PROP­ERTY MAN­AGE­MENT PER­FORMER Maria Page, Barry Plant Mitchell Shire

Elite Property Manager - - Contents - SCOTT DOWN­ING is the Head of Cus­tomer Ex­pe­ri­ence at Rock­end. For more in­for­ma­tion visit rock­end.com.au.

REAL ES­TATE MAY SEEM a world away from am­a­teur theatre, but not for Maria Page, the Rental De­part­ment Man­ager at Barry Plant Mitchell Shire. Here she ex­plains to Scott Down­ing how the con­fi­dence she gained dur­ing her time on stage stands her in good stead as a prop­erty man­ager.

AF­TER 15 YEARS as a prop­erty man­ager, Maria has cer­tainly seen it all – and one thing she knows for sure is how im­por­tant it is to have a thick skin. “I’m a clas­si­cally trained singer and have been in­volved in a lo­cal am­a­teur theatre com­pany for more than 30 years,” Maria ex­plains.

“In the theatre, you put your­self out there. You need to have a cer­tain type of con­fi­dence, be­cause with ev­ery per­for­mance you’re open­ing your­self up. Yes, there are the ac­co­lades. But there’s also the chance you’ll cop some crit­i­cism.

“Prop­erty man­age­ment, in many ways, is not so dif­fer­ent. You need the con­fi­dence to de­liver a mes­sage – a per­for­mance – to your clients. And you need to be pre­pared in case some crit­i­cism comes your way.

“What we do can be quite con­fronta­tional. There’s of­ten a lot of emo­tion in­volved. You def­i­nitely need to have the right tem­per­a­ment!”

Maria made the move to prop­erty man­age­ment af­ter spend­ing the early part of her ca­reer work­ing in bank­ing and fi­nance.

“Even though I come from a fam­ily of real es­tate agents, it wasn’t what I saw my­self do­ing – at least not ini­tially,” she says. “When I left school, I felt I needed to get out, see the world and try a few things. I needed some life ex­pe­ri­ence. To be a great prop­erty man­ager you re­ally do need to have a de­cent amount of life ex­pe­ri­ence be­hind you.

“But there came a time when I was ready to make the leap. My sec­ond child had just started school when Si­mon Best, the Di­rec­tor here at Barry Plant Mitchell Shire, of­fered me a job.

“That was in 2002 – and I haven’t looked back. It’s a great job and ev­ery day is dif­fer­ent.”

DE­LIV­ER­ING EX­CEL­LENCE

Head­ing up a team of six, Maria has struc­tured her de­part­ment in a way that al­lows them to de­liver on the Barry Plant prom­ise to “de­liver ex­cel­lence to­gether”.

“We have land­lord man­agers and ten­ant man­agers. Be­cause we’re spread out over three of­fices, we’ve found this works bet­ter for us than a tra­di­tional port­fo­lio man­age­ment model,” Maria ex­plains.

“We stuck with port­fo­lio man­age­ment for quite a long time, but it got to a point where it just wasn’t work­ing. It was far too time con­sum­ing for one per­son to com­pletely man­age their own port­fo­lio.

“It took me a while to cre­ate the model we now use and be sure it was go­ing to work for us. But then we took the plunge and it’s the best thing we’ve ever done. It’s far eas­ier and more ef­fi­cient for our prop­erty man­agers to deal with just one side of the equa­tion. Noth­ing falls through the cracks. Ev­ery­one knows what they need to do.”

TECH SAVVY

Prop­erty man­age­ment never sleeps and Maria points to or­gan­i­sa­tion as one of the key skills ev­ery prop­erty man­ager must master to be suc­cess­ful – and tech­nol­ogy is her god­send to main­tain ef­fi­ciency.

“I’m a bit of an Ap­ple girl. I have it all – an iPad, iPhone and Ap­ple Watch, and ev­ery­thing syncs,” Maria says.

“It doesn’t mat­ter where I am – at my desk, in the car or do­ing an in­spec­tion – I know ex­actly what’s hap­pen­ing, where I need to be and can eas­ily ac­tion tasks with a min­i­mum of fuss.”

Us­ing cloud-based soft­ware also plays an im­por­tant role in keep­ing ev­ery­thing on track. A long-time user of Rock­end’s REST Pro­fes­sional, Barry Plant Mitchell Shire made the move to Prop­er­tyTree in May 2015.

“We have three of­fices and the team was re­motely ac­cess­ing the server in the main of­fice,” Maria ex­plains. “It was caus­ing us prob­lems. There were cer­tain times of the day when ac­cess was far too slow and it was hav­ing a def­i­nite im­pact on our work.

“We knew we needed a cloud-based so­lu­tion to over­come the is­sue.

“The change to Prop­er­tyTree has made such a dif­fer­ence. It’s given us so much more flex­i­bil­ity. We don’t need to be in the of­fice to get things done. We can all be out and about, and still ac­cess the data we need to do our job. All we need to do is pick up our iPad or iPhone and ev­ery­thing is at our fin­ger­tips. It’s made things much more ef­fi­cient.”

Maria points to Prop­er­tyTree’s Land­lord and Ten­ant Por­tal as one of the fea­tures the team has found most ben­e­fi­cial.

“The fact that our clients can ac­cess the in­for­ma­tion they need 24 hours a day is fan­tas­tic,” she says. “Some­times our clients aren’t able to con­tact us dur­ing work­ing hours. Now with Prop­er­tyTree, they can sim­ply log into the por­tal and find the in­for­ma­tion they need.

“We even use ac­cess to the por­tal as a sell­ing point when we meet with prospec­tive land­lords.”

GEARED FOR GROWTH

So what’s on the hori­zon for Maria in the next 12 months? Growth.

“We’re in an area where there’s quite a lot of com­pe­ti­tion and more than just stand­ing our ground, we want to grow our busi­ness,” she says.

“I’m re­spon­si­ble for bring­ing in new busi­ness and I have my fin­ger on the pulse at all times. I know ev­ery­thing that comes in and goes out of this de­part­ment. I al­ways know what’s go­ing on with ev­ery client’s prop­erty, so they can rest easy that ev­ery­thing is taken care of. I’m con­fi­dent we can pro­vide the best level of ser­vice to our clients.”

“WE STUCK WITH PORT­FO­LIO MAN­AGE­MENT FOR QUITE A LONG TIME, BUT IT GOT TO A POINT WHERE IT JUST WASN’T WORK­ING. IT WAS FAR TOO TIME CON­SUM­ING FOR ONE PER­SON TO COM­PLETELY MAN­AGE THEIR OWN PORT­FO­LIO.”

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