PROP­ERTY MAN­AGE­MENT IN THE YEAR 2058

Natalie Hast­ings takes a wry look back to the bad old days of prop­erty rentals, and won­ders what the fu­ture holds for land­lords, ten­ants and prop­erty man­agers.

Elite Property Manager - - FRONT PAGE - Natalie Hast­ings

Cast your mind back forty years to the real es­tate in­dus­try of 1978 in Aus­tralia. Be­ing a rel­a­tively youth­ful in­dus­try, you might not re­mem­ber the ‘bad old days’. They were light years from the pro­fes­sion we know and en­joy to­day.

Whilst some things re­main the same about suc­cess in real es­tate – prospect­ing must be part of ev­ery day, timely com­mu­ni­ca­tion and great cus­tomer ser­vice is every­thing – much of the agent or prop­erty man­ager’s ideal day has changed.

In 1978, there was no in­ter­net, no email and no mo­bile phone. This meant a much bet­ter work/life bal­ance in many ways! Prop­er­ties for sale or lease were ad­ver­tised in shopfronts or in the news­pa­per. Prospec­tive ten­ants would come to the of­fice to pick up keys, vis­it­ing homes for lease on their own. Rent and bond were usu­ally paid in cash to the of­fice, adding a level of risk and po­ten­tial for fraud that chills mod­ern trust ac­coun­tants to the bone.

Prop­erty man­age­ment used to be the first stop on the lad­der for real es­tate pro­fes­sion­als, and was viewed as a train­ing ground for sales. Data­bases were ef­fec­tively in­dex cards or notes made in REIV di­aries. News­let­ters weren’t even a thing.

Peo­ple and pro­cesses have changed in our in­dus­try, and for the bet­ter.

So what will the real es­tate pro­fes­sion – and prop­erty man­age­ment, more im­por­tantly – look like in an­other forty years? Will we even have jobs in 2058? Here are hast­ings + co’s pre­dic­tions for the fu­ture of prop­erty man­age­ment.

FEWER AGEN­CIES DO­ING MORE WORK

As to­day’s se­nior prin­ci­pals be­gin to leave the in­dus­try, their rent rolls be will be ac­quired by larger busi­nesses with sub­stan­tial bud­gets. Th­ese larger agen­cies will have the re­sources to am­plify their use of tech­nol­ogy and mar­ket across all medi­ums, help­ing them to win more land­lords as they go, thus creat­ing mega rent rolls.

Don’t de­spair and think that this cen­tral­i­sa­tion will mean fewer jobs for prop­erty man­agers: so much of Aus­tralia’s wealth rests upon prop­erty in­vest­ment and the in­dus­try will con­tinue to re­quire tal­ented man­agers ‘on the ground’ to rep­re­sent land­lords’ in­ter­ests. With more prop­erty man­agers work­ing in gi­ant agen­cies man­ag­ing tens of thousands of homes, it’s pos­si­ble that em­ployee ben­e­fits and train­ing will be on the up as the role of prop­erty man­ager gains the re­spect it de­serves.

OUT­SOURC­ING WILL BE KEY

In the fu­ture, prin­ci­pals will look back on the agen­cies of to­day and scoff at their con­cerns over out­sourc­ing. In 2058 ac­count­abil­ity sys­tems and pro­cesses will be en­hanced by data­bases that do more than we could pos­si­bly imag­ine to­day.

Any­thing that doesn’t in­volve im­me­di­ate cus­tomer in­ter­face and a brand ex­pe­ri­ence is up for out­sourc­ing. Trust ac­count­ing, pro­cess­ing rou­tine in­spec­tion re­ports, mar­ket­ing, ba­sic main­te­nance mat­ters – even prospect­ing will be out­sourced to busi­nesses who spe­cialise in their unique real es­tate sup­port cat­e­gory. It’s more tax-ef­fec­tive for real es­tate busi­nesses to fo­cus on what they’re best at – hu­man re­la­tion­ships and pair­ing great ten­ants with great prop­er­ties.

