March 24, 2013

Tips on creating and maintaining a successful property management business

I am often asked how can we create and maintain a successful property management business. I don’t know if there is a secret as such but I do believe there is process to follow in order to achieve the goal of a productive, efficient and compliant business.

Property management is not hard; however I know that is not easy either. People are our core focus and our core business so having people skills is requirement number one; with this is also the need to ‘like’ dealing with people. Customer service is the core focus of all property management businesses.

Property and management come a very close second after customer service. I have always been of the belief that you cannot create systems and best practices without knowing the relevant legislation surrounding the procedure. It quietly fascinates me (always without ever judgement) of how many people create and develop best practice systems for their offices without actually having referenced the legislation in order to build the foundation.

I believe that in order to create and maintain a successful property management business need to have the following

· Understanding of all relevant legislation and train on this often

· Create and maintain a culture of customer service - customer service is not a 'department'

· Have a system for all procedures and everyone follows it

· Ensure there is always a team environment full of support and understanding

· Everyone in the team has a voice and is heard

· Weekly staff meetings that include staff training and development

o Develop the understanding of demanding and commanding respect

o Understand what being a manager means

o Negotiate, communicate and educate tenants and landlords

o Nothing is your problem; unless you created it or want it to be your problem

o All you can do is your best and remain professional

· Have the understanding and culture in your office of the following for procedures

o Task - DO

o Follow up

o Follow through

o Outcome

o All property management tasks should ‘end’ and not be left open. For example outstanding routine maintenance requests should be closed at some point with an outcome such as a work order, owner said no, owner didn’t respond. Tenant advised and provided advice to contact the RTA for more advice. (This is just a sample of advice I would actually provide however for purposes of a short blog has been kept brief)

If I can help your business with systems, best practice, support or anything else property management, please contact me. - Stacey Holt

March 19, 2013

Real Estate Excellence Member Update - April 2013

Member Update - April 2013 - Contents page
Webinar training calendar April to June 2013
Nominated staff details
Inquest into death of children in a rental property
Empowering property managers – Property management training
Member forms online at sugar sync
Landlord newsletter this month
Member invoices – new system
Pool forms changing
Community management statement update
QCAT form update
JP’s to hear QCAT matters
PME users update – new feature (regular column)
Licensee/Administration Best Practice article
Upcoming superannuation changes
Sales Best Practice article
Want to be the top agent in your patch? Ten tips of what not to do
Property Management Best Practice article
Emailing notices – the law, reality and best practice
Property Management Excellence Convention 2013 has been withdrawn – apologies for any inconvenience
Landlord newsletter topic – April 2013 – Notice periods and the law (attached to the update)
The update will be emailed to all Members in early April 2013 plus uploaded to the member site to view online.

How confident are you with the "Act"?

This half an hour will change your career, guaranteed!

The lecture style webinar presented by Stacey Holt will focus on showing practical tips for managers on how to read and use the RTRA Act in daily property property management.

I have found in my privileged 11 year career of training and education to date that most property managers have not been taught how to use the Act. I myself in my 10 year 'real world career' had very little knowledge until the end of my practicising career. Why is this? The legislation is the foundation of property management. How can systems and best practice be built upon when the law in not clearly known or understood. Hope to be online with you on Friday morning for this great practical session!

QLD webinar Friday 22nd March 9am to 9.30am

For more information and or to register, please visit

March 18, 2013

Property Management webinars - April to June 2013

April to June 2013 Calendar (Qld only)

Investment per office registration

PME users – FREE

Platinum members $44 inc GST

Diamond and Gold Members $55 inc GST

Bronze members and individual $66 inc gst

Non-Member $99 inc GST

3rd April
Maintenance – the law and best practice
9am to 9.30am
12th April
Landlord obligations including disclosure
9am to 9.30am
12th April
QCAT Form 2 completion
10.30am to 11am
18th April
Tips on how to be an excellent property manager
11am to 11.30am
19th April
Property Managers – did you know? Questions that all PM’s should know
9am to 9.30am
23rd April
Property Management Excellence Career Development
10.30am to 11am
2nd May
Understanding the management agreement
10.30am to 11am
9th May
Explaining the management agreement to the owner
10.30am to 11am
16th May
Showing, advertising property plus owner feedback
10.30am to 11am
23rd May
Processing applications – best practice, law and managing risk
10.30am to 11am
6th June
Entry condition report – law, best practice and risk management
10.30am to 11am
13th June
Understanding tenancy agreements
10.30am to 11am
20th June
Rent arrears management
10.30am to 11am

