

In some instances, they do not have to pay GST to the contracted worker as the company is owned and operated overseas.  They also do not have to pay super or work cover to the VA.

However, they must make sure their Professional Indemnity Insurance covers the VA. Based on a 38-hour work week, this is a cost savings of $684 in wages plus $65 in super.  This is almost a savings of $39,000 annually!

In a portfolio of 150 properties the Property Manager will generally have an assistant or a routine inspection officer to assist them. Therefore in the above instance, the Property Manager would be made redundant, the routine inspection officer would keep their job and the business would be better off by $39k but what happens to customer service?

The Principal that likes good old fashion customer service, face- to- face conversations and walk- ins will NOT like outsourcing.  But they can see the benefit of paying an additional $39K in wages because they have built a brand and a reputation. Therefore the business should be making up for that $39K and more with new management and growth.

One final negative in offshore outsourcing is the language barrier. The time spent initially outlining and training the VA in procedures and tasks is consuming.

But I can tell you from firsthand experience that if you are fortunate to have a VA that fits your business mould, the initial training is worth it.  We use a VA for our administration tasks but she is restricted from calling our clients due to the language barrier.

Property Managers however will LOVE outsourcing if it makes their life easier and they keep their job.  Therefore, the type of outsourcing suitable for this is a routine inspection officer and/or a trust account specialist.

If the idea of a VA interests you but you are worried about the language barrier, it is possible to outsource to Australian companies.  However, you will pay more than $7 per hour due to Australian minimum clerical award but this will assist the smaller offices who may only want a part time employee to work from home. The training will also be much easier.

I have the best of both worlds. I have a VA in the Philippines for our admin and at Real Strategix, we outsource Australian staff to perform inspections, provide in office temporary recruitment and trust account outsourcing.

Therefore my view as presented above is completely impartial.

Lauren Kropp

Managing Director – Real Strategix

 


The job title Property Manager has the word “MANAGER” in it.  How do you generally get to be a Manager in any industry?  With hard work and dedication and climbing the ladder – blue collar or white collar.

I know most states of Australia have different legislation and course structures to obtain this title. But in general, all Real Estate courses only take an average of 3 or 4 days in a classroom setting and they are completed.

Wow!  3 days and I can be a MANAGER.

We have spoken before that the job of a Property or Asset Manager is gruelling and that newbies get extremely overwhelmed due to varying factors which have been outlined as follows:

  • How to deal with difficult situations – This is a personality trait that is learned by being put in extremely difficult situations where you are abused, sworn at and intimidated. This simply cannot be learned from a 3- day course.
  • Lack of training – This comes back to Principals being responsible for providing the team the type of training and quality of resources needed to make the title of Property Manager easier and supported.
  • The hours – No Property Manager has ever said, “I can just have a day off and the work fairy will come and do everything for me” ….
  • Technology – The amount of different systems it takes to run a Property Management department efficiently is overwhelming. These systems include Trust accounting software, inspection software, application trackers, specific software for CMA’s, listing software, Word processing software and of course learning the Apps on the IPad.
  • Extensive legislation –Australia has extensive and comprehensive laws. This cannot be taught in a 3 day course.

I could go on and on with how tough the job really is.

The epitome of the medical world is a brain surgeon.  Does he just finish his general training and start cutting into people’s skulls?  No, he continues to study and work his way up the corporate ladder.  He continues to train in different specialities until he reaches his goal.

Consider obtaining a driver’s license.  Even while learning, you must put an “L” plate on your car to advise everyone that they need to be cautious around you because you are still learning.  When you complete the required hours of driver time, you then must pass the written exam.  If you are lucky to pass the first time, you then obtain your driver’s license.

But when you get your license you still must have different colour “P” Plates to again let others around you know you are new to driving and that you have a few certain driving restrictions such as cylinders in a car, blood alcohol limit and number of passengers.

Obviously, driving can cause death hence the restrictions and cautions. However, Property Managers have a duty of care to make sure the property and the people residing in the properties are safe.

We have all heard the horrifying stories with relation to certain certificates not being obtained resulting in death in relation to pool safety and smoke alarms.

So tell me then, why don’t we have “L” plates and “P” plates for our Property Managers?

Lauren Kropp

Director

Real Strategix


When you are carrying out your routine inspections, what is your focus? Are you inspecting the property wearing blinkers and only looking at the way the tenant is maintaining the property or are you proactive, detailed and thorough?

During a routine inspection you need to understand that you are the eyes for the owner. They are paying you a management fee for you to professionally manage their property and to provide feedback to protect their investment, maximise income and optimise capital growth. On many occasions, owners often do not visit or see their property for years at a time and are relying solely on your feedback.

If a owner was to visit one of their properties tomorrow for the first time in five years, what would their reaction be? Have you kept them updated on the condition (explaining that they must expect wear and tear and that items such as carpets, window covering, painting, etc. will need to be replaced every 4-7 years) and required renovations needed at the property?

There are four main reasons for carrying out a routine inspection:

  • To ascertain if the property is being maintained by the tenant in a clean and tidy condition
  • To advise the owner of any repairs and maintenance that may be necessary
  • To suggest future renovations or improvements that may be required
  • And most importantly, to ensure that the property is secure and safe for the tenant to live in

You have a duty of care to the owner to carry out regular routine inspections and to issue a written report.

Do’s & Do nots when carrying out inspections

Do…

  • Be upfront and honest about the condition of the property.
  • Take your time and be thorough when inspecting the property.
  • Provide a detailed written report to the owner.
  • Go the extra mile and include photos with the written report, it is becoming an industry expectation now.
  • Follow up maintenance or improvement suggestions with the owner.
  • Have a disclaimer on your written report stating that you are not a qualified builder, electrician, pest control or pool inspector.
  • Recommend that the owner engages the services of the above professionals annually.
  • Highlight that the inspection is a visual inspection only.
  • Have a system in place to ensure that no properties are missed (It is Murphy’s Law… the one you didn’t inspect, will be the one that causes you problems).
  • Explorer different technologies and Apps to make the process more streamlined.

Don’t…

  • Presume that if the property is run down it has always been that way.
  • Be afraid to let the owner know that maintenance is required from fair wear and tear. Properties are going to require upgrading. It is not your fault that the carpets are getting old and worn or the walls are becoming marked.

