Nick Brown: Are you wearing too many hats?

Property managers are often the meat in the sandwich, tasked with managing the needs of their landlords and tenants. But what happens when your clients demand too much? Here, Nick Brown explains why its easy to find yourself giving too much and how you can pull back and set boundaries.

With 2022 kicking off with a bang, I have pondered on how we look at our roles as property managers.

For most of us, the start of 2022 isn’t the one we would have preferred.

Staff, contractors, tenants and landlords have all had to isolate. It fact, it seems as though everyone on the east coast of Australia has had to spend at least a week in isolation at some point over the past few months.

That said, something I am seeing more often is our industry trying to juggle too many balls and wear too many hats.

Sometimes we are losing sight of what we are engaged to do. Muddying the lines of what our role is.

As a property manager it is our job to manage the relationship between a landlord and tenant and make sure the property is the way it should be.

Trying to be everything to everyone has always been our weakness as property managers, but in the past couple of years landlords and tenants (and everyone else we work with) have been demanding more and more from us.

Talking in a black and white context – our role as an agent is, most commonly, to manage a property and a tenancy.

However, a common extension of that is we end up feeling as though we are social workers, debt collectors, maintenance contractors, insurance advisors, financial advisors and who knows what else.

Managing a tenancy can be incredibly complex.

I love our industry and I have always gone the extra mile for my clients but, with respect, I say this to not only all the landlords and tenants out there but also the agency owners and managers – at what point are we asking too much of our property managers?

When does it stop?

Our agency is engaged to manage a tenancy and look after a property, but so often we are pulled in (or offer) to go above and beyond.

There is nothing wrong with offering superior customer service and making the client relationship as hassle free as possible but, on a serious note, if you are going above and beyond what you are legally engaged to do through your Appointment of Agent this can increase the risk on the business and, in a worst case scenario, land you in some hot water.

Quite often I see landlords saying, “I don’t want to spend that kind of money” so our industry comes up with solutions to get around that.

From where I stand, 10 points to the problem solvers out there in our industry but minus 20 points if that solution ends with us being the person fixing everything, even in situations where we are not appointed, not licensed, or certified to do.

It should be the property owner’s investment, not our agency’s.

We must work with landlords to get things sorted – we shouldn’t take all the responsibility (and risk) away from them and load it on to our agency.

The past few years have been some of the toughest we have had to face. Not just at an industry level, but as a society.

It doesn’t appear to be getting any easier either, so it is our job, as cliche as it sounds, to find ways to work smarter and not harder.

Involve your clients in the process, educate them on the rights, wrongs, and everything in between.

Discuss options and seek instruction.

If you adopt this approach, I guarantee you’ll look back in 12 months time and be so thankful you chose to think differently!

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Nick Brown

With over 20 years’ wide-ranging experience in real estate, Nick Brown is the founder of Edge Property and runs his own Training and Advisory Service to educate agencies and their teams.