WHY SMALL IS BIG AGAIN

WHEN IT COMES TO prop­erty man­age­ment, there's not much Ran­dal Sharp hasn't seen. Co-Di­rec­tor of thriv­ing real es­tate startup Think Prop­erty & Co in Mel­bourne, Ran­dal has worked across all facets of the sec­tor, man­aged large teams and sur­veyed port­fo­lios w

Elite Property Manager - - Contents -

Ran­dal Sharp

The real es­tate in­dus­try is chang­ing at a rapid pace. There's tech­no­log­i­cal change, which is em­pow­er­ing both agents and the pub­lic, and there's a gen­er­a­tional change un­der­way as well, with a vis­ceral tug-of-war oc­cur­ring be­tween old-school principals and the elder states peo­ple of the in­dus­try (those who listed well be­fore email and web­sites were even a thing), and Gen Ys and mil­len­ni­als who are prospect­ing in ways for­eign to their pre­de­ces­sors.

SAFETY IN NUM­BERS

In the midst of all this change, real es­tate brands are ho­mogenis­ing into ever-larger satel­lite of­fices, with dom­i­nant fran­chises ab­sorb­ing their com­peti­tors when times get tough. It's con­sid­ered a given that there is strength in num­bers, with principals choos­ing to di­vide risk by com­bin­ing rent rolls and teams, re­duc­ing their over­heads while ben­e­fit­ting from the per­ceived or­gan­i­sa­tion of fran­chises with strong mar­ket share and brand­ing.

DOES BIG­GER WORK FOR EV­ERY­ONE?

Hav­ing spent much of my ca­reer manag­ing prop­erty man­age­ment teams in pre­mium brands, I know that the logic that big­ger is bet­ter for real es­tate busi­nesses is es­sen­tially flawed. Whilst it might work for principals at the top of the pile – those away from the daily stress of their es­tate agents, prop­erty man­age­ment teams and ad­min­is­tra­tors – the big model of real es­tate is an un­happy place for many staff and, even more crit­i­cally, for land­lords and ten­ants.

WHAT WORKS BEST FOR LAND­LORDS

I saw too that scal­a­bil­ity wasn't work­ing for land­lords, who felt over­looked amongst chains of prop­erty man­agers di­vided across leas­ing, main­te­nance and con­di­tion re­port­ing func­tions. No one in­di­vid­ual would be re­spon­si­ble en­tirely for their as­set, leav­ing them frus­trated at mat­ters un­dealt with and works un­done. Ten­ants were also dealt a dis­ser­vice by big real es­tate for sim­i­lar rea­sons – there was no one touch point for their queries or con­cerns. If any mem­ber of a big real es­tate team is un­avail­able, the whole chain is com­pro­mised, lead­ing swiftly to cus­tomer anger in a time when they feel more en­ti­tled than ever (and right­fully so!) to true ser­vice. This anger ob­vi­ously im­pacts on rent roll shrink­age, and also leads to high staff turnover. And while prop­erty man­age­ment de­part­ments are of­ten con­sid­ered ‘churn and burn' staffing en­vi­ron­ments by the in­dus­try-weary, they don't have to be that way.

For all th­ese rea­sons, my busi­ness part­ner and I, well­versed in all things big real es­tate, de­cided that small was the right di­rec­tion to go when be­gin­ning our own agency, Think Prop­erty & Co. We have a com­pact team, who are each re­spon­si­ble for an as­set in its en­tirety. Our clients al­ways know who they will speak to. Mat­ters are re­solved swiftly.

Crit­ics might say that this bou­tique ap­proach is only made pos­si­ble by size. This is true; scale is all in real es­tate. And with over twenty years' prop­erty man­age­ment ex­pe­ri­ence be­hind me, I know that the right scale for ser­vice is small.

THE SE­CRET OF REAL ES­TATE AND PROP­ERTY MAN­AGE­MENT IN THE FU­TURE RE­MAIN A MAT­TER OF SCALE. IT'S SMALL IN STRUC­TURE, BUT BIG ON VI­SION AND SER­VICE.

THE BIG MODEL OF REAL ES­TATE IS AN UN­HAPPY PLACE FOR MANY STAFF AND, EVEN MORE CRIT­I­CALLY, FOR LAND­LORDS AND TEN­ANTS.

WHY SMALL MAY BE THE NEW BLACK

Small doesn't need to equate with a lack of am­bi­tion or vi­sion for your brand: since open­ing our own agency just over a year ago, we've en­joyed build­ing our busi­ness and also be­ing nom­i­nated for the REIV Best Web­site of the Year. Am­bi­tion and pas­sion? We've got it. Ded­i­ca­tion to the hap­pi­ness of our land­lords and ten­ants? We've got that in equal mea­sure as well. And re­spect for our staff's well-be­ing, and the health of our busi­ness? That's our fo­cus.

The se­cret of real es­tate and prop­erty man­age­ment in the fu­ture re­main a mat­ter of scale. It's small in struc­ture, but big on vi­sion and ser­vice. ■

RAN­DAL SHARP is a Co-Di­rec­tor of bou­tique agency Think Prop­erty & Co in Mel­bourne, and is a 22-year vet­eran of the real es­tate in­dus­try.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.