What to look for when carrying out a routine inspection…

Start the inspection from the outside of the property. When walking up to the property, look at the external condition of the paint, walls, roof, gutters, fences, gates, driveways, gardens, etc… You are not a professional tradesperson; however, you are being paid to be an observer of common/obvious faults and repairs. When carrying out routine inspections, the following listed areas can easily be overlooked and are more likely to lead to a liability (injury) claim should there be a fault.

Check to see ‘visually’…

  • That all balcony railings are secure
  • That the gutters and downpipes are secure and clean
  • That steps and balcony floor boards are secure and free from dry rot or mould
  • That there are no leaks under the kitchen sink, bathroom cabinet or from the hot water system
  • That there is no mould build up or water damage on walls or ceilings
  • That fences and retaining walls are not wobbly or falling over
  • That all property locks are reasonably secure – especially pool fence/gate locks
  • That light fittings and power points are secure and not hanging out of their socket
  • That there are no tears or ripples in the carpet
  • That window panes are secure
  • That there are no dangerous obstructions on the property,
  • to name a few.

When carrying out your inspections, take the approach of, “If this was my investment property, what would I want to know?”

By Debbie Palmer
MANAGING DIRECTOR
ppm | group      www.ppmgroup.com.au

Author, International Speaker, Trainer, Consultant, Coach, System Designer, REIQ Gold Coast Property Manager of the Year 1996 & 1997, State Finalist in 1998 & Gold Coast Finalist in 1999.

Debbie celebrates more than 27 years’ experience in her property management career. She is the founder of the PPM Group, a national company that encourages and supports business development opportunities within property management departments through the development of procedural systems, coaching, live training broadcasts and learning resources.

Debbie is dedicated, passionate, focused and offers a youthful approach to property management. She guest speaks with thousands of property management team members and principals each year around the nation and overseas on how to improve profitability and productivity through the implementation of systems and strategic human resource management planning. She is well respected in the industry and has dedicated her working career to improving the mindset of property managers as well as the day-to-day internal operational procedures.

She is a mum of three children and enjoys a healthy family work-life balance.


We have all seen the show “Undercover Boss”.  There have been two instances over the past year that I have placed myself in the Temp world as an “undercover temp”.

What is it really like to be a temp in a property management department?

Easy you think …. you just come in, do your job, leave at the end of the contract and get paid well.

You are greatly mistaken.

When I first put the feelers out about entering Real Strategix into the recruitment world although I have personally over 15 years’ experience in all aspects of Property Management, trust accounting and consulting, I thought; there is no way I can make my new business venture work unless I “Live it myself.”

It was hard for me to take my consultant hat off and put my “temp” hat on.  What that means is “just do the job Lauren the best way you know how but do not tell them there is a better way as a consultant would”.

The first particular office did not know my background and had just heard through the grapevine that I might be interested in temp work– perfect timing.

My job was doing the lease renewals for three large portfolios which was a full time 4-week position.  During that time, I was seated in an office off to the side where no one really checked on me. I was basically forgotten about.

It was by no means welcoming.

I would hear from reception:

“Who is Lauren?”

“Does anyone know a Lauren?”

To which the office would fill with yells; yes “yells”,

“Nope. Sorry!”

Receptionist would reply,

“Sorry Mr Smith, We don’t have a Lauren that works here.”

It was about now I had to go and introduce myself to Reception.

  • Who hired me? Who was paying me? Where was my induction?  I didn’t even know where the toilets were, the emergency exits or who I was reporting to.
  • Did I have a password? Was I a registered user of the trust accounting software so my “temp” role and notes could be tracked?
  • Did I have a timesheet or could I just leave at the end of the day?
  • Who were the people whose names were on the portfolio that I was doing lease renewals for?
  • Is there a system in place which they want me to follow? Or do I just send the lease with a notice to leave? Do I always do a CMA? Oh… do they use RP Data for this?
  • Who is this horrible woman eyeballing me from across the room? Oh… that is the Property Manager whom I have had to tell the Principal has not actioned lease renewals for the past 4 months and has 130 properties on periodic leases.

This particular role was not stressful just the abuse from the owners wondering why their tenant had not been on a lease for 12 months.

Luckily in this instance I was able to secretly put my consulting hat on and take a very unhappy owner and within 4 days his new lease was returned with a substantial rent increase and he became my best friend.

During my time in this office two people out of 30 introduced themselves to me. After 3 weeks, I was still hidden away and by this stage everyone knew who I was as I had introduced myself and my role.

This is the hardest job of a temp. They are brought into an unfamiliar office for sometimes as short as a week or two as the Property Manager has just walked out. And if that particular Property Manager did not leave notes – all they have to go on is Email searches which are sometimes like reading Nancy Drew novels.

We all know there are good PM’s. I loathe the term “bad” PM’s. Instead, I refer to those as “PMs’ who struggled with the workload”.  But you must realise how difficult it is to have a temp come into your office and pick up the pieces.  I call them Temp Private Investigators.

Don’t get me wrong we have gone to many offices that are what I call “WGT “(We Got This). These are the ones that have the computer passwords set up, the introductions sorted, a list of things to do and the friendly “Thank you Mrs. Temp for coming in and helping us out” attitude.

Please be nice to temps. I know you must show them around and they will be asking you questions about procedures and systems but they are there to help make your life that little bit easier.

And trying to get you to stop at just “one glass” of wine instead of a “bottle” a night.

Undercover temp, over and out……

 

Lauren Kropp

Director Real Strategix


When I began Real Strategix 3 years ago, as a first-time business owner I was overwhelmed by the amount of preparation and setup that I had to do.  As most of you know, it was a very stressful time and there was no way I could think about Social Media.

I didn’t know exactly how social media could help my business.  I knew that I needed a business Facebook page and then I would ask all my “friends” to like it.  YAY!  Within a week I had 100 likes on Facebook.

And then it all stopped.

How on earth could I get more “likes” on Facebook?

It was great that my aunty, mother- in- law and the neighbour down the road liked my business page. But in showing me support, does that mean they need Temporary Property Managers or Consulting?  What exactly is the point of liking my page outside showing their unconditional support?

