When I am asked the answer is simple, a person who assists you with your Property Management Department.  That is such a ridiculously broad generalisation and needs to be addressed with greater thought.

Did you know a Property Management Consultant does not have to have their Property Management Registration or Cert 4 in Training and Assessing? They do not have to have ever worked in the industry.  The simple reason is that they are a “consultant”.  A consultant is a person who provides expert advice professionally.

I would never have dreamed of specialising in a role and give expert advice to someone and had not completed what I call the “minimum” requirements of any consultant in our industry and I feel like I need to address it.  This is purely my view and not governed by legislation.

  • 10 years operational experience as a minimum
  • ALL aspect training (reception – senior – trust accountant – Business Management)
  • Technology
  • Personality and training in how to overcome objections, how to liaise with customers and staff members.
  • HR training

Do you think a Doctor finishes their qualification and the next day cuts into someone’s head – “NO” they are not a brain surgeon.

It literally baffles me why a person would employ a gardener to cut down 20-metre-tall trees or get a dog groomer to de-sex a dog.  That just wouldn’t happen – you would call in a specialist of all areas pertaining to the task at hand.  A person that can place themselves in ANY and EVERY aspect of the business they have been brought into to assist and in turn give the client 100% quality service.

Time and time again, we get phone calls to “consult” in an agency to which we are told that they found a friend of a friend that can assist them for less than half our price per hour.  What are you ALWAYS told when negotiating management fees – DO NOT negotiate your worth?  If you want superior service pay superior fees.  If you want a monkey assisting your office … pay peanuts.

Sure, we have lost many jobs by not negotiating as have you no doubt with both Sales and Property Management fees but I will NEVER negotiate my worth, knowledge and joy that I bring to the industry of which I love and have worked so hard for, for well over 20 years.   50% of the consulting jobs that we have “lost” to cheaper competitors with only 2-5 years’ experience do eventually come back to us admitting their error of judgement.

This really hits home for me when I think back to the times that as a Property Manager I would not negotiate my fees and sure enough six months later the landlord came back to me after realising the agency they had in fact given their property to was not licensed with the OFT.

Think carefully before handing your agency over to someone that may not have the qualification that you require to help achieve profitability and productivity of your department.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing your own due diligence on any consultants as you would an employee as ultimately, they will be the ones implementing new strategies and changes to your business, your livelihood.

Interviews, for most are a dreaded process, but they can be made easier. Having been a Recruitment Manager for approximately 3 years before that I was an Office Manager and I still remember what it is like to see both sides of this process. Admittedly I was the interview prep queen, biased and self-diagnosed of course and I have listed a few tips below that I look for when interviewing candidates and some tips that might just make the process a little easier for you as a candidate.

Interview week:  Seek every bit of information you can find about the company you are interviewing with including location of the office, parking options, travel times in peak periods and of course alternate routes for road closures. Research the company values, read all their social media pages, reviews, what their loyal customers have to say about them, if they are local to you maybe even ask around to see what their reputation is like by word of mouth.

Make sure you know as much about the role as they have provided you.  If you’ve been given a brief take the time to read it and make notes. Write down questions for the interviewers as remember it is a two-way street, so you need to be comfortable and ask everything in the interview process that you need.

Interview day: Wear professional attire.  Tip – use their company website pictures to find the vibe of the attire beforehand so you are not overdressed or underdressed.  Call the office and confirm the interview time with the company and from an interviewer point of view this can be very appealing knowing that someone took the time to confirm the interview and it also shows great time management skills.

When you arrive at the building making sure you have allowed enough time to park and get out of your car, without rushing. I cannot tell you the amount of times I can see the sweat on faces arriving on the dot of the interview with the excuse ‘I couldn’t find a park’.

When you arrive at reception, make sure you are very forthcoming, speak loud enough for people to hear you and confidently. Ensure you treat the receptionist as you would want to be treated yourself and don’t forget your manners. They generally have other work to do and seating 10+ interviews per day might not be high on their list of tasks. Keep in mind a potential employer may go to reception and ask the team member if anyone stood out.  Don’t you want to be the receptionist’s pick?

