As an industry, property management does not have a great reputation. We want to change this perception, by fixing the three main things that property managers almost always do badly.
A little over 12 months ago I made the decision to move from Randwick to Bondi Junction, rebrand as Taylors Property Management Specialists, and focus solely on our core strength: property management.
Property management is my passion, partly because it makes such a difference to the lives - and wallets - of both landlords and tenants, and partly because I’ve rarely seen it done right.
The last 12 months, since Taylors made the change to becoming property management specialists, have been very rewarding. We have a new office, a great team of client relationship specialists, and - most importantly - we’re dedicated 100% to property management. We know we’re doing a better job than ever, helping our investor clients grow their wealth through real estate.
Because we’re committed to being the leading provider of property management services, we’re also investing heavily in new ways of doing things, reinventing the standard for property management in Australia.
After all, there are still things that are done badly across the property management industry, that I’d love to see change. Here’s what the three main ones are:
1. Property Managers Need To Become Proactive Problem Solvers
Traditionally, property management has been a reactive game. Landlords, tenants and property managers alike have all tended to wait until something goes wrong before doing anything at all. We want to change this.
From a landlord’s perspective, getting a good, consistent tenant is paramount. So ignoring a tenant until something goes wrong, or until you want to increase the rent, is hardly the best approach if you’re looking for them to stay long term.
Still that’s exactly what most property managers do and it’s just about the worst approach to the job that I can think of - always being on the back foot, always playing catch up.
A good property manager is a problem solver at heart. But they shouldn’t just solve problems after they’ve happened. Obviously accidents, breakages and emergencies occur with little warning, but a property manager should be looking at how to minimise them in the first place, checking in regularly and knowing where everything is at - a bit like a regular check up at the dentist or having your car serviced to keep it in good running order.
It’s a proactive, rather than reactive mentality.
For us, being proactive starts at the beginning of the journey - from preparing the property for rent and choosing the right tenant. Evidence indicates that most property managers don’t even do reference checks - a fundamental step in creating a good match. Then there’s the real work in the ongoing management of the property: routine inspections, processes, repairs, upgrades and more.
Good property managers also think about how they can add value to the landlord, and part of this is also making the tenant’s life easier. So as a team we meet once a week to look at available properties and work out ways we can make positive changes to help our investors. We also make sure each of our client relationship specialists has had at least 10 years experience in the role, so that they’ve seen it all before, know exactly what they’re doing, and know exactly what to look for.
2. Property Managers Need To Communicate
Communication - or a lack of it across the industry - has always been a problem. In fact, lack of communication is the number one complaint about property managers from tenants and landlords alike.
And I’m not just talking about repairs - though this is a critical breaking point in landlord/tenant communication. I’m talking about having open and honest communications at every step of the way, so that people know where they stand. It means not setting false hopes, having difficult conversations when you need to, and not just saying “yes” to everything a landlord or tenant asks, in the hope the problem will just go away.
It also means adding value by communicating any legislation changes, budget changes, or other key industry changes in a timely fashion.
Above all, it’s about being proactive again; not just sitting around waiting for the phone to ring.
3. Property Managers Should Market Properties Professionally
The gulf between the way properties are advertised for sale and the way they are advertised for lease, has never been greater. It’s one of the key differences between property sales and property management. And, quite frankly, it shouldn’t be.
If you want to get the best possible rent for a property, you need to market it properly. It’s that simple.
But when it comes to a rental property, how often do you see out of date photos, no floorplans, incomplete information, badly taken photos, or few photos at all? Bad presentation is endemic in property management.
Very few property managers invest in professional marketing collateral like professional photos, copywriting and signage. Prospective tenants can be pickier about which properties they’ll bother viewing than buyers are. So we focus on marketing our properties in a way that gives our landlords the edge when tenants are choosing which one they’ll give up their Saturday to go and see.
We’ve already converted many of our clients to investing in property marketing and they’re reaping the results. Their properties stand out from the crowd and attract more attention, giving the perception that they’re simply better than comparable properties on the market, and sometimes even commanding a better rent.
The Road Ahead
As an industry we all stand to benefit from upping our game and making property management just as professional as sales. At Taylors, we’re doing just this: embracing every tool at our disposal to provide a specialist and professional service to every client.