I found Facebook groups where if you join, tag your business and like their page, they would like your page as well. EXCELLENT! Now I had 200 “likes” from all over the world. However, I still had dubious likes from people who would not be interested in our services.

It was then that I was advised by a contact to set up a “Personal Business Profile”. This way, people I knew in the real estate industry would friend me and we could like each other’s page. WOW – another 50 likes; this time GENUINE in nature.

I cannot tell you the amount of assignments we have been given due to the power of social media.  Just last week, I was personally tagged 7 times in one post for someone needing assistance in our area of expertise.  This was extremely humbling and to be honest, darn right satisfying. To top it off, we were awarded the assignment by the client!

I would much prefer to have a smaller number of genuine likes on our Facebook page than have a large number of followers that would have eventually blocked our posts.  Wouldn’t you?

Lauren Kropp – Director


I am going to touch on a subject that relates to everyone on a daily basis.

As business owners, do we name and shame customers that cost us money? 

I don’t care what business you operate.  I guarantee all of you have at least one customer who believes they are better than you and everyone else. That one customer will simply refuse to pay for services/products rendered.

We have quite a few!

It is very hard to sit back and watch while they keep trading with their big franchise name knowing that the smaller operators cannot afford the legal fees or resources to fight them.  It is unfortunate, but this is the way the world works.

We all have that account code in our accounting package called “bad debt”; but my question is why can’t we name and shame them?

It is not deformation if your facts are true and you have appropriate evidence and documentation.  You have surely been told before to “rise above” and they will get what is coming to them.

But how will they get what is coming to them if no-one speaks up?

Ethics is defined in the dictionary as “moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity”.  Every business course that you study generally has the topic of Business Ethics which touch on exactly this: How do I become a good business operator and be fair in your dealings with others?

What it doesn’t touch on is: How to deal with the emotions you feel when certain businesses believe they simply don’t have to pay you because they are the big dogs.

There is a real problem with the economy for small business and this is what lets us down.  This is why the big dog will always remain the big dog and small businesses will always remain that – small.  Unfortunately, the steps required to chase a bad debt are very costly and not to mention time-consuming.

  • Numerous phone calls and emails which are ALWAYS ignored.
  • Letter of Demand – generally not acknowledged
  • Solicitor letter (costly)
  • Local magistrates court application – time consuming, costly and will take a while for a hearing date
  • Hearing – This could go either way depending on the JP/Magistrate if the other party has justified evidence.

Not to mention the emotional strain and sometimes physical strain that is put on you and ultimately your family.

Personally, I am yet to find a good outcome on bad debts.  It seems that these particular egotistical customers pride themselves on their BIG branding and rely on the fact that the little people will simply “give up”.  I urge you not to.

If we want to set a good example for our generations to come, the one thing I want to teach my children is if you believe in something and feel you deserve to be paid….Fight.  Fight for what is yours.

Perhaps by naming and shaming, we can transfer the balance of power back to small business.  It may reduce the big dog’s bark to a whimper.

Lauren Kropp

Director – Real Strategix.


Outsourcing is a word which some Real Estate offices liken to religion – you just would not dare bring it up at the dinner table.

Property Managers are extremely passionate and opinionated. Meanwhile, all of you believe you know the BEST way of doing things or at least a way in which a task could be better managed.

There is no crime in that.  You simply care for the industry and want your office to be successful.  To be successful you have to have systems in place and systems need money. I know firsthand how hard it is to get Principals to open their wallet.  “It will increase productivity, it will increase profits, it will stop me drinking a bottle of wine each night” ….nope…you will still drink the wine but nice try…

Outsourcing costs money.  Many Principals look at outsourcing tasks as YOUR job. The Property Manager does the routines and/or the trust accounting or they employ someone to solely do that role.  I say “get with the times”.

When I began in Property Management in 1997, I would type a lease on carbon copy document with a type writer.  There were no such things as pool or smoke alarm compliance.  A lease was 2 pages long and there was such a thing as a holding deposit.

As times have progressed and legislation is much more comprehensive, agencies have to progress with it.  The demands on staff are just too high and if one thing is forgotten, it will generally cost the agency a minimum of a few hundred dollars to rectify.

Why not appoint specialist to perform these tasks; specialists with their own liabilities and own skills?  Would you ask your husband to install a new kitchen light or your wife to replace the hot water service?

You may think this is a little far-fetched as these types of jobs are done by trades who study for 4 years.  However how many times do we all read articles about the OFT placing agencies into involuntary liquidation or arresting staff for fraud as they have been mismanaging a million-dollar trust account?

One million dollars.

You are responsible for a one million dollar trust account and you allow an unqualified 24-year-old Property Manager to receipt the money and send it to the owners each month?

These tasks need to be outsourced to reputable trained specialists who do this day-in day-out just like an electrician installing lights.  Of course, this will cost your office money. However, it could stop unnecessary problems from occurring in the future. It will also free up the time of the team member who can now focus on what they were employed for which is to Manage the Property.

Protect your asset.

Lauren Kropp

Director Real Strategix.

 


Real Strategix have been providing temps for the Property Management industry for almost 3 years.  The last 6 months our revenue has increased dramatically – which is great for us but not great for the industry.

I have spoken to many contacts from employees seeking work, industry trainers, current employees and Principals to try and get to the bottom of the Great Property Management Black Hole of 2016 (that is what I am calling it anyway).

Upon my latest SEEK search for a Property Management position in Brisbane, 166 jobs came up.  The average salary for the last 10 jobs posted was $52,800.

What does this tell us?

  1. There are more Real Estates opening/expanding that the industry cannot staff.
  2. The salary package is not attractive enough
  3. Property Managers are unexpectedly leaving the industry.
  4. There is too much competition and Property Managers can jump from one job to the next provided there are more job openings.

I will address each of the options above individually and let you make the final judgment.

  1. There does seem to be a new Real Estate agency opening on every corner or new shopping village, this I agree. There is also an industry gain of Property Management agencies opening. These agencies do not generate sales.

Many of these agencies operate from home. They hire virtual assistants and generally have lower overhead costs. Thus, increased cost savings gives them the means to hire a part-time Property Manager. It should be noted that many of these Principals are Property Managers themselves.

