February 24, 2011

The Property Management Revolution - we cannot keep doing what we have always done

The Real Estate Industry has changed dramatically in recent years; mainly due to increased legislation, risk of litigation and extraordinary demands from consumers.

Property Management has most certainly changed in recent years with new legislation involving tenancy laws, smoke alarms, safety switches and pool safety bringing major changes since 2007.

One of the biggest challenges for property managers is time and increasing demands on services and obligations. We cannot keep doing what we have always done is a statement that must today challenge Real Estate Licensees and Property Managers. We must review our property management business model and challenge the past concepts as quite simply; the past systems are not working today.

The traditional property manager managing in excess of 150 properties today is most likely struggling and finding it hard to cope with the expectations. Property Management today is vastly different to even five years ago; therefore our current business models must be rethought. I have said for many years (and many agree and say the same thing) that property managers have an 'incorrect title'; they are more people managers than property managers. Given that today's property manager must carry out so many administrative, often time consuming tasks, plus negotiate, communicate, educate and 'manage'; it is no wonder that many are crying out for help.

Real Estate Excellence is currently offering in March 2011 on the Sunshine Coast and North plus South Brisbane, a fresh innovative challenging new programme called "Secrets to Growth Exposed". The session was recently held on the Gold Coast; below is one of the many unsolicited emails that were received after the session;

" Dear Stacey,

What a fantastic and very timely session we had yesterday. Due to this session I have had a very late night though very productive.

I have totally restructured our office and staff; I have woken this morning feeling positive with a plan of setting our foundations firm before moving forward.

My intentions are for the next 8 weeks putting into motion my new plans and tweaking them as issues arise. We will then if all is flowing as it should within the boundaries of our job start prospecting to build.

I cannot thank you enough, you always manage to give me exactly what I need to keep motivated and engaged within my role.

I look forward to future seminars with you.

With heart felt thanks " (name withheld for privacy)

For more information about the program; contact Stacey Holt stacey.holt@realestateexcellence.com.au - I guarantee that you will gain many valuable realistic tips and ideas to improve and grow your business. The only thing that will stop you is you from implementation.

I am hoping to also hold this session throughout Queensland in 2011.
This session can also be held interstate.

February 20, 2011

Seller Disclosure and the Listing Authority

Regrettably it is an age of litigation for many industries; for real estate agents and salespeople there is a great deal of responsibility in relation to disclosure to buyers surrounding property. Agents merely act as the conduit of information and quite commonly advise buyers to make their own enquiries.

Having said that, there are still a number of obligations placed upon agents in regards to taking necessary steps to verify important property details.

Some good agents agents in the past have fallen foul of saying too much when they are in fact not 100% sure or more so honestly believe the statement to be true.

TO assist in agency risk management and to alleviate exposure to our agencies, Real Estate Excellence has written a best practice seller disclosure attachment to annex the listing authority. This authority assists agents to remain in the role of passing information to buyers that the seller has provided. This disclosure covers key issues regarding the property about known defects, warranties and building approvals. The old saying "If it is not in writing, it doesn't exist' is largely true; however this risk management attachment provides agencies with a written document provided to the agent from the seller at the time of listing.

For more information about the attachment now available, email stacey.holt@realestateexcellence.com.au or visit http://www.realestateexcellence.com.au/education-and-training-events-real-estate-excellence/cat_view/35-best-practice-forms-and-information/32-residential-sales

Fees, Commissions and Expenses/Charges - the PAMD Form 20a

A common frustration for Licensees and Property Managers is the way the PAMD Form 20a separates the commissions, fees and expenses. It can cause great confusion to lessors as well; what are they actually paying?

Due to the first four pages of the PAMD Form 20a being regulated and provided by the Government through the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000 (Qld) and the fact that only commissions are regulated by law, and that fees are deregulated, the commissions and fees MUST be separately shown. Expenses are costs to be reimbursed to the business from the lessor such as title searches  The additional pages after page 4 are best practice and risk management; lawful but not the law.

The trouble for most lessor's is what is the total cost? Property Managers should be very clear about the legislation to enable precise explanation of costs and the form set out to lessors.

Real Estate Excellence has designed a best practice attachment to the PAMD Form 20a to assist in breaking down clearly all costs; the beauty also is that it is all on one page with explanation as well. In House private training or consultancy services can also be provided for compliance, best practice and risk management.

