EPMEPM: Productivity

How healthy is your PM department?

A property management team not performing at its peak might be in need of a trip to the Emergency Department. Natalie Hastings looks at the symptoms of infection to watch out for and how to treat them.

Cough, cough. Splutter and sneeze. It’s not only your property managers who need to up their dose of Vitamin C and ensure they get their flu jab this season.

Unbeknownst to you, your property management department may be in less than tip-top shape. A sickly rent roll may be underperforming for many reasons, potentially losing you money each month, causing you to bleed clients and even putting your business in a toxic position of non-compliance.

My business regularly performs Business Health Checks on property management departments Australia-wide. We take the temperature of real estate businesses to see if their systems and processes can be improved to help estate agencies thrive, whilst keeping their promises to all key stakeholders. If you think your business is a little under the weather instead of fighting fit, here are four key indicators that your rent roll and property management department are dealing with a serious case of the flu.

Principals regularly think they have more properties under management than they actually do.

Sickly Symptom 1: You’re letting hundreds or thousands of dollars per month slip through your fingers because you’re neglecting to collect internal fees efficiently. This rather expensive symptom is the result of poor systems and irregular use of your property management database. Fees you should automatically be charging include letting fees, VCAT appearances and preparation, advertising, NTD checks and postage. These small amounts should never be overlooked – they add up to important income for your real estate agency. If your team do not know how to use your CRM, take steps to remedy the situation – training is needed, stat!

Sickly Symptom 2: Rent roll amnesia. Principals regularly think they have more properties under management than they actually do. This distressing (and sometimes embarrassing) symptom is caused by property managers failing to archive lost properties within their CRM. You’d be surprised how often this occurs – it’s only really noted when a principal is gearing up to sell their rent roll. This nasty case of rent roll amnesia can be avoided with the clever use of your database. Export out your portfolio report into Excel, filter by income and check ledgers for transactions to ensure you really are still responsible for all the properties you assume are under management.

Sickly Symptom Number 3: The bad bout of misunderstood management authorities! This rampant virus ffects both residential and commercial portfolios nationwide, leaving agencies all the poorer for it. Most authorities will say that your agency is entitled to collect management fees on all monies collected – yet many businesses will only collect fees on rent. Don’t shortchange your business – take steps to charge on all invoices and outgoings, too!

Sickly Symptom Number 4: Routine inspection confusion. Make sure that your team prioritise database hygiene and close off routine inspections once they’re complete. A day in property management is busy enough without superfluous completed tasks taking up your focus. Make sure that all inspection dates are diarised so that missing a routine simply isn’t an option.

Have one or two of these symptoms appeared in your property management department? Whilst they may sound dire at first, with a little care and the right support your rent roll and team will soon be heartily listing and leasing for your best spring yet!

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Natalie Hastings

Natalie Hastings is the Managing Director of Hastings + Co. For more information, visit hastingsandco.com.au.

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