PROP­ERTY MAN­AGE­MENT SPE­CIAL­IST AGEN­CIES

Ex­pect to see the rise of leas­ing-only real es­tate busi­nesses who dif­fer­en­ti­ate their of­fer­ing by fo­cus­ing sim­ply on pro­vid­ing a great ser­vice to land­lords and ten­ants. Smaller es­tate agen­cies may still ex­ist – but they’ll have es­tab­lished

BY 2058, WE’LL HAVE RE­ALISED THAT WORK­ING FROM THE SAME PLACE ISN’T CRUCIALTO COL­LAB­O­RA­TION.

their USP (unique sell­ing propo­si­tion) with con­sis­tent, bold mar­ket­ing and ‘high touch’ com­mu­ni­ca­tions. Hint: don’t dis­count build­ing re­la­tion­ships with th­ese agen­cies – they’ll have prop­er­ties to re­fer on to trusted sales agents!

THE FE­MALE ECON­OMY

Did you know that women will shortly be in con­trol of 75 per cent of fi­nan­cial de­ci­sions for their house­hold? In the real es­tate in­dus­try, we ei­ther ig­nore gen­der bias or mar­ket in a way that is tra­di­tion­ally for the male gaze. Gen­der mat­ters, and the fe­male econ­omy in the real es­tate sec­tor con­tin­ues to be ig­nored. Not for much longer, how­ever – bring on 2058 and its fe­male-cen­tric in­vest­ment prop­erty leas­ing ser­vices.

TO­TAL FLEX­I­BIL­ITY IN THE WORK­PLACE

By 2058, we’ll have re­alised that work­ing from the same place isn’t the most cru­cial as­pect of col­lab­o­ra­tion. As men and women be­come more equally rep­re­sented in the prop­erty man­age­ment work­force, flex­i­bil­ity for fam­ily and per­sonal com­mit­ments will be­come part of our agency cul­tures. Whilst com­ing to­gether phys­i­cally will still have a place, nine-tofive clock­watch­ing will be a thing of the past. Dif­fer­ent KPIs will come to the fore, with team mem­bers made eas­ily ac­count­able cour­tesy of ad­vanced CRMs.

VIR­TUAL EVERY­THING

Phys­i­cal news­let­ters, news­pa­pers and printed col­lat­eral will be a quaint anom­aly used for only the prici­est of prop­erty mar­ket­ing. Phys­i­cally get­ting to­gether for team meet­ings, list­ing pre­sen­ta­tions or ten­ant in­ter­views will be fa­cil­i­tated vir­tu­ally, too (do I hear a sigh of relief?). Open for in­spec­tions for sales and prop­erty man­age­ment will also be held in a so­phis­ti­cated vir­tual re­al­ity space – and whilst OFIs will still oc­cur, they won’t be in the same vol­ume. Never phys­i­cally meet­ing ten­ants and land­lords will be­come quite nor­mal – par­tic­u­larly as in­ter­na­tional prop­erty in­vestors be­come part of our rent rolls.

IN-HOUSE MAIN­TE­NANCE SER­VICES, AC­COUNT­ING AND MORE

Savvy real es­tate busi­nesses will take the con­cept of the ‘one-stop shop’ to the next level for land­lords and ten­ants. They’ll of­fer ad­di­tional ser­vices, creat­ing de­part­ments for main­te­nance, ac­count­ing, styling, ad­vo­cacy and broking.

One thing’s for sure – what­ever the fu­ture re­ally holds for prop­erty man­age­ment, there will still be land­lords and ten­ants. Some things never change; forty years on, prospect­ing, timely com­mu­ni­ca­tion and great cus­tomer ser­vice will still be key. •

IN THE FU­TURE, PRIN­CI­PALS WILL LOOK BACK ON THE AGEN­CIES OF TO­DAY AND SCOFF AT THEIR CON­CERNS OVER OUT­SOURC­ING.

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