For more information about this best practice form, and many others, visit http://www.realestateexcellence.com.au/education-and-training-events-real-estate-excellence/cat_view/35-best-practice-forms-and-information/17-property-management or contact Stacey Holt - stacey.holt@realestateexcellence.com.au

February 19, 2011

A new programme to help you grow your Rent Roll

The Property Management Revolution -  “The secrets to Growth Exposed”

This interactive and practical property management workshop focuses on the property management revolution; how to achieve growth within your business.

This fresh innovative program will discuss many keys aspects to assist your business in taking it to the new level including

• Have you got the right structure for retention and growth?

• Do you provide extraordinary service?

• What is your point of difference?

• Why would a client choose your office over your competitor?

• Do you have a written plan and goals?

• Tips on how to stand out from the rest

• Database management of prospective clients

• Prospecting and marking tips

• Compliance and best practice completion of the PAMD Form 20a (or management agreement ouside of Queensland)

• How to win the business every time including scripts and dialogues on how to close the sale!

This programme is filled with many realistic, practical cost effective tips to assist any real estate business grow their rent roll.

* the programme can be held anywhere in Australia.

The programme is currently being presented in South East Queensland - Gold Coast 23rd February, Sunshine Coast 16th March, North Brisbane 22nd March and South Brisbane 30th March 2011. It can also be delivered as private IN House Training/Consultancy session.

Contact Stacey Holt for more information stacey.holt@realestateexcellence.com.au

February 15, 2011

Task Management Vs Portfolio Management

In recent years, task management has become very popular within our industry. This may have occurred for a number of reasons such as increasing legislation and demand for increased services from clients. It also may have occurred due to risk management.

Of the many agencies I have had the privilege of working with over the years; most have portfolio traditional management with a touch of task. Many successful agencies have created separate roles for leasing, new business and general routine inspections.

Some task operational businesses are now returning to Portfolio Management; why?

One of the most common complaints from lessor clients is ‘who is managing my property?’ as the tasks are divided amongst different team members. For task management to really work, the tasks have to be so defined and streamlined to allow for very little miscommunication.

Communication and systems is most certainly the key. The trouble with task management for many is that one staff member may speak to the lessor about maintenance, another about account and then another about lease renewals. This may well provide a sense of frustration to lessors when they ask the lease renewal task manager about the maintenance issue and they are unable to answer. Sufficient file notes can mostly alleviate the problem, however there is still a possible element of doubt installed in the lessor mind as to the overall management of their investment. It takes a lot of education of lessors for them to understand how the task business operates and how it does benefit them. For most of us as consumers, we are all so busy and would prefer to deal with one client manager who knows my business as opposed to speaking to three or more etc. in order to have my questions answered.

I certainly am not suggesting that task does not work in today’s real estate operation. For task management to be successful, it must be a very smooth well defined operation where each team member understands that although leasing is your role, you may well need to assist a lessor or tenant when it comes to maintenance etc. as opposed to saying that “Maintenance manager will call you back”. This may well be needed sometimes due to the specifics of some cases; however my point is the attitude and service provided to lessor is that we are all managing your investment rather than that is not my department.

Portfolio management has long been my preferred way of managing property; however this is not without its own pitfalls and dangers. In days gone by, there have cases of a handful of portfolio managers who ‘hid’ problems within their portfolio only to be found some time later after they had left the business. I must say I don’t believe many of these case were intentional; maybe more due to lack of knowledge, confidence, education and negotiation skills.

Portfolio management with a splash of task is ideal for most operations depending on their own business goals and size. If a business is serious about growth and has a business plan for growth, a Business Development Manager is an ideal investment. It can be said that leasing is a specialised role that requires a great deal of time management and selling skills. For some businesses, combining the leasing and new business role is ideal; both roles compliment the other.

Administration assistance is a must for most businesses today; there are so many administration tasks in property management that could be handled by a capable assistant or personal assistant to the property manager.

Property managers should be just that; managers. They should actually be called people managers given that a large part of the role is the management of lessors, tenants and other third parties such as contractors.

There are many critical factors needed for either model to succeed such as

• Job descriptions for all staff

• Key performance indicators

• Weekly meetings

• Regular reporting

To name the key matters that should be part of the business.

One of the key factors regardless of the model used by a Property Management Real Estate Business is the reminder to staff of what our businesses really are; customer service focused. Property is almost an afterthought.

Stacey Holt Real Estate Excellence provides private consultancy services to the Real Estate Industry.

