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5 ways property management needs to change

Property management is in a time of crisis, with changes coming from every angle and added pressure on how PMs work. Alister Maple-Brown looks at how the industry needs to be improved.

The 2018 Voice of Australian Property Management report found that property management is suffering from a high level of disillusionment and defection from the industry, with the bulk of those employed in the sector passive about their roles.

Here’s what needs to change in 2019:

1 How we work needs to change

The data revealed that while most property managers (60 per cent) work a typical 40 -hour week, it’s how they fill that week that makes the difference.

It’s not regulations or customer demands that impact workloads as much as the tools and resources the team has. A constant sense of being ‘too busy’ leads to feeling overwhelmed, which will cause staff to leave.

2 Our focus needs to change

The report shows that the industry is overwhelmingly focused on the short – term goals of revenue and efficiency.

With an uncertain property market and higher customer expectations in play, that makes sense, but we need to take a longer-term view by looking at more structural issues, together with the technology and staff training that will resolve issues more permanently.

This includes how we free up time from repetitive and low-value tasks to ensure that property management roles are more effective – and interesting – for staff, especially in smaller teams.

3 We need to work on career planning, upskilling & retention

The data shows that an average property management business is small, tightly run and has challenging workloads in terms of volumes of rental listings.

It also shows many offices have attitudes that the time cannot be taken off for training. That career planning isn’t necessary (you’ll promote them if an opening becomes available) and that as long as they turn up to the awards night, they should be happy.

But a workforce churn of 41 per cent being in the role for less than two years, together with the number of those leaving the industry altogether, is evidence that this approach isn’t working.

4 We need to change our culture

A key insight from the survey is that most property managers enjoy their jobs, feel their role is secure and are generally satisfied with how much they are paid.

So why do so many talk it down?

The data reveals something deeply unsatisfactory in property management, seen in the attitudes towards never-ending busy-ness, career planning options and the degree of support property managers have from their principals to achieve their goals.

Detractor levels are high when these three elements are lacking, even when respondents said they liked the people they worked with.

5 Principals need to embrace property management

The Voice of Australian Property Management reveals a significant disconnect between the priorities, concerns and training of principals and property managers.

It also shows that when such a disconnect occurs, staff turnover is likely to be high – which in turn creates an inconsistency in service delivery and makes it harder to hit revenue targets.

The Macquarie Benchmark report shows that nationally, property management is responsible for 70 per cent of the income of real estate agencies. Which would suggest principals should spend more time focusing on their property management team in order to influence their long-term business success.

The full Voice of Australian Property Management report can be downloaded at https://www.rockend.com/australian-pm-survey-report

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Alister Maple-Brown

Alister Maple-Brown is the CEO of leading property management software provider Rockend. For more information visit rockend.com.au.