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Chris Haskins: The passion and precision required for property management

When Chris Haskins' role in the defence force came to an end, she found her next career path in property management. Now in her most challenging role yet, the Ray White Geelong property management department manager reflects on changes she'd like to see in the industry and the colourful characters she's met along the way.

How many years have you been in the industry?

I have been in residential rentals for 23 years, with 12 of those being with my current employer. I have been in property management for the entire time.

It has been a good industry for me. It is ever-changing and challenging. 

Over that time, I have worked as a property manager in varying sized rent rolls, structures and team sizes. I currently work as a department manager, which is by far my most challenging role.

What’s a special place in your local area, and what do you love about it?

Torquay Beach for a walk with my dachshund on a sunny, windy or rainy day is great. It can be as social or as solitary as I wish. 

I love the sounds and vista of the place, and good coffee is easily found in the town.  

Did you choose property management or did it choose you?

Property management chose me.

My first career was in the defence force, and when that came to an end, I moved to Bendigo and met my neighbour who worked in the industry. 

She prompted me to apply for a job as a property manager with her employer, and here I am, still in property management.

What’s your most memorable rental property and why?

There isn’t a property that comes to mind as memorable, but there are some characters who have owned and rented the properties that come to mind. 

One particular owner wanted to rent out his large holiday home fully furnished – his only requirement was that people didn’t sleep in the beds.

They could use the rooms no problem but not the beds.  

What key goals are you focusing on this year?

Property management is very dynamic at the moment. 

A pandemic and new legislation have provided many challenges and stresses but also provided opportunities for growth and confidence in our abilities to adapt and seek change. 

There are so many technological advances and new systems available to the industry that can improve our workflow and efficiencies, increase our service and offerings to our clients, and improve how we interact with clients and our teams. 

Transforming our property management department to provide a better customer experience, accommodate new legislative requirements and streamline our processes is the key goal now. 

This should also improve the experience for our team, with technology and streamlined processes reducing workloads and stress and providing more time to interact with clients and build better relationships.  

Where would you like to be this time next year?

As a department, I would like to realise the above goals and enjoy the stability and improvements it brings.

On a personal note, I hope to get an overseas trip sometime next year. It may be a slim hope, but I have family overseas and a wedding I would love to attend in Scotland.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

We are a professional industry; we manage valuable assets with complex legislation and often with layered issues and challenges.

We should value ourselves, our work and our knowledge accordingly. 

With the competitive nature of our industry and the resultant discounting of fees, we are undervaluing our services and industry.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and how has it helped you?

“Don’t take it personally.” 

I am not sure who told me that, but I have passed it on to many of my colleagues. 

There can be some personal barbs and criticism from clients, but I don’t take it personally, as it is normally meant for the situation they are in and not anything that can be attributed to me.  

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