Helena Fantela, Harcourts North Geelong, Victoria, Lorenne Lovell, Harcourts Huon, Tasmania and Sarah Street, Harcourts Burnie, Tasmania all sat on our panel at the Harcourts Australian National Conference and shared with us the basics of Property Management, their coping strategies, growth strategies and some of the best systems to ensure you stay at the top of the game. Here are some of the highlights that will help any property manager in any Harcourts office in the world!
Helena, you’ve had a huge shift in mindset around arrears. Two years ago your arrears consistently sat at approximately 7–8%. Now your arrears are consistently sitting at around 1%. What are the key changes you made in the department that have resulted in this achievement?
Staff. We identified some staff who had a negative attitude around our ability to get the award winning results that we are achieving currently. Those staff have left and been replaced with a team of motivated individuals who have a ‘can do’ attitude.
Sign-up process. We have a very detailed sign-up process and part of that is a strong emphasis on the importance of paying rent on time. We have an arrears policy that the tenant is given which outlines a strict policy and firm action on arrears. We also provide our tenants with a 12 month calendar that has their rent due date highlighted.
Competition on PM’s ranking. Our team is motivated to win awards and we have competition within the office to see who ranks the best for overall for arrears each month.
Different tools. We don’t rely on one method to chase rent. We use multiple tools including SMS, email, phone, door knocks.
How structured are your systems and procedures? How have they developed, changed, and improved over the years?
We have really got the team involved in writing our procedures manual. We’ve updated our manual by picking specific topics and then at our meeting each week we review each system and procedure, look at how everyone is handling different tasks, picking the best parts of everyone’s procedures and then as a team coming up with the best system for our office moving forward. Unified agreement has given us the best result and really improved the department. The manual outlines relevant checklist, letters and forms that should be used each step of the way.
You consistently list more than 10 new managements per month, can you share your appraisal and listing process and highlight what you think makes you stand out?
When clients first enquire I provide them with a personalised detailed prospectus outlining all the services that we offer. When I attend the property I take with me current and relevant reports from CoreLogic RP Data and our Harcourts database. I ensure that I am always up to date with our business partner’s ad on products such as Rental Protect Plus landlord insurance and Real Property Matters tax depreciation information, so that I can add value and offer a complete range of investment property services on top of our outstanding property management service.
On top of this we offer great referral bonuses to our staff, clients and the public and sharing our office’s award winning stats of how we manage low rent arrears and vacancy rates. Our biggest point of difference in Tasmania is Harcourts state-wide market share of 1 in 3 rental managements.