They SHOULD not but because of lower overhead, many can reduce their fees and cover the additional wage.  These types of roles are very attractive as they are often “work from home” or “between school hours” which entices many Mums.

2. Salary package – Some of us look for the one thing in a salary package that means more to their situation than just $$$$$. It could be:

  • Hours of work
  • Flexibility
  • More quality time

You may think it is unrealistic but many people including myself, would take less money to have a good employer allow me to go to my son’s Easter concert at 2pm and divert the mobile phone any day!

However, this comes back to having good support staff.  As we know just because you turn your phone off at 5pm does not mean your day tomorrow will be any easier.  This brings me to my next point: “Department Support” which ultimately involves the Principal and Operations team.

Salary package does not just mean a flat wage. Principals need to be more creative in enticing a Property Manager they do not want to lose. A few suggestions are as follows:

  • Company car which is open for personal use
  • Incentives regardless of KPI’s or new managements
  • 1% to 2% revenue incentive for top performing Property Managers

I can assure you a great Property Manager will stay if he or she is invested in the company.

3. You will not keep good Property Management staff if you do not support and provide them with the training and systems they need to function in a stable and happy environment. Plain and simple.  The key lies in getting the Principal to understand this.

Unfortunately opening their eyes to this fact is a large reason that Property Mangers walk out of jobs.  The constant requests for assistance and systems then being repetitively turned down will always make a good team member walk. Hence, the many job opportunities.

4. The amount of job openings suggests that a Property Manager can leave your company after only 3 weeks, find a new job and simply indicate a “travel gap” in their resume.

From my observation, many Principals still hire Property Managers who have had 5 jobs in the last 12 months. This is because they prefer hiring permanent employees over temps at least until the right person is found.

All of these come down to one question, “Why do people temp?”

Traditionally, people become temps because they are either looking for permanent work or recently relocated. For women, they could be expecting and prefer reduced work hours.

Then you have the “Professional Temp” who makes more money than a permanent or regular employee.

Professional Temps have greater flexibility in their time. They can take vacations whenever they want. Unlike permanent employees, Professional Temps have the option of walking away from the portfolio once the contract has ended.

By all means this is not an ideal way to live as temp work is of course, temporary. But lately much has been said about the benefits of outsourcing work. Job designations such as trust account managers to routine inspection officers have been popularly outsourced to third party service providers.

Is professional temping then the new way to outsource?

Is this why we are ridiculously busy?  Are owners now becoming used to not having one particular person to deal with? One week it could be Tina, followed by Tracey and then Scott a week later?

Is this the new “normal”?

Lauren Kropp

Director – Real Strategix


We have all seen the show “Undercover Boss”.  There have been two instances over the past 2 years that I have placed myself in the relief management/temp world as an “undercover boss”.

What is it really like to be a relief manager?

“Easy” you’d think.

You just come in, do your job, leave at the end of the contract and get paid well.

You are greatly mistaken.

When I first put the feelers out about starting Real Strategix Relief Management Program it happened by sheer accident.

As you quite possibly know I am a Trainer. I have over 15 years’ experience in all aspects of Property Management, trust accounting and consulting.

I kept receiving calls from associates in the industry asking if I knew a Relief Manager. So I thought there is no way I can actually make my new business venture work unless I “Live it myself.”

Relief Management is different than Real Estate temping (which we also do) as relief managers are generally placed “alone” with no one to turn to. Many managers go overseas; some on cruise ships and you are given a half day handover if you are lucky.

I knew that due to my own professional experience that “I got this”. Admittedly, it was hard for me to take my consultant hat off and put my “Relief Manager” hat on. I knew I had to step up and be a Relief Manager if I wanted others to do so for my business.

I thought I was extremely over qualified for the job at hand. It was hard for me to sit in an office alone and just twiddle my thumbs.  It was a permanent complex with no office hours so I just sat there, waiting….

The first particular office did not know the extent of my background and had just heard through the grapevine that I might be interested.  They knew that I was a former property manager who was a new manager consultant and they trusted me with their business.

“I got this”.

Then the twiddling of the thumbs stopped with one phone call.

“Hi! I am Tash and the owner said that I could break my lease if I needed to because my husband was in the army and I may have to relocate.”

“Ok Tash that is fine. But you understand there is a break lease fee and you have to pay rent until the new tenant moves in and …”

And then “Tash” lost her banana peel…. She was livid, screaming at me that I should know; the notes should be there that the owner agreed when they moved in….bla bla bla…

There were no notes. I went through the software; files, emails and had to tell Tash to do same (she could not find anything in writing either). As far as legislation and her lease agreement showed, Tash was responsible for those payments.

Over the case of the 3 weeks I met many more Tash’s and it was then that I really understood the difficulty of being a Relief Manager.

Like Tash initially told me; when her head spun on her shoulders and smoke came out her ears, that when the onsite manager returned “yes Tash was right” it was a verbal agreement.

The owner somehow forgot to mention that to me…funny that.

As a Relief Manager, all they have to work with are the facts and what is written in front of them.

I am trained in 8 different trust accounting software and can tell you every one of them has a “notes” section and if you are not using it, it is what we call “Tash times”.

It is now the time to start.

Relief Managers are increasing their prices due to this very fact. They come into an unknown situation more like a private investigator. However, if resorts and complex owners are not diligent with their note keeping they are basically getting paid to be yelled at by Tash.

When Real Strategix receives a relief management enquiry, the first thing we tend to ask after the basic questions is if you have a “relief management bible” or a go to book.

If you have never had a property sell under your management or had to do an insurance claim or apply to QCAT for abandonment or have a guest destroy a room – I guarantee it will happen when a Relief Manager is there.

They need to know what you want them to do in this instance (yes a lot of it is legislation and they will know that) but “how much are incidentals, who is building insurance and with, the tractor that takes the bins out has broken down – who will fix it?

Start your bible NOW!

I also guarantee that you will NOT be 100% happy with your relief; they will do something different that you as a manager would not do and you will not be pleased.

But remember THEY ARE NOT YOU; they haven’t run the resort for 4 years.  They are there to help make your life a little bit easier so you can enjoy your holiday!

ONCE AGAIN – MAKE SURE YOUR RELIEF MANAGER HAS PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY INSURANCE!

