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Mike Gill: Rental ecosystems

Mike Gill is Market Research Manager for the REA Group, and spends most of his time researching the users of realestate.com.au, no matter what property journey they happen to be on. His role includes continually improving the realestate.com.au customer experience, helping consumers connect with the right agents and transact the right property more efficiently. Mike also spends time working with agents and the developers to understand their needs from an advertising perspective – ensuring those products are meeting the needs of all parties.

Mike Gill will be speaking at Prop20 in March and April. To register for this event visit proprea.com.au.

Mike, what are you working on right now?
We have a big focus on rent at the moment so I’ve been spending a lot of my time looking at rental ecosystems. There are three main groups there – tenants, landlords, and property managers.

What topic(s) will you be speaking on at Prop20?
The presentation will be focused on landlord needs and it will have three different parts to it.

Part one is about why landlords decide to either self manage or engage a property manager. What’s driving that decision and why do they choose one pathway over the other?

Part two flows on from that and looks at those landlords who do choose a property manager, why do they do so, and what are they looking for?

This will include some actionable tips on how property managers and the business development teams should position the agency and what sort of information the consumers are looking for. And, most importantly, how do they stand out?

The third part will examine the future, including disruption in the rental industry.

There are a lot of digital platforms that self managers can choose to use, including Airbnb, so there will be discussion on that as well as changing expectations for landlords.

What’s your prediction for consumer trends in 2020?
My focus here is really around different business models. At the moment in the property management space it’s a case of either full service or nothing, where landlords either pay property managers to do everything for them or they do it all themselves.

What we’re starting to see is a growing trend towards a light service model where landlords can pick and choose the services they want to pay for.

For example, they might want to pay for a property manager to find them a tenant and manage all of the administration but they may be willing to do the insurance and any maintenance themselves.

What are landlords’ priorities and needs in the Australian market?
When landlords are looking for a property manager, we know from research that they spend a short amount of time researching agents. On average it’s about two weeks.

They spend many months going through the buying process, they have about a three-month settlement period, and yet they only actively spend about two weeks thinking about who they will get to look after the property for them.

Of the landlords we speak to, 50 per cent are choosing the first agent they speak to. The window of opportunity for agencies to connect to landlords and wow them is quite small.

That first contact is critical and, in many cases, it’s their business to lose not to win.

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