EPMEPM: BD & Growth

Matt Lahood: The first 100 days in office (Part Two)

In Part One of this two-part series on Matt Lahood’s first 100 days in office as CEO of The Agency, we looked at his robust agenda for the arena of property sales and transfers. Part two takes a look at why property management, specifically catering to the aspirations of tenants is such a critical path for The Agency.

The business case for rent roll growth is compelling to most agencies but as Matt Lahood embarks upon his first 100 days in office at The Agency, property management is high on the agenda as an economic insulator, long-term client funnel and a means of equity sharing with the vested agents.  Matt has nothing short of a revolution in mind for the way The Agency will approach Property Management.

Priority 1 – Rent Roll Growth

With an extended real estate career leading teams through boom and bust, Matt’s priority for rent roll growth comes from a knowing that if (or when) markets tighten, a rent roll can provide cash and cost coverage if sales volumes compress.

“We are going to have a robust property management business behind us with a significant rent roll; our target is 10,000 properties nationally under management over the next three years. With the acquisitions we are making, we’ll be managing approximately 5,000 properties by the end of June. Having this platform from the start will put us in a strong position to grow quickly,” says Lahood.

Priority 2 – Being Tenant Centric

Matt’s passion for people was palpable during our interview. Matt’s focus on tenants as the key to unlocking untapped long-term sales funnels is based on the notion that today’s tenant is tomorrow’s buyer, landlord or seller.

“A lot of agents don’t realise that tenants are the next buyers into the market and if they are not nurtured and looked after, they will not buy through, or deal with, that agent,” Lahood says.

“Tenants will be a big part of The Agency landscape and operational focus,” says Lahood. This is likely where The Agency’s strong card of being owned by Ausnet Financial Services comes into play. “There is a synergy that occurs between professional services linked through ownership and housed in one brand at the coal face of customer interaction,” says Lahood.

Priority 3 – Integrated Value Chain

The Agency recognises that property sales and property management both represent single verticals in the suite of property services used by consumers. The Agency offers project marketing and a range of financial services: professional brokers for insurance, settlements and wealth creation services to create a fully integrated value chain for consumers to transition through property ownership – cradle to grave – in partnership with The Agency and Ausnet Financial Services.

“We are going to create ‘value added’ seminars for tenants to help them progress on the property cycle to homeownership. What we want to do is create a pipeline…”. Pipeline. It is a familiar word in real estate and for most, we use it to describe the output of marketing or prospecting verticals that lead to sales listings. When a real estate agency removes a divide between sales and property management, then the pipeline flows both ways and we start to get a sense of internal referrals working. Add in the financial service offering of the agency – and the pipeline becomes a series of arteries pumping business around a dynamic entity.

“Ausnet Financial Services has created a real estate arm in order to work alongside the home loan side of the business. Once a consumer has a home loan approved – they are now in the market for property,” Lahood explains. “The Agency wants to deliver a really simple solution to help consumers find a home. This will be facilitated by our strong referral network, giving clients access to the best agents in the country.”

The Agency is the reverse of some groups who have put financial services on top of their property sales and management arms. Here the financial services business (Ausnet Financial Services) has built the real estate business (The Agency) and the horsepower and access that comes with the brokerage capabilities opens up options for consumers.

“Currently in Perth we offer The Agency real estate services, Mortgage & Finance Solutions, Landmark Settlements, Ausnet Insurance [home and contents], Ausnet Financial Planning, and Ausnet Property Management Strategies. We’ll be rolling these services out nationally to become a complete one-stop shop.”

Priority 4 – Leading with Property Management

Matt says: “The Agency will be implementing a ‘client for life’ strategy. We want to create an environment that educates our tenants on how to improve their position and get off the rental wheel onto a path to building wealth. I feel passionate about this strategy.”

We look forward to watching Matt Lahood and The Agency proceed with the agenda laid out in part one and two of this exclusive series. Matt said that his decision to join The Agency was born from a desire to impact and to ‘move the needle’ in a young and nimble firm. We wish Matt good luck and look forward to re-visiting the needle as the agenda is implemented across The Agency. See you in one hundred days.

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Sarah Bell

With a background in research and investigations, Sarah Bell married into the real estate industry in 2009 and has found a passion for both the business and its people.