Undercover boss, over and out……

 

Lauren Kropp

Director

Real Strategix


The rent roll has finally sold!!!  The Principal is ecstatic and so is the purchaser.

But are you?

Do you find yourself inundated by this set of questions?

  • “Is my job guaranteed?”
  • “Am I going with the new office?”
  • “Is this office staying or will I have to work elsewhere?”
  • “I have managed this portfolio for 2 years and no one has done a better job that I have. Should I look for another job?”

Or do you find yourself thinking this way?

“Thank god – no more dealing with that crazy owner Mrs Barnett. No more sitting across from that horrible Property Manager Hailey anymore. Maybe now I can make a clean break and get out of this industry and just live on an island with a case of Merlot.”

Does this sound familiar?

“All of the above Property Managers need to find a new job ASAP; you are all going to destroy the rent roll with your mind set.  The future is uncertain and in most instances you will be given a chance to prove yourself to the purchaser and be able to keep your job but you will more than likely go on a 3 – month probation.  Don’t be offended; this is normal procedure so you can both get a feel for each other’s business aspects and dealings.”

As you all know a rent roll is only worth the amount of properties signed on new agreements on or before the day of settlement.  Therefore, you have two choices

  • Assist and prove how bad ass you are and keep your owners, Principal and purchaser happy
  • Seek and destroy – don’t care – you are probably going to lose your job anyway.

Person number 2 is easily identifiable – don’t think for one second that you can hide your “don’t care” attitude.

That smile on your face cannot hide the fact that no notes are being placed in the trust accounting software, no phone calls or emails are being returned, the HARD tasks are being put off for tomorrow, the next day or the day after.

The complaint emails are being deleted. Tenants are being made inactive for arrears; printing and then reactivated again (yes this does happen) …

We are onto you….

Keep doing your job, keep your owners informed and make as many notes in the software as you can.

Complete all insurance claims, bond disputes, maintenance items and court proceeding documents to the best of your ability in the time frame before settlement.

If these will lapse over and the properties are signing to the new agency ADVISE the authority (bond, court etc.) of the date this will occur so they can expect a new representative.

Arrears – don’t give up!  Lease renewals – we all know it is better to have them on a lease rather than lapse and go periodic.

Have a list of all vacates and entries ready for the first week for the new agency.  Make sure all your properties keys are back and not with trades.

Hold your head high knowing that you are bad ass and no matter the outcome you have kept your reputation intact as (I am just going to say it) …

Property Management industry is like the TV show “Gossip Girl”; everyone knows you by reputation alone. Stand by your morals and your reputation will forever remain intact.

Lauren Kropp – Director Real Strategix


Increasing your fees

A Form 6/20A gives you the right to state your fees and you are free to negotiate these within legislation.  Of course there are industry standards which need to be reflected however as you are not a Real Estate Agent you simply cannot say “oh well we didn’t get that one, we will try for the next”.  Most of you can only obtain managements from within your complex.  When you miss out on one ….it hits you hard.

In saying that you need to believe in yourself and your ability and not undersell yourself. Inflation is a term that we are simply used to hearing along with the GFC.  “The pair of jeans I bought last year just isn’t on sale this year due to inflation”……..”We have not had a price increase in 5 years and therefore due to inflation we have had to increase our cost.”  Sound familiar….

Why can’t you do that too?  Surely you have purchased new booking software, PABX system, procedural system, stationary something that makes your service compliment your fee structure.

Below is an extract letter from our Manage It Right system that you can use if you wish to increase your fee.

 

RE: INCREASED FEE – (address)

Firstly everything is going well with your investment property.  The tenants are paying rent in advance and we have had no complaints. 

 We value you as a landlord and would like to thank you for choosing us to manage your property.

 We pride ourselves on offering a superior level of service and have made the decision that due to this we have reassessed our current fee structure to compliment the service that we offer you.

Our fees have not been reviewed in quite some time, they have slipped below industry standards and you will find a new management agreement with these fees outlined on (PAGE number)

 Please sign where indicated and return the new agreement to me at your earliest convenience.

 If you have any further concerns please do not hesitate to contact me on (email/phone number).

 Yours sincerely,

 

This leads me to industry standard…..

MANAGEMENT FEE:  QLD & NSW Permanent rentals can drop to as low as 6.6% however industry standard is still 7.50% Adelaide is about 8.8% and WA is around 9.35% (all plus GST), Holiday QLD is still approximately 12%.

Please keep in mind this fee is property negotiable – If the property requires a lot of maintenance, the owner needs to keep the rent low or the owner is simply difficult….more stress and work for you = get paid for it!

LETTING FEE: QLD is one week’s rent plus GST other states can and will charge up to 2 weeks plus GST.  If it means gaining a new management try and negotiate to half a week’s rent plus GST.

LEASE RENEWAL FEE:  This is the most undercharged fee of all…and easiest to obtain.  Almost as much work goes into a lease renewal than a new tenancy.  How long will you spend on administration, getting smoke alarms checked, liaising with owners on rent increases?

Industry standard is anywhere from $55 to a full week’s rent in some states.  Personally I feel a full week is too much as you have not had to do the application process for a new tenant however half a week’s rent I believe is fair considering the amount of hours it would take and you need to cover a wage to perform the task.

Many of you will not be charging this.  Based on $150 per property, if you have 30 properties under your management and each tenant renews every 6 months – you have given away $9000 per year.

ADMIN FEE:  $5.50 minimum as great as $12.00 per month

ROUTINE INSPECTIONS:  These are not commonly charged in Management Rights due to “you don’t have to go far shouldn’t it be covered under your management fee”.  I tend to agree…however there would be nothing wrong with you charging a small administration cost for the report…i.e. $11.00

TRIBUNAL, REFURBISHMENT & INSURANCE FEE: Industry standard remains at $55 per hour.

Remember to ‘sell’ and believe in your ability.  I guarantee when you roll out these fees that you will get phone calls from disgruntled owners, however if you can justify the reasons you will surprise yourself.

If you would like any more information or just want to discuss possible outcomes please don’t hesitate to give me a call.

Lauren Kropp – Director – Real Strategix.

 

 


Unfortunately, in this day and age, it is almost necessary for a Property Manager or leasing consultant to complete a course in self-defence along with their registration.

