The Australian Property Management industry is doing very well, with more than $3 billion in annual revenues and growing at 2.7% per annum. However, the number of property managers is growing by 11% every year, leading to increasing competition for valuable rentable properties and tenants (Source: joboutlook.gov.au).
Good property managers will need to be able to differentiate themselves among the rest. And it starts with these three game-changers.
Game-changer 1: Be meticulously organised
Being meticulously organised allows you to be quick to close deals and retain precious connections - and ultimately sustain a healthy bottomline.
- Keep an comprehensive owner’s manual ready. This will allow property owners know what to expect from you. Payment terms, inspection schedules, and procedures for eviction or moving out, and the like will keep out any surprises and better ensure quick agreements and lasting engagements.
- Maintain up-do-date and exhaustive property files. Keeping a detailed file on every property not only gives each prospective tenant an easier time to decide, but it gives an assurance that you are professional in your dealings and will not be a letdown once the lease starts. Nearby shopping areas, schools, parks, public transport and worship centers, along with building insurance, smoke alarms, community policies and so on, can speed up the decision-making process for prospects and minimise the risk of losing them to other surrounding properties.
- Have clear systems and playbooks in place. Drastically reduce transaction times, confusion, and onboarding times for new staff by keeping step-by-step processes in place and properly documenting them. Inspection checklists, tenant induction, sales procedures, etc. are some of the many things you can include in your playbooks.
- Keep detailed and available accounting records. Be transparent in all your financial transactions, to minimise any doubt and establish a good reputation for yourself.
Game-changer 2: Technology
This has been widely known for some time now: we live in a digital world. If your property management business has not made the most out of any of the following tools, you’re barreling down the highway of obsolescence. Below is a list of functions and a sampling of the best (and mostly free!) online tools to help you change the game.
- Digital signatures. Close deals faster by sending property owners or prospective tenants documents that they can sign straight from their mobile device or desktop. DocuSign and RightSignature offer free trial periods and paid accounts starting at A$14/mo.
- Cloud storage. All of your files (i.e. playbooks, property files, owner manuals, contracts) can be stored on an online storage platform such as Google Drive or Dropbox, and can easily be shared with a few clicks on your phone. No more lost files on computer crashes, or waiting to get to the office to send an email. Transactions and file-sharing can be done instantly. Both Google Drive and Dropbox come with a free plan and is upgradable for more storage space.
- Booking scheduler. One of the most time-consuming tasks in property management is scheduling appointments. Free online tools such as SimplyBook.Me or Setmore allow you to send your calendars to property owners or prospective tenants. They, in turn, can choose their preferred appointment schedules in the time slots you have identified yourself to be available. No more going back and forth, and missing appointment dates.
- Graphic design. Every industry needs graphic designs. With the help of free online graphic design platforms such as Canva, anyone can make stunning designs with Canva’s free and paid templates. The drag-and-drop interface also allows newbies to effortlessly create and edit poster designs, flyers, brochures or announcements.
- Video production. If you’re big on social media, you’re probably producing videos for your YouTube channels to get your brand out there. The video version of Canva, Biteable is another free online tool that enables users to easily create explainer videos and ads from its plethora of templates and stock footage.
- Social media management. With the profusion of social networks you’ll need to be visible on (to keep in step with, or to be ahead of competition), it is almost impossible to manage your accounts manually. Free social media management tools such as Schedugram, Hootsuite or Sprout Social can let you manage multiple accounts on your various social networks easily.
- Customer relationship management. Spending massive amounts of effort trying to get prospective tenants and properties can become highly inefficient if good prospects fall through the cracks and go to another property manager. Customer relationship management (CRM) tools help you keep track of the status of each prospect, as well as save previous correspondence so you will no longer have to wonder what you last talked about (and when). Hubspot is a popular CRM that is offered for free. If you are heavy into GMail, then Streak for GMail is also another free CRM that works seamlessly with your emails.
- Tenant and property owner profiler. Accompany for GMail and Outlook automatically provides information about the people you send (and receive) emails to, including their personal background, recent news, financials, and funding history. This way, you can better identify high-priority ones and better manage your tasks.
- Task management. Speaking of tasks, if you work with a team, you can keep a virtual bulletin board of your properties grouped by stage (i.e. Available, Under Nego, Closed Deals) that everyone on your team can see and update. Here’s a sample digital board in Trello, which allows you to collaborate digitally for free too.
- Email marketing. If you would like to update your tenant database with your newest property listings, email marketing tools such as Mailchimp allow you to send to thousands of email recipients in just one click. Mailchimp also has a feature that can capture leads/prospects from your website by embedding a Mailchimp web form onto your site.
- Website builder. Nowadays, you don’t need to hire a programmer or web developer to create beautiful websites. Wix, Squarespace or GoDaddy have beautiful website templates which you can use to build your own site within a day. Free plans are also available.
Game-changer 3: Keep a great team
Just like any team sport, filling-up key roles is critical to success. Your company might be structured differently, but these four basic roles are what you will need to make sure you keep all bases covered. And like any team, it is critical to have the most highly-skilled professionals to get you to the next level.
- Property manager - aside from setting property prices and analysing market values, this role should be the main point of contact with the property owner and handle delicate issues.
- Assistant Property Manager - aside from overseeing property upkeep, collecting rent and serving notices, this role should be the main point of contact for current tenants.
- Leasing Agent - this role is in charge of advertising properties for rent, all rental enquiries and of scheduling all property viewings. The Leasing Agent is also the main point of contact with prospective tenants.
- Office Administration - this role is in charge of making sure that all documents are filed properly; reviews, tracks and prepares budgets/cash flows; responsible for taking calls and inquiries, among others.
In many instances, boosting your admin team with remote staff/virtual assistants can prove to be highly beneficial, as you can hire 2-3 virtual assistants for the budget of one local hire.
Clarifying point persons minimises confusion and allows personal relationships with tenants and owners to be nurtured. And keeping lines of responsibility and focus clear will allow all the moving parts to move together seamlessly.
Kinetic Innovative Staffing has been providing more than 200 Australian companies with professional remote staff, such as administrative assistants, since 2013. Remote staffing can provide Australian businesses with the right talent while experiencing up to 75% savings on labour costs.
Get in touch here if you would like to know more about admin assistants working remotely from the Philippines.