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Continuous Improvement

Tina Case started out as a weekend receptionist. Working her way up she now has a dual role in her own agency, Professionals Lithgow, as both Principal and Property Manager. Tina discusses how it all started, how she deals with the demands of the job and what keeps her motivated.

Tina CaseTell us a bit about yourself and your role at Professionals Lithgow.
I am the principal of the office and the property manager here. I oversee the department and keep on top of the day-to-day running. Having a principal working in the department gives our landlords a lot of confidence, because they know that I’m really invested in it – at our office property management isn’t seen as an add-on to the sales department.

What motivated you to get into real estate?
Like so many people in property management, I sort of fell into the role. I started as a weekend receptionist when my children were small and every time that someone in the office left, for whatever reason, I put my hand up for their job. I just kept on working my way up until my husband and I decided it was time to try things on our own. We opened here in 2007.

How is the market in your local area right now?
The rental market is pretty good here at the moment. There are a lot of new investors in our local area, which is great for Lithgow and for us. Our vacancy rate has been pretty low over the past 12 months, so the market is looking really positive.

Who or what inspires you?
I find inspiration in so many things. I really do love to attend property management conferences and I always find that the things I come away most excited about are the new ideas from other property managers. Ours is such a unique job that people outside the industry could never fully understand what we do and how much we deal with. I would encourage everyone in property management to come along to LPMA and get inspired too!

In your briefcase right now is…
Golly – so much stuff! My brolly, tissues, pen, notepad, iPad, iPhone, sunnies, Disprin, five lipsticks – just the usual stuff that a woman needs to keep herself together! I also did some routine inspections this morning, so there are about nine sets of keys on a carabiner as well.

What apps do you use most at the moment on your iPhone or iPad?
YouTube Capture is the one I would use the most. I use this one for all our inspections and to create our video newsletters. After that it would be Field Agent, another great app for real estate – I had a little part in helping develop this one!

What is your top tip for good client communication?
Always take a deep breath before dealing with issues. It might seem so insignificant to us as property managers that someone needs to replace something or fix something, but it may not be that way to our client. Remember that they have stresses and money issues and problems we know nothing about generally, so being mindful of having solutions, options and being kind to them is so important. Don’t rush people just because you are busy, either; it’s impolite and unprofessional.

Is there something you couldn’t live without?
My family. Plain and simple – they are the love of my life.

What advice would you give someone starting out in property management?
Get a mentor. Don’t work for someone who isn’t passionate about the industry. Treat your tenants like they are gold, because the great ones will make your job so much easier.

Words to live by?
My favourite saying is a Japanese word, ‘Kaizen’. I use this as my inspiration on a daily basis. Kaizen is the practice of continuous improvement. I find it helpful to know that I don’t have to do it all at once: small but continuous improvement is my motto. I have a photo of this character on my phone and I see it each time I open the phone as a reminder that small improvement is still improvement.

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