I began asking Property Managers if any have had scary encounters whilst at a tenant’s premises.  Statistically speaking, 1 in 5 had some sort of scare.  I personally, have been pushed against a wall, whilst carrying out an exit inspection, by the outgoing tenant.  This drew me to the conclusion to NEVER agree to conduct the inspection with them present.

Routine inspections, if carried out correctly, should be fairly straight forward and the tenant should, in most instances, be aware that you are coming.  However, if a tenant forgets or simply did not get the notice, when a Property Manager turns up on their door step they are instantly frustrated, mad, and unhappy that you want to come in.   This is your fist decision in safety.

1) Enter and be prepared to be abused or put in an uncomfortable situation or 2) apologise and ask them when it suits for you to come back.

The first option is the safest, but this scenario could also be avoided if you have a team member make a courtesy phone call, or even an SMS, the day before the inspection to remind the tenant.  This way you will not have to be put in a threatening situation, or have to reschedule, and your inspection dates can stay on track.

On occasions, you will enter the property and find no one home – until of course you open a bedroom door and find them sleeping.  If you continue to carry out the inspection you will be putting yourself in danger.  If the tenant wakes up they may think you are an intruder and attack you, so in this instance it is best to leave a card on the bench or at the front door on your way out, and contact them by telephone later that day to explain and reschedule.

We are entertained on a daily basis, as Property Managers, as to the different types of personalities that we come across.  A Property Manager is really a “Problem Solver”.  Sometimes the tenants we deal with will not be happy with the way we solved the problems and will instantly take a dislike to you.  These types of tenants still need routine inspections carried out.  Every office should have a policy that if a Property Manager does not feel comfortable going alone to a certain property that another staff member attends also.

If, at any stage, you do not feel comfortable going to a property alone, you MUST discuss this with your Department Manager, or Principal, as there is nothing more important than one’s own safety.

At times, however, you may not know you are about to enter a threatening situation, so  below are a few tips that you should always do before, and while at, EVERY routine inspection.

  • Check the history notes in your trust accounting software. Generally speaking if a Property Manager has had a threatening situation before with a tenant, they will have logged notes.
  • Colour Flag the office copy of the key.  Create an office rule that, if you have an aggressive or abusive tenant, a little red tag is put on the set of keys, so that if a team member or a tradie is going to the property, for any reason, the flag is already raised.
  • Have your office on speed dial and always keep your mobile phone in your hand/pocket for ease to call.
  • Keep the front door open so if something happens, you can make a quick getaway. I personally tell the tenants if they are home that “our office policy is that the door remains open at all times for personal safety reasons, and that I am not singling them out we just keep our policies streamlined across the board – I then make a joke to lighten the mood that I would ask the same from an 80 year old grandma, especially those with walking sticks!
  • Always call out twice when you “partially” open the door yourself, and wait at least 60-90 seconds before entering. This will allow someone time to get to the door if they were up the end of the house, or you will find out if they have a dog in the house that may attack you.
  • Ask the tenant on the phone call /text the day before the inspection to please make sure all animals be tied up outside as you need access to the entire property (this will keep the savage dogs at bay)
  • Ask your Principal to send you to a self-defence course – this is not a joke. An employer will want you to feel comfortable and to be able to protect yourself.

The most important thing to remember is that you know your gut feelings better than anyone else and, if for one slight second you feel uneasy make an excuse to leave immediately.  Illness is always a believable excuse, something as simple as “I am sorry but I do not feel well at all and I have to leave, the office will be in touch to reschedule.”

If, of course, your office does not want their Property Mangers carrying out Routine inspections, companies such as Real Strategix can do them for you.

 

Lauren Kropp

Director

Real Strategix

 

 

 


The main reason that I am called to consult in management rights offices is organisation.  You have just completed your RLA course and purchased your management rights…..how hard can it be?

Whether you run a holiday resort or permanent complex, have 15 or 80 in your letting pool your work load will increase if you do not have an organised work place.

Many years ago we would have been able to run an office without a computer but these days due to the severity of fines from legislation requirements we are thankful to have the use of computers.  The first step in organisation is obtaining software that is easy to use.  Over the period of a year most subscription based software companies will charge in excess of $1000.  This may seem like a lot but for what you receive in return it is well worth it.  It is also tax deductable. There is no point in paying the subscription without the correct training and correct training leads to utilising the software to its maximum potential.  You may think that your simple to use trust accounting software is just there to receipt and perform your end of month…..this is not the case.  Most programs assist you with your maintenance, arrears, RTA forms, booking confirmations, and also have the ability to merge all tenant/guest and owner information to your letters that are on your computer.

Which leads me to the second item that will help you with organisation.  Your office system… obtaining or creating your own letters and forms that you can use on a day to day basis.  You may be lucky enough to purchase Management Rights with an extremely helpful outgoing manager that may have left behind their letters for you to use…..for many though this is not the case.

Property Management will throw twists and turns at you on a daily basis and a lot of the time it is the administration tasks that are the toughest.  You are beginning end of month process on your computer while you have the tenant from unit 1 on the phone complaining about the tenant in unit 2 and in front of you is a prospective tenant/guest who wants to register their details.  If you are an organised office you will have a ‘complaint register’ form which can easily be emailed to the tenant of unit 1 to complete, whilst on the phone you can turn around and hand the prospective tenant a ‘seeking property’ form to complete which leaves you to carry on with your end of month.

Having the tenant/guest complete these forms helps you in two ways…..1) the information is in writing for future reference and 2) your time is precious and you can deal with the required action once you have prioritised it.

If you do not have the time to write or create the required forms or letters yourself there are industry professionals such as Real Strategix that will provide these for you for a small amount of money which again is tax deductable.

Item 3 – Everything has a place.  I do not mean sticky notes have a place all over the desk and up the wall.  “I know I wrote it down on a sticky note” and you look up and you see your desk and side of your computer screen covered in sticky notes.

My advice is to have two desk trays.  One is your ‘in tray’ for work that needs to be completed and the other is for important documents that you need to get your hands on quickly.  (i.e. – tariffs, by laws etc.).   EVERYTHING else needs to be in your filing cabinet in labelled suspension files or ring binders.  It is time to write that RTA bond cheque and now you need to attach the bond lodgement forms….where are they?  Rather that search the property files for them or the pile on your desk, once they are signed put them all in a folder labelled “bonds to be lodged”.

