PM PRO­FILE

Jes­sica Melling, LJ Hooker Robina

Elite Property Manager - - CONTENTS - HAN­NAH BLACK­ISTON

SINCE HER FIRST ROLE in prop­erty man­age­ment in 2008, Jes­sica Melling has gone from strength to strength. As a BDM at LJ Hooker Robina and Mudgeer­aba, she has helped build a rent roll from noth­ing to 500 prop­er­ties in just 18 months. Han­nah Black­iston caught up with Jes­sica to find out about her ti­tle of client in­vest­ment man­ager, and why she's con­fi­dent her in­vestors ‘stress less with Jess'.

With 11 years in prop­erty man­age­ment un­der her belt, Jes­sica Melling is some­what of an ex­pert. It’s this pas­sion and knowl­edge that drives her in her cur­rent role as BDM at LJ Hooker Robina and Mudgeer­aba, where she also over­sees the prop­erty man­age­ment team across both of­fices, as well as work­ing with Burleigh Wa­ters and Burleigh Heads.

“As a team we’re grow­ing rapidly. I work along­side an­other busi­ness de­vel­op­ment man­ager [Blanche Manby] and we cur­rently have four of­fices that we look af­ter. Dave Manby is the prin­ci­pal along­side Ray­mond

Pien­aar. Dave started LJ Hooker Robina, then pur­chased Mudgeer­aba, then opened Burleigh Wa­ters and Burleigh Heads. The prop­erty man­age­ment team are based in Burleigh Heads.”

Jes­sica cur­rently op­er­ates un­der the ti­tle of client in­vest­ment man­ager, which gives the in­vestors she works with a snap­shot of what her role can pro­vide them. Jes­sica says it's her 11 years in prop­erty man­age­ment which makes her so suit­able for this ti­tle. Her thor­ough un­der­stand­ing of the man­age­ment process gives her the abil­ity to sell her skills, and those of her team, to po­ten­tial new busi­ness.

“I've al­ways had an in­ter­est in prop­erty and peo­ple, and while I was en­joy­ing the day to day prop­erty man­age­ment tasks I was do­ing I wanted to test my­self. That’s the main rea­son I stepped into a BDM role. My boss gave me a bit of a go and I found it was a happy medium for me; we had just bought an in­vest­ment prop­erty our­selves so I was re­ally in­ter­ested in it.

“From there I started learn­ing a lot from the sales de­part­ment. I started to use what I was in­ter­ested in and the skills of ev­ery­one around me, which led me to where I am to­day.”

MANAG­ING A TEAM

Once the rent roll be­gan to grow, the team had to de­cide if they were go­ing to host the prop­erty man­age­ment de­part­ment in one of­fice, or spread it out across the four ar­eas. Even though the de­ci­sion was made to keep ev­ery­one in the same lo­ca­tion, Jess says her team spe­cialise in dif­fer­ent ar­eas and are reg­u­larly on the road see­ing clients. With the other four of­fices to rely on in a tough spot, land­lords know their in­vest­ments are al­ways un­der a watch­ful eye.

“Hav­ing the four of­fices, even though the prop­erty man­agers are based in Burleigh Heads, we’re lucky that we have staff reg­u­larly go­ing to and from those of­fices. So if your prop­erty is lo­cated in Robina, we have our sales team there to help us. There’s al­ways some­one keep­ing an eye on your prop­erty.

“When we bring a prop­erty on, all of our sales team know about it and so do our prop­erty man­age­ment team. So not only do you have those ex­tra eyes on your prop­erty, we’re also able to pro­mote your prop­erty from four dif­fer­ent of­fices.”

Pro­mo­tion of the ser­vices avail­able across the four of­fices is some­thing Jes­sica is re­ally pas­sion­ate about. She works closely with the whole sales team, and pro­vides them with rental val­u­a­tions for ev­ery home they list. This not only helps seal the deal with po­ten­tial in­vestors look­ing for a new pur­chase, but also helps smooth out the fi­nanc­ing process.

“I take the time to catch up with my sales team once a week in­di­vid­u­ally. We talk about the mar­ket­ing they’re do­ing, if there’s any­thing I can jump in on, look at what stock they have com­ing up, the open homes they’re do­ing and which of their prop­er­ties are at­tract­ing in­vestors.

“It’s about tak­ing the time to build that trust so they know that when the time comes I’m go­ing to do the best job pos­si­ble, and it keeps me at the fore­front of their minds all the time.”

“VIR­TUAL AS­SIS­TANTS ARE FAN­TAS­TIC; I’D LOVE ONE TO DO MY BACKEND DATA WORK – BUT IT’S STILL ABOUT THE PER­SONAL TOUCH.”

“IT’S ABOUT TAK­ING THE TIME TO BUILD THAT TRUST SO THEY KNOW THAT WHEN THE TIME COMES I’M GO­ING TO DO THE BEST JOB POS­SI­BLE.”

THE DIG­I­TAL AGE

An­other im­por­tant thing for Jes­sica and her role is a fo­cus on tech­nol­ogy. Work­ing in an area pop­u­lar with in­vestors, it’s im­por­tant that the team stand out – some­thing Jes­sica says comes down to pro­vid­ing a su­pe­rior ser­vice.

“We pride our­selves on tech­nol­ogy. We’re start­ing to do a lot of 3D videos for our list­ings; we’ll do the walk­throughs on 3D cam­eras. That’s both for ad­ver­tis­ing and for con­di­tion re­ports as well.

“We’re about to move into the video space, us­ing videos of my­self or some­one else talk­ing about the rental prop­erty that’s be­ing ad­ver­tised and do­ing a walk­through along­side it which will have the pho­tos and the floor­plan. We’re re­ally try­ing to pre­qual­ify peo­ple to the homes be­fore they come through.”

A PER­SONAL TOUCH

At the end of the day, Jes­sica is well aware that de­liv­er­ing a good cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence is not about throw­ing all the new tech of­fer­ings into a blender and see­ing what comes out. She and her team win, and keep, list­ings through good old-fash­ioned per­sonal touches, not ad­vanced equip­ment.

“I just had this con­ver­sa­tion with my prop­erty man­agers yes­ter­day. You can have the best tech­nol­ogy, do the best re­port and send that re­port to an owner in a text mes­sage, but it’s not per­sonal and peo­ple want to deal with peo­ple.

“Pick­ing up the phone and speak­ing to peo­ple is some­thing that just isn’t hap­pen­ing any more, so we be­lieve that per­sonal con­tact with our clients is go­ing to be the point of dif­fer­ence. I think vir­tual as­sis­tants and other things are fan­tas­tic; I’d love one to do my backend data work, be­cause if you’re not pro­cess­ing ap­pli­ca­tions fast enough or re­spond­ing to ten­ants you can lose them – but it’s still about the per­sonal touch.”

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