Stacey Holt


Time Management and Property Management

One of the most common frustrations I hear from property managers (and have heard for almost two decades now) is having lack of time to do so much.

Today's property manager has an amazing role; a role that is to be respected and commended. Most industries though are screaming out as well; there is so much pressure on most of us to perform more for less.

I see that one of the main problems faced by property managers is that they say 'yes' too easily. Don't worry, I know that Real Estate is a customer service focused industry; my point is that they say yes too easily to too many people which results in one ultimate outcome 'crisis management'.

Proactive management is about saying yes BUT... not everything has to be dealt with right now, not everyone realistically expects an answer right now etc. It is up to property managers to take control, assess requests from clients and customers and realistically deliver a great service to all within a reasonable time period.

What does this mean?
Remember the ole' great saying "Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail". Well it is true. Many superb property managers don't have a written plan (nor written goals); it is mostly in their brilliant minds. They don't understand that your wonderful mind can only take so much, and when it has so many 'plans' and expectations racing through, you are no doubt going to fumble, struggle and suffer greatly from stress.

An ideal daily and weekly plan is just that, IDEAL. Nothing is perfect, but a plan is needed. For example, arrears a daily task for my portfolio managers. Are arrears completed at roughly the same time each day as part of the plan OR are they done whenever we get there? If it is there latter answer, you may well be running on crisis management.

Real Estate Excellence has an hour of power time management session that can be delivered in your office at any time including breakfast meeting, during the day or after work 'social drinks'.

One of the key messages I aim to empower property managers of today with is 'you are in control' - do not let anyone else control your day. It can be done, trust me. It takes a plan, determination, belief, education and discipline.
Stacey Holt

February 7, 2011

Best Practice Forms

Having best practice forms in property management is a necessity; not only for compliance but for risk management.

There are many critical forms; this blog is going to address two of them; Applications and Routine (General Inspections).

Agencies always need to be in a position in regards to Applications that evidence can be provided if needed that due diligence was completed when assessing applications and processing them. Best Practice and Sound Risk Management is to ensure that all prospective applicants complete the Agency application form 100% (no blank 'spots') and that the application is verified to the best of the Agent's ability. Not only verified, but ensure that it could be proven. Don't write all over the application form; ensure written checklists and procedures are used so that the procedure can easily be proven if challenged; or if there is an allegation of negligence against the Agency from the Lessor Client.

Routine Inspection Reports are another vital risk management procedure; ensure that detail and diligence can also be proven when carrying out general inspections. Agents need to ensure that their reports state very clearly that the inspection is only visual and that the agency holds no other qualification than that of a Real Estate Agent. Ensure follow up procedures are in place so that any requested instructions are received from the lessor client and advice is provided to tenant's accordingly.

Both the Application Form and General (Routine) Inspection report are non standardised in QLD; meaning that they are not statutory forms. Real Estate Excellence now has a best practice application form, processing tenancy application checklist and routine (general inspection form) available for PLATINUM Exclusive and GOLD Sole Members; there is a small fee for BRONZE Open Members and for NON Members of Real Estate Excellence.

Contact Stacey Holt for more - http://www.realestateexcellence.com.au/

February 1, 2011

Recommendations and Advice to Property Managers and Agent facing a natural disaster

One of the lessons learnt by industry in recent weeks and months due to Natural Disasters is lack of disaster management plans.

One of the major short term implications of natural disasters such as the Qld floods has been the overwhelming enquiry from lessors as opposed to tenants.

Agents should implement communicaiton strategies to inform lessors of what is happening and also that more information will be provided as it comes to hand. It is quite natural and to be expected that lessors are anxious during these times as they are worried about their invesments, however agents need to ensure that there is a communication strategy in place.

Of course one of the most important matters that needs to be addressed is tenant communication as these people are potentially going to be greatly affected as it is their 'home' that may be affected. Also ensure there is a communication strategy in place for tenants.

Lastly, ensure all agency tradespeople and contractors are on standy where possible to deal with the emergency propety maintenance situations.

Agents and Property Managers may find the Real Estate Agency Best Practice Guide of great benefit whilst planning and then heading into disaster recovery.

The Guide can be dowloaded from http://www.realestateexcellence.com.au/component/docman/cat_view/35-best-practice-forms-and-information/44-flood-and-disaster-management-?orderby=dmdate_published

There are over 35 useful documents in this category.

Best wishes to all

Stacey Holt