March 17, 2013

Current training videos online for PME users

Current Training Videos online (QCAT training CD on the disk provided) .wmv file format

  Webinar services are also FREE to PME users as scheduled and then uploaded to PME online. For more information about PME and Real Estate Excellence visit or
(7 min video) 
Chapter 1
Property Management Overview
Chapter 3
 PAMD Form 20a quick tips
Chapter 3.1.2
Termination of management agreements
Chapter 3.3.1
Rental appraisals and the law
Chapter 5
Tenancy application forms processing
Chapter 5.8
Binding the tenant lawfully
Chapter 6.4
 Entry condition reports
Chapter 12
How to complete breach notices
Chapter 19.1
Exit condition reports – time management, risk management and the law
Using PME
Tips for use

 Plus the following webinars – half an hour to 45 minutes in length

PM Development – Do you know the answer to these questions (two part webinar) half an hour each webinar ( x 2)
Rental properties for sale
5 reasons a notice to leave can be issued
PAMD Code of Conduct – What does it mean for property managers
Tips on how to be an excellent property manager
What is the role of a property manager?
7 ways to legally end a tenancy in Queensland
QCAT training webinar
Tips on growing the rent roll
Tips on how to complete routine inspections
More webinars are added to the list as produced

 Webinar services are also FREE to PME users as scheduled and then uploaded to PME online

March 7, 2013

How many properties can one property manager manage?


There are many structures set up in modern property management businesses which range from the traditional portfolio method, the POD method or task based management. Real Estate Excellence has always been a great fan of Portfolio due to the accountability and also the lessor peace of mind of 'who is managing their investment' but has in recent times seen a handful of business who has mastered the task based management. Those witnessed who have succeeded in task based management have very clear job descriptions, visions and goals.  The model does not work in most cases unless there is also a clear head of the department; the face, the driver and leader. It generally is beneficial if this position is held by the licensee.

Due to massive legislative change, and greater risk of litigation due to increased client expectations and making agents accountable, today's licensee has to seriously review the tasks required to be carried out in property management. The days of one property manager managing 200 properties successfully without administrative support are over for most businesses.

Today, property managers need to be across a vast range of matters in relation to property, these matters of course include (the list is far from exhaustive);

*             tenancy and agency law
*             smoke alarms
*             safety switches
*             pool safety
*             Tribunal representation

How many properties can one property manager manage depends largely upon these factors;

·        The systems in the office

·        The support and training provided

·        The people and their abilities

·        The property type and location to the office

·        The commitment of the licensee to drive the business and to be involved in the business.

The true answer to this question is that it cannot be answered outright; it depends on so many variable such as what is mentioned above.

Real Estate Excellence business focus and speciality are;

·        What is the law?

·        What is the reality ? (best practice)

·        What are we doing?

·        What could/should we be doing business to ensure compliance, best practice and creating efficiencies?

·        How are we managing risk?

o   In a nutshell risk management, best practice and compliance

March 6, 2013

75% of businesses don’t have a formal policy in place on the use of social media

Why Employers Need a Social Media Policy - source article (referenced fully at end of the article)   

75% of businesses don’t have a formal policy in place on the use of social media 1

...Do you?
In a recent report Sensis and AIMIA it was found that 62% of online Australians use social media, 27% of small businesses have a social media presence and 34% of medium-sized businesses engage customers using social media 4. Every year social media usage increases and this trend will continue for years to come as social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube become a part of our everyday life. As of August 2012, there are close to 11 million Australians on Facebook alone!
So why do so many businesses not have a social media policy in place? Some Employers believe they don't need a social media policy because they are not actively using social media as a business. They fail to see the importance of managing the internal and external usage of social media by their employees; usage that could have an impact on the business. Other reasons include social media being perceived as a low priority in the business because management has not identified the risks involved and social media being ignored because management simply doesn’t understand the technology.
It's not uncommon for a business to take the easy way out and simply say "NO" to any use of social media, which in some cases means they believe they don't need a social media policy. In fact, recent research by PayScale has shown that 42% of Employers around the globe have said "NO" 2, while another study by the Online Marketing Institute reveals that 25% of Employers don’t have a social media policy in place because they simply don't know what to include in it 3. This is where our experience and expertise in social media law can benefit Employers in determining what is and isn’t included in their social media policy.
In some industries and companies it may be suitable to completely ban the use of social media in the workplace. For example, 71% of energy companies have banned social media 2. In these cases a social media policy would still required outlining the consequences of not adhering to the ban.
The decision to ban social media might seem like an easy way of dealing with the issue, however most employees (particularly Generation Y) have access to social media on their Smartphones and banning it could encourage them to turn to their mobile instead of using their desktop at work, which represents an even bigger distraction.

