IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT FEES

In­ter­view with REA Group GM of Rent Kul Singh

Elite Property Manager - - CONTENTS -

A NEW SUR­VEY BY realestate.com.au in­di­cates land­lords take less than two weeks to re­search a prop­erty man­ager. Half go with the first they find, mean­ing that it is more im­por­tant than ever to po­si­tion your­self as the prop­erty man­ager of choice. Saman­tha McLean sat down with realestate.com.au's Gen­eral Man­ager of Rent Kul Singh to ex­plore the lat­est rental trends and gain an in­sight into what own­ers seek when se­lect­ing the right per­son to man­age their in­vest­ment.

I with t's hardly an in­dus­try se­cret that the rental mar­ket is hot right now, eco­nomic trends and more strin­gent lend­ing cri­te­ria see­ing the great Aus­tralian home own­er­ship dream make way for a more tran­sient liv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. realestate.com.au's Kul Singh ex­plains the shift is re­sult­ing in rental searches out­strip­ping sales in some ar­eas. It's also see­ing rental prop­er­ties in many suburbs spend­ing fewer days on the mar­ket.

While that's good news for own­ers and prop­erty man­agers, Kul also notes some in­ter­est­ing find­ings when it comes to how land­lords select a prop­erty man­ager. And, sur­pris­ingly, it's not all about the fees.

Fast choices

It might be one of their big­gest fi­nan­cial in­vest­ments, but own­ers take only a short time to re­search and select their prop­erty man­ager. The re­search in­di­cates 63 per cent of land­lords spend less than two weeks seek­ing out the right per­son to look af­ter their prop­erty, and half go with the very first prop­erty man­ager they con­nect with.

“This was a sur­prise to us,” says Kul. “We al­ways knew they spent a short amount of time re­search­ing, but the fact they go with the first one they con­nect with shows how im­por­tant it is to brand your­self in the best pos­si­ble way.

“Get your­self in front of as many eye­balls as you can but, more im­por­tantly, make an im­pres­sion,” ad­vises Kul.

It's about the team

In real es­tate sales, se­lect­ing the right pro­fes­sional is all about the in­di­vid­ual; but in prop­erty man­age­ment realestate. com.au have found the op­po­site is true. When it comes to how land­lords find a prop­erty man­ager, of­ten they're look­ing for a rep­utable brand.

Kul notes this means agen­cies should pay at­ten­tion to their prop­erty man­age­ment brand­ing and the team be­hind it. In the fu­ture, realestate. com.au will be look­ing to as­sist in a sim­i­lar way to the sales realm with the ex­pan­sion of the Edge Se­ries of prod­ucts, which will be good news for prop­erty man­agers.

“The next part of our roadmap in terms of the El­e­vate and Edge prod­ucts is to fo­cus on prop­erty man­agers and agen­cies… we are work­ing on how we brand prop­erty man­age­ment teams, how long they have been work­ing to­gether, how many prop­er­ties are be­ing man­aged and leased, that sort of thing,” says Kul.

What prop­erty own­ers seek

When it comes to what land­lords seek when they con­nect with a prop­erty man­ager, Kul notes it re­lates to three key things: ten­ants, pay­ments and pro­cesses. These are the el­e­ments a BDM's list­ing pre­sen­ta­tion should touch on and in­clude:

How the agency se­lects ten­ants How and when rent will be paid, and how you en­sure ten­ants pay rent on time

Your process for han­dling re­pairs and main­te­nance

Your process for in­spec­tions and what they can ex­pect

How and when you com­mu­ni­cate with land­lords

“Those are key things that they're look­ing for; when is rent paid, how is it paid, when do I get ac­cess to it, what's the process you go through to find the best ten­ant?

“Ad­di­tion­ally, they want an in­sight into your gen­eral process if some­thing goes wrong from a main­te­nance per­spec­tive. They just want to un­der­stand your process and how you make it less painful to them.”

The need for speed

Mean­while, good com­mu­ni­ca­tion and time­li­ness starts from the out­set.

“It's not rocket science,” says Kul, ex­plain­ing that prop­erty man­agers should get in con­tact with new leads quickly in the knowl­edge land­lords spend only a short time re­search­ing and tend to en­gage the first prop­erty man­agers they con­nect with.

It's not all about the fees

Down­ward pres­sure on fees has been a ma­jor topic of dis­cus­sion in the in­dus­try over re­cent months, but it's just one fac­tor in an owner's de­ci­sion-mak­ing process.

It also fails to reg­is­ter on the land­lord sat­is­fac­tion scale once they've se­lected an agency.

“When they are de­cid­ing [on a manag­ing agent] it's one of the top things own­ers will think about. Once they've picked a prop­erty man­ager or an agency they want to go with, fees are no longer in their top 10 key fo­cus ar­eas.

“It comes back to the ser­vice that the land­lord wants: proac­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion and on­go­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion with them.”

Room for cus­tomi­sa­tion

In the age of Uber and the ‘cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence', Kul notes there is also room for cus­tomi­sa­tion in prop­erty man­age­ment, es­pe­cially when it comes to at­tract­ing land­lords who might oth­er­wise look to man­age a prop­erty them­selves.

“In the re­search we did, 49 per cent of the land­lords said they pre­fer a cus­tomised of­fer­ing, so not a one-siz­e­fits-all.

“They might say, ‘I only want to pay for three things, which might be mar­ket my prop­erty, find me a ten­ant, and I will pay for add-on ser­vices like a rou­tine in­spec­tion. I don't want the eight per cent all-in­clu­sive; I want the three per cent plus.'

“You'll al­ways have peo­ple who just want the all-in­clu­sive ‘set and for­get', you'll have oth­ers who are happy to do a bit of the heavy lift­ing them­selves, and I think we need to re­spond to what the mar­ket wants. Some agen­cies are start­ing to move in that di­rec­tion now.”

Mean­while, he tips this as a ma­jor trend that will emerge over the com­ing year.

“You'll prob­a­bly see more agen­cies re­spond­ing to the needs of in­vestors and land­lords, cus­tomis­ing their of­fer­ings around prop­erty man­age­ment.

“I think we fell into the trap of one-size-fits-all for too long, be­cause it was easy, it was sig­nif­i­cant. But with digi­tis­ing and be­ing able to have more con­trol as a con­sumer and as a land­lord, I think cus­tomis­ing what my needs are is go­ing to be­come more ap­par­ent, and agen­cies will re­spond to it.”

realestate.com.au will re­lease their full land­lord re­search re­sults over the com­ing months.

GET YOUR­SELF IN FRONT OF AS MANY EYE­BALLS AS YOU CAN BUT, MORE IM­POR­TANTLY, MAKE AN IM­PRES­SION.

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