EPMEPM: Feature Interview

Delivering excellent customer experiences: Natalie Doolan

Growing up in a family of agents, Natalie Doolan resisted entering the industry for many years, learning valuable skills in event management and hospitality. Now as Director of Carnelian Property Management in Lake Macquarie, Natalie says she aims to put a smile on her clients' faces every day.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your agency.

Born in Newcastle, I grew up in Lake Macquarie, the youngest of three. I spent my 20s living and working in Sydney and had a blast! When it was time to start a family my husband and I moved back to Newcastle. We love the space and lifestyle!

At Carnelian Property Management our focus is purely property management and making it an enjoyable experience for both investors and tenants. While our business and team are growing steadily, we pride ourselves as owners of the business on still being directly accessible to our investors. In a world of increasingly online and faceless transactions, we know this personal approach is highly valued.

What motivated you to enter real estate?

Growing up, my parents owned a real estate agency. I spent many afternoons after school in the office. Although I worked in other industries such as event management and hospitality, which contributed valuable skills to my real estate career such as maintaining grace under pressure, negotiating in challenging situations, and remaining helpful and approachable at difficult times, it was pretty much a given that I would eventually make my way into real estate.

Newcastle is certainly continuing to grow and thrive, and we love sharing our experience with investors new to the region as well as locals.

What is the market like in your area right now?

Our agency covers a large footprint in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter. In this market we’re seeing older, even industrial suburbs being revitalised through waterside apartment development and tasteful renovation of century-old homes. We’re also seeing brand new land estates being developed and watching new communities emerge. Newcastle is certainly continuing to grow and thrive, and we love sharing our experience with investors new to the region as well as locals.

What is your secret to maintaining healthy relationships with landlords and tenants?

Being accessible and willing and happy to help. Showing respect for both landlords and tenants. I love being able to assist our investor clients in growing their portfolio, and our tenants find properties to call home.

What apps do you use most on your smartphone or computer?

Being a small but high-performing team, technology plays a big part in our efficiency. We all actively use Trello on a daily basis for a broad range of tasks, from daily or recurring ‘to-do’ management to project managing significant campaigns or business enhancements.

We love LastPass as a password management tool across all our devices. It enables us to regularly and quickly roll out password changes across the many platforms and apps we use throughout the business, helping minimise the risk of online threats or cyberfraud.

Being a small but high-performing team, technology plays a big part in our efficiency.

We also use Dropbox for document storage, which is of great benefit. As an example, at an ingoing inspection we may take 500 photos, which are then stored to the cloud and a single link can be shared directly with the landlord so they can feel like they were there at the inspection themselves. No need for selectively sharing photos or sending large files via email.

What changes do you see happening in property management in the next 12 months?

The industry is experiencing major growth in online services offering low fees. While they may be enticing, they cannot replace good old-fashioned customer service. I hope to see an increased focus on customer service at the forefront of clients’ minds when selecting an agency.

What are your goals for the future?

Growing our team thoughtfully and in a way that enables us to continue to be accessible for all of our landlords. We’re currently looking forward to a long-awaited family holiday to New Zealand in 2020!

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