Once you have attended to the above three items you will notice your productivity increase, your stress levels decrease and you will have more time to spend with your loved ones.

Management Rights can be extremely daunting and you will find that it isn’t just your office in a mess and other managers feel the same.  The quicker you get systems in place the more confident you will feel.

If you would like any more information or simply need Real Strategix help with any of the above please do not hesitate to contact us.


Whether it is routine maintenance, emergency repairs, lease renewals or property vacancies, you will always have the landlord asking you to explain the necessity and costs involved.  Property Management over the last decade has become much harder, and time consuming, as legislation has changed and people are taking others to tribunal over the smallest of things.

The first lease I prepared was in 1997. It was typed on a typewriter with carbon copies, and there was no such thing as inventories, CMA’s or online bookings.  If someone had told me that in 18 years’ time (now I feel old) we would be arranging smoke alarms to be checked for every new lease I don’t think I would have believed them.

This is what owners are also having trouble understanding.  With regards to legislative items such as smoke alarm checks, blind compliance and pool certificates, the simplest way to explain your reasoning of these charges is that owners simply do not have a choice.  If an owner refuses to comply, you as a managing agent must cease management of the property or else you will be the one at tribunal. My advice is to include these in a monthly/quarterly newsletter or as a note on all owners statements along the lines of ‘’you may notice additional charges appear on your statements over the coming months for smoke alarm servicing these are legislative requirements and MUST be performed.  Please see attached information”.

Signing of a Form 6:  It still bewilders me that upon due diligences there are still agencies that do not have a signed copy of either a 20A or a Form 6 on file.  I am not talking hard copy but even just a scanned copy.  The rules are the same – without a copy signed, if the owner refuses you must immediately give the property to them to self-manage.  I will also point out the rule is quite simple – if OFT find out you are managing a property without an agreement , you have been illegally representing the owner and should not have been collecting any fees for the entire period you have acted without a signed agreement.  Therefore, you will have to refund ALL fees collected back to the landlord and face a heavy fine from the OFT.

Maintenance:   This is by far the toughest item to be agreed upon.  Although there is that lovely little section in the management agreement where the landlord indicates they agree for you to spend $500.00 or 2 weeks rent (for example) I highly doubt they will be happy when you spend $450 on general repairs that may not have been urgent but make the tenant more comfortable.  The phone call comes in and the irate landlord asks you why you repaired the curtain rod, loose toilet seat and dripping tap without their knowledge and you reply that the tenant requested it to be done.  A landlord will not find this answer acceptable.  Dealing with tenant maintenance requests that are not urgent is always difficult and each landlord will also view these maintenance items differently.

In short there are 2 types of landlords

1)      Mr & Mrs “we appreciate your looking after our home as if it is yours”

2)      Pay me the rent to pay my mortgage and that is all I care about.

Owner type 1 will appreciate that you are trying to keep the property well maintained, as well as making the tenant live as comfortably as possible so that they continue to remain great tenants and pay their rent on time and will live at their property for as long as possible.  This tenant will understand that the landlord repairs things so the $10 rent increase will be justifiable.

Owner type 2 – Not so much!  This is what we call a “tread carefully owner”.  This owner will likely threaten to take the management off you at least twice in a 2 year period.  The best way to approach this situation is to advise them that the repairs are necessary to avoid any unnecessary disputes, as tenants are very ‘legislation canny’ and to also mention that upon lease renewal we may look at increasing the rent.  Similar to above, but the mention of more income is a focus.  Beware not to promise though, due to CMA’s in the area this may not be possible when the lease is due for renewal.  You may also need to remind this owner that they signed the section above allowing you to spend $$ without notification and if they would like that to be amended you are happy to do so.  You may also like to mention that part of your job as managing agent is to maintain the property for the landlords benefit as well.

In saying that, you as the agent need to determine one thing ….is it worth it?  If the property is boutique maybe it is, but if it is $300 per week with 7% fees, it may not be worth it.  An onsite manager may view this differently, of course, as the complex is their livelihood.

Lease renewals:   “no, I don’t care if the tenants are on a lease”.  The agency cares because generally you will receive a lease renewal fee.  A rent roll valuation is favourable – fixed term leases attract more income, the structure of a fixed term tenancy makes it much easier to prepare (busy periods, lease expiries, actioning rent increases within legislation etc).  Owners need to feel that their half weeks’ lease renewal fee of $200 is warranted…what will they get for it?

1)      Financial security

2)      No insurance issues – Besides your industry insurers, AON, EBM, Terri Scheer etc some insurance companies such as banks, home insurers etc do not cover landlord insurance if tenants are on periodic leases.

3)      Rent increases can be written into leases these days so there is nothing wrong with a 12 month lease with an increase after 6 months.

Property Vacancies:   We have been lucky in QLD of late that vacancy rates are very low.  However, some owners expect you to find them a tenant a day after the other tenant vacates.  The general turnaround time should be close to a week minimum to allow the Property Manager time to perform the vacate inspection, have the tenant attend to anything they need to, plus have any maintenance carried out.  This needs to be explained to your owner by the BDM upon signing the management agreement.

The majority of the time that properties cannot rent could be due to rent being too high.  A property should not be listed prior to 4 weeks from vacate date or it will become stale.  The average person needs to give 2 weeks’ notice to vacate and will begin looking 2 weeks before this notice. The property manager/leasing consultant will perform the CMA and advise the owner of what they feel we be an achievable rent.  If an owner is insisting on a higher rent you need to advise them that you are happy to try higher for a 2 week period but if the property does not generate interest in that time they will need to look at dropping the rent.  For some reason, owners see $450 (what they want) compared to the $430 you are advising, as a massive difference in rent, but they forget that for every week the property is vacant they have lost $430….which actually negates the $20 per week increase over 21 weeks (for each empty week).

The sign up process with a tenant, and owner, is the most important thing to cease objections.  If you advise them of all your systems and procedures at the get go this will generally halt a lot of objections at a later date.  The sign ups may take longer but this will stop a lot of irate phone calls in the future.

We are here to help at Real Strategix, if you have any questions or would like some advice please contact us.