Here's why it's important for Employers to have a Social Media Policy...

1. Risk Management

  • Social media policies are designed to protect Employers from a number of risks
Over the last few years there have been countless stories in the media about employees losing their jobs because they posted inappropriate content on Facebook. In most of these cases the employee had no idea that the content they were posting would be deemed inappropriate by their Employer, because the guidelines were never clearly stated in a policy. There have even been reported cases of Employers asking job seekers to log on to their Facebook account during a job interview.
Not having a social media policy will expose Employers to the following risks:
a. Employees posting inappropriate material (the employee acting inappropriately)
b. Employers demanding access to employee social media accounts (the employer acting inappropriately)
c. The lost or disclosure of confidential information and/or trade secrets
d. Unfair dismissal claims stemming from social media use
e. Reputation threats relating to inappropriate material that has been posted
f. Defamation and discrimination claims

2. The Impact on Productivity

It is essential that social media usage in the work environment is closely monitored, so that personal and non-approved usage is able to be managed by the employer. This is because once the social media floodgates have been open, usage can get out of control which (in some cases) could potentially result in a loss of productivity. However, some studies have shown that the use of social media in the workplace can actually increase productivity by facilitating access to business networks while enabling usage to be monitored and managed 7.
In any case, a social media policy should clearly state what social networks are accessible and when it is acceptable to access those sites. For example, it's very common for a business to allow access to social networks at lunch time. The policy will also state the actions management will take if usage occurs outside these allocated times.

3. Social Media is a Perk - Employees Want It

  • 2 out of 5 Generation Y workers rate social media access at work above receiving a higher salary
  • 1 in 3 of today's job seekers would prioritise social media freedom at work over salary in accepting a job offer
  • 56% of University students would not accept a job offer if they found out the company banned social media
  • Over 50% of workers aged 55+ use social media at work everyday
A business can leverage social media by using it to attract, retain and motivate employees. In some cases, the cost of doing so might be less than providing a pay increase. A social media policy gives Employers the flexibility to use it as part of the recruitment process and performance review process. For example, where employees breach the policy, consideration might be given to suspending their access to social media at work for a specified period. However, as with other breaches of workplace policies where dismissal is not an outcome, strategies such as counselling and warnings could be more appropriate than withdrawing access to a facility that may have become integral to the employee’s work.

4. Social Media encourages Collaboration, Creativity & Communication

  • Microsoft acquired Yammer for $1.2 Billion 6
Social networks can foster and facilitate collaboration, creativity and communication within a business. For example, Yammer provides businesses with enterprise social networks that are internally controlled. These types of networks are designed to encourage employees to collaborate, create and communicate with each other, while at the same time reducing email.
Collaboration can also occur externally by allowing employees to communicate with the rest of the world. If an employee runs into a problem or is stuck on an idea, he or she can utilise social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn to seek support, help, answers and inspiration. In a sense they are using their social network as a free consultant.

5. Reputation Management

Social media is out there and it's here to stay. Increasingly customers will head online to research a business before they engage with it. This also applies to job seekers who do research before going to an interview and accepting the role. A business cannot stop people talking negatively about their brand and products on social media. Criticism, varying opinions, malicious brand-bashing, dissatisfied customers and opposition are not new challenges in business, and they can be managed using a social media policy.
A social media policy may outline how your business deals with customer feedback (positive and negative) on social media. The policy may also put in place processes that direct customer service employees on how to deal with these situations. These processes may involve everything from timing to tone. Generally, every negative post should be seen as an opportunity for a business to improve.


  • Every Australian business, small or large, should consider a social media policy
Whether your business employs 50,000 or 1, a social media policy is recommended, even if the policy is only there to state that social media is completely banned.
A social media policy is not 'one-size-fits-all'. Every business is different and operates under a unique set of values that will impact how the social media policy is constructed. In formulating social media policies there are a number of factors that need to be considered including the consequences of not adhering to it.
Contact us to kick off the discussion about formulating a social media policy for your business. For further advice and