Finally, after a week-long wait and preparation your name is called to go into the conference room and you are ready to be asked a lot of questions and many that you will not see coming! Again, make sure you are confident, assertive and speaking at a sound level. Ensure you are listening to all the questions asked and answering them accordingly.

Personally, when I am the interviewer if a candidate asks me questions in return I find that they seem more interested in the role and what we have to offer. This is a positive tick in my book. The last thing an interviewer wants is to be talking to themselves and even worse having someone nodding in front of them. Make sure you are asking all the questions you need for the position being offered so you know the full expectation if you are successful in obtaining the role.

Don’t be afraid to tell the company how proud and excited you would be to represent them either.  They want people who are going to be loud and proud advocates for the company, not those who just want a pay cheque every week. When your interview ends, it is courteous to thank the interviewers for their time in both reviewing your application and the interview itself. They might have seen many applications and even though it was necessary it is always great to feel like your work was appreciated by someone.

And lastly no matter the result if you walk out of the interview happy with how prepared you were, even if you aren’t successful you will know that you put your best foot forward. You are also welcome to ask for feedback if you are not successful and there is an opportunity for that to be given to help you in the future – remember there is nothing wrong with constructive criticism.

The above method should apply to all positions that you interview for whether it be casual, permanent, or a temporary period. Every employer wants to add that sparkle to their team and showing that you are prepared and ready could be the sparkle they were looking for.


Ruby Nicolia – Recruitment Manager – Real Strategix

When Real Strategix began 4 years ago I began personally “temping” to pay the bills while I established myself as an independent consultant.  Once word got out of the niche service Real Strategix supplied I literally thought that I could be a full-time TEMP and make far more money than any Principal could pay me.  I could pick my own hours, I was able to make afterschool sports, I was able to be a mum and be home for my kids.  I thought at the time that the reason why people were being so flexible was an egotistical one that they were so happy to have me on board to assist in any way due to my 2 decades in the industry and my established career.  I was wrong.  4 years later this is still the case for any good temp and I will tell you why.

The industry is in dire need of assistance.  Property Managers are job jumping due to having the ability to do just that.  If they have a disagreement with the office manager or the other property manager, they simply can up and leave and find another job the next day.  Employers are NOT checking references and employees are giving out friend’s names to call.  “This is Mary’s number she was my senior 3 years ago but does not work for ABC Real Estate anymore “.  This is not a good enough reference check – Mary is possibly a friend who more than likely did work with the potential employee, however, Mary will NOT tell you the real reason this person left the role because …they are friends.

We hear it far too often when reference checking our temps and our recruitment team are under strict instruction that if we cannot speak to the supervisor or an office manager who is currently still at ABC Realty then I am sorry we are not willing to take a risk on placing you in an office that needs a temp for 2 reasons

  • A temp is there to assist and make the office run smoother and if we don’t know your history and how you work then I am sorry it is hard enough to be understaffed let alone having a “nightmare” temp as well
  • Our reputation is everything. We pride ourselves on “not just sending anyone” We would rather miss out on a contract than have a “nightmare” temp make thing’s even worse.

Every one of our temps can tell you that our screening process is thorough – we get told this quite a bit that we are a lot harder and enforce more rules than other agencies.  Sometimes we have applicants turn us down due to our procedures, but you know what – this is fine with me.  If you are not willing to abide by our rules and regulations to ensure we are providing the best applicants to an industry in need then I am sorry we have dodged a bullet and so has the agency we would have sent you to.

Agency owners I am sure you have similar screening and reference checking procedures as you are employing staff on a permanent basis however we have to be far more strict as we are sending in temps to generally in most instances clean up a mess and I can tell you first hand having done the temp role personally that walking into an office that has had a Property Manager leave unexpectantly that the temp having to play private investigator is by far the toughest job they will have.  Our team are strong and ethical and have been literally “put through the ringer” to become temps.  We also sit them for skills tests, search them on social media, they must undertake a phone interview followed by a preliminary interview with a recruitment assistant and then if deemed suitable they then have a final interview with our Recruitment Manager.