Currently, the average life span of a Property Manager is 9 months, causing a constant headache for a principal with an average rent roll of approximately 500 properties employing 3 portfolio Property Managers.  Three Property Managers, all of whom have 4 weeks annual leave per year meaning that as the business owner, you need to cover 12 weeks holidays.  The solution, “Bring in the Temp…..”

The thought of utilising a temping agency scares a lot of Principals but more so it scares the Property Manager going on leave.  In most occasions you will find the Property Manager would prefer to have their work escalate and return from leave busier than ever than to have a temp come in for a week and make things worse.

Larger offices will have a ‘floater’.  A floater is exactly that.  They cover the holidays, are familiar with clients, staff and procedures but the down side is they are another full time wage that many offices simply cannot afford.

Hiring a temp does not have to be scary if you employ a specialised agency to source a temp for you.  Most Property Management recruitment agencies will focus purely on permanent staff but some may also provide temporary assignments.

There are generally 3 types of Property Management temps.

1)      The temp who comes in and decides to change all your systems and procedures

2)      The temp who will answer the phone but does little more.

3)       The professional temp.

Part of my role as Director of Real Strategix is to find the professional temp!  A person might look great on paper, however, once they are in the role – they can often turn into a number 1 or a number 2 temp!

If you are sourcing a temp, there are a few ways to find out if the temp agency has completed an appropriate candidate review.

Ask the agency if they have placed this candidate before and if so, for how long.  If it was only a couple of days, make sure that you request a verbal report on the person and ask if you can call the office which utilised them. (they may not allow this due to privacy restrictions, in which case you could ask the agency if the office could call you)

If the appointment was for an extended period, a good question to ask is whether the candidate was offered a full time role when their temp contract ended….this obviously confirms that they are a good worker.

Ask the agency if this temp is covered under their Professional Indemnity Insurance and if not, hang up the phone!

Remember that you are the client and the temp agency is technically applying for a job….ask the agency if they personally would allow this candidate to work in their offices….if they stutter or stumble then you do not want this candidate working in YOUR office.

A temp in QLD (Real Strategix only specialises In QLD temping so I cannot comment on specifics for other states) is allowed to be contracted to an agency for no longer than 30 days at a time.  Even though you would obviously prefer a Property Management Temp who has actually held current registration previously, this is not a requirement, the reason being that a ‘temp’ is not employed under your workplace employment agreement.  However, temps are NOT allowed to perform the following duties of a registered Property Manager:

  • They cannot sign the following:    RTA forms, any Agreements and/or trust account receipts.
  • They cannot make a final decision on tenancy applications or major maintenance approval without obtaining approval from either the landlord affected or a Property Manager.

 

With that being said there is still a great deal that a Property Management Temp can assist with such as:

  •  Phone calls, emails, fax enquiries
  •  Arrears & maintenance
  • Landlord, tradesperson & tenant liaison
  •  Tenancy documentation (renewals, bond increases, lease or vacating preparation)
  • Tenancy Application checks & bond finalisation
  • Inspections

Basically, treat your temp as you would anyone working in your agency who does not have a current registration.

If you would like any additional information on employing a temp at your agency please do not hesitate to contact me.

Lauren Kropp

Director/Consultant – Real Strategix

 


We have all had them.  They are the ones that when the receptionist says “Sue Jones is on the phone”…..you shudder and say “tell her I am not in”.

Unfortunately with a tenant like that….they will not go away.  They will not forget why they called and the longer that you leave returning that phone call…..the more disgruntled Sue Jones will be.

Unfortunately when a tenant is irate or disgruntled the saying “out of sight out of mind” definitely does not come into play.  The saying that seems to work the best in these cases is “actions speak louder than words”.  Confront the situation and advise the tenant what steps you have taken to show that you have ‘listened’.

Generally a tenant just wants to be heard.  They want to feel that their issue has been addressed.  These days’ tenants seem to have a lot more rights than they did 10 years ago and they know what these rights are.

A few years ago I had a tenant 30 days behind in rent crying to me that I was mean throwing her out on the street……2 days later I spotted her in the local pub feeding $50 notes through a pokie machine.

Unfortunately as agents, situations like these are frustrating.  We have to follow the correct procedures in legislation however as hard as we try and explain it to our landlords, as far as the landlord is concerned we have not done our job properly.

The definition according to Wikipedia of ‘Property Management’ is “Property management is the operation, control, and oversight  real estate as used in its most broad terms. Management indicates a need to be cared for, monitored and accountability given for its useful life and condition.

From my experience the definition of a Property or Onsite Manager can be summed up in 2 words PROBLEM SOLVER.

As with any problem comes a solution.  For the solution to be exposed the key is ‘people skills’.  As hard as it is in many cases the only thing that will calm an irate tenant down is to simply listen.  If you show anger or frustration this will only escalate the situation.  If the tenant is interfering with your place of business (i.e. – screaming at the reception desk) simply ask them to please come outside to discuss this and give your receptionist the look of “get ready to dial 000 if I am not back in 10 minutes!”

Strangely enough there is nothing more calming to a tenant if when they are angry you nod your head and smile back whilst uttering “I understand your frustration”.  I have implemented those words in EVERY confrontation with a tenant that I have ever had over the past 10 years and it has calmed the situation down EVERY time.  You are not saying that you agree with them or accepting fault you are simply saying that you understand that they are frustrated (which is evident by the way they are speaking to you).

Threatening a tenant that you will end their lease or increase the rent (besides being unethical) will only make matters worse as the tenant will “call the RTA” or “their very good Property Management friend” and then the argument will start with another source or with advice from a third a party.

In this day and age with violence seeming to be only increasing you need to be looking out for your safety and also that of your staff.  People are extremely unpredictable.  A number of years ago I was evicting a tenant who was extremely unhappy to receive the notice to leave that I had issued. She must have been waiting by the office for me in her vehicle as part way home I noticed I was being followed.  She then pulled up at the traffic lights behind me where she waived a knife at me.  Needless to say I drove to the nearest police station.

I urge you to take care in your place of business and give the phrase “I understand your frustration” a go.

One final thing…..the tenant with the knife was also the tenant feeding $50 notes into the pokie machine!!!

If I can be of assistance with any situation please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Lauren Kropp

Director – Real Strategix

info@realstrategix.com.au