You may be thinking “overkill” but we do not.  From sitting in every single role since I was 17 years old beginning as a Receptionist through to Senior Property Manager, Department Manager, Trust account Manager and now Consultant and Trainer and Assessor I can tell you – we NEED to send you the right people or they will be making your life even harder.  Personally, I feel that if you or another recruitment agency is NOT doing the listed procedures then they are failing you.  It hurts me to say but we all know there are some bad eggs out there and the last thing that you want is one to end up on your lap so please make sure when recruiting you are thorough do not think that because Sally has a lovely smile and told you the horrible story about what her last employer did to her is the best fit for your agency, Sally is not.

Lauren Kropp

Director – Real Strategix

They are simple words that some might think is just common courtesy but as a Recruitment Manager that spends 30% of my job prospecting and cold calling, I can tell you, it’s no longer what I consider ‘common’.
When out and about prospecting I walk into a Real Estate agency and say politely while smiling “Hello, I am Ruby from Real Strategix and I am wondering if I can leave something for your Principal and Property Management Department.”
Having personally worked in Property Management I do understand how busy everyone is so I actually don’t like to ask for the Principal to speak with as I feel that is an imposition on a day to day running’s of an office without an appointment.
The most common answer is “We’re not interested in any services’”.
Sometimes surprisingly, I am the only one saying” Thank you’ or “Goodbye” while they stare me out the door. Firstly, the receptionist doesn’t even know if the brochure comes with doughnuts or something of great value or if it is a business offer. They don’t wait to find out. I too have been on reception and know the pressure on reception staff to not allow their team to be disrupted by “sales pitches” however not all walk-ins are demanding to speak to the business owner. Naturally, it is not always Reception staff so please don’t think I am directing this at you as I have had similar occurrences with the Office Manager or even Principal themselves who have been in the reception area.
It should be a common human courtesy to at least let someone tell you what they are selling or offering before you jump to conclusions?
It is now water off a duck back to me having done this for 3 years and if I was to let the unpleasantries stop me then I would almost never have clients to assist. 90% of the offices that wouldn’t let me give them information to keep come back to me months or sometimes days later themselves and ask about our services and ask to meet me for information. When I happen to mention that I dropped into their office numerous day’s ago, they are almost always gobsmacked trying to track down who was at reception to reprimand them.
I understand that sometimes cold calls and drop in’s can be time-consuming for staff, but as a receptionist being front of the office, first impressions and treating someone in such a way, you would likely second guess renting your investment through that agency 10 years down the track due to the experience you had. I’m certain if I walked in as an investor I would be treated with a gold standard but why shouldn’t the same respect be given to all equals?
We all have a job to do at the end of the day, and showing respect to those around you, and treating them and speaking to them how you would like to be spoken to, would make the world a slightly happier place, for all the cold callers, receptionists and even Property Managers.
By the way, I will shortly be looking for my own family home and so will many other “prospectors” coming to your office…..food for thought.

This day and age if you are not utilising Facebook to promote your business you are greatly behind the times.  I am sure some of you think that you honestly do not have time for this as well as running your business.

You need to make the time.  Our business has doubled in clients over the past 2 years purely due to either word of mouth referrals on Facebook as that is the ONLY way we advertise.

We do not pay for advertising for our temp or consulting services anywhere else.  I may place a Facebook ad once every 4 months to generate more interest surrounding our page with a maximum spend of $75 however other than that our marketing team and myself “stalk” people on Facebook.  In a nice way – let me explain what I mean by that.

Assuming that you are in Real Estate if you are reading this; Sales or Property Management, you have a much easier target audience than we do as EVERYONE is your client.   Everyone will need a home to buy or rent or sell at some stage.  We naturally need to find employees of agencies preferably decision makers to “like” our page and interact with us on social media.

You can “Friend” anyone and it does not necessarily have to be people in your local area as many of you know investors do not necessarily reside near their properties.

  1. Start with your buy, swap and sell groups – join these if you haven’t already as they are generally near your area and could potentially become clients in some form at a later date.
  2. Join in community projects & markets and “like” their pages and again you will find more people to interact with.
  3. EVENTS – monitor the events near your area that are listed on Facebook to find more locals near your core area/s.
  4. Comment or like people’s posts and click on the links if they have posted videos as Facebook knows if you are simply scrolling and not interacting with your news feed and will therefore not allow your posts to pop up on as many people’s feeds as you would like.
  5. If you are wanting more people to see your posts you need to ask your team to “like”, “comment” and “share” your posts when they see them. Every time someone interacts with your post by doing one of these your post will go back up the top of the news feed.  We have found that if we post on Facebook and a few people comment that throughout the day we will schedule our replies or likes to their comments a few hours apart as that will then generate more audience interaction and eyes on the post.  The post will then appear at the top of the news feed at least 3 times more that day in return more people will see it.
  6. One final tip – DO NOT friend request more than 10-15 people per day as Facebook will know that they could not possibly be all genuine friends and may block you or give you a warning.

I hope this article has helped you in some way to GET WITH THE TIMES and utilise this free social media platform more often to assist your business.

We offer training in this if anyone is interested please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Lauren Kropp – Director.

15 years ago, there was no such title as “Business Development Manager or Business Development Officer”, and really – what is the difference between those 2 titles anyway?  Another one I like is Client Services Officer, or New Business Consultant.  These titles are simply that – titles.  In most instances, you can choose which you feel is more appropriate.  However, the role is the same and the end goal is identical: to get new listings for the Property Management department.

Each agency will have different techniques, systems, documents, and procedures for you to follow. But, the best way of advertising your services are often missed and not included in these areas mentioned.  It is free, and adds far more punch to any letter or email.  What is it?

Social media.

The BEST form of adverting and interacting with your audience.  You may think – “yes, I do this, I post on Facebook”, but what you are forgetting is ‘so does everyone else’.  A few tips and tricks for you to follow, to stand out:

  • You MUST think outside the box and be entertaining. A picture of a house and a caption saying “just listed $350 per week perfect for family“is simply not enough these days to catch someone’s eye.  Why not add a picture of a person screaming in joy and jumping in the background with a caption “OMG I found my next home” – the OMG must be eye catching, to make the audience stop and read the post.  Posts like these will take extra time to create but you will generally get 25% more audience attention, and more likes.
  • More likes – Just this week I posted one entertaining item, that wasn’t even about real estate, that had 67 post views. All it took was for 1 person to tag a friend in that post (as she found it funny) and it immediately jumped to 364 views and one of those new viewers also tagged one person and the post had 843 views.  From this post, instantly we had 8 more people “like” our page.  8/843 is not a lot you may think; however it is 8 more than yesterday.
  • Genuine likes – Having grandma and your aunty like your page is fantastic support but ‘are they really your target audience’, you may think. In the Real Estate world – everyone is your target audience, everyone needs a home whether it be to buy or rent, live in or as an investment, holiday home or for a friend – all likes in this industry are genuine.  For BDM’s and salespeople don’t forget to include “agency tenants” as your target audience. These tenants will hopefully eventually buy a home and if you treat them well it will be with you.
  • One person – that is all it takes to generate more audience interaction. Why not ask your staff members to also “like”, share or tag people in your posts?  Remember that Facebook, Instagram, and Linked In all work the same way that any audience interaction takes that particular post to the top of the news feed so if you spread this out throughout the day your post will keep being put to the top of the news feed.
  • Finding people to like your page – This is time consuming, but social media pages have a “search” filter where you can search not only for a person’s name but their email address and mobile phone number. When consulting we advise people to outsource this task, or have a receptionist spend 1 hour per day adding tenants and contacts from their CRM to the social media pages.  In most instances, the person has to accept your request, so if you find someone on a page remember this does not necessarily mean they will accept your offer, but you have at least touched base with them and made them aware that you would like them to keep up to date on agency activity.

Real Strategix have more tips and tricks in relation to social media and gaining new business interaction, plus we also offer assistance in creating your social media images and a complimentary marketing plan if you do not have the time to create them yourself.

Lauren Kropp


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