EPMEPM: Case Studies

Paul Signorelli Raine & Horne Marrickville, NSW

After completing his HSC and studying Accountancy for a short time, Paul Signorelli received an opportunity to complete some Property Management work experience at a local real estate office. When a junior position became available at Raine & Horne Marrickville, where his sister was working, he jumped at the opportunity and has never looked back. He is now in his seventeenth year, and he says, “Time does fly when you’re having fun.” Paul has won the Raine & Horne’s Outstanding Property Manager Chairman’s Awards a total of five times, and is excited about helping train and mentor the next generation of property managers.

paul-signorelliPaul, what made you choose a Property Management Career?
Once I’d decided on real estate as a career path, I looked into the different roles within the office. I felt that with my background in accounting studies, as well my personality, I was best suited to use those strengths in a property management role.

What are the biggest challenges that you face?
People in the industry have always said that “time” is a property manager’s worst enemy, and I still believe that to be true in today.

The Internet has dramatically increased the general public’s ability to ask a “quick question” about a property, and therefore we as property managers need to adapt. With this new dimension to a property manager’s role you need to be extremely organised on a daily basis, and be ready to face what each new day has in store for you.

What do you love about property management?
It’s been said so many times before but it’s still true – property management is never boring and no two days are the same. Each day presents new challenges and interesting situations – the role is just so diverse and we get to deal with a broad range of people from all walks of life, from property owners with large portfolios, to tenants looking to rent a property for the first time.

You get to develop long-term business relationships with people and help them achieve their property investment goals. I get a lot of personal satisfaction from being referred to a new owner by an existing client, or helping a tenant become a property owner, or even just being the agent that gives a tenant the opportunity to rent their first property.

What do you feel is unique about your team/agency?
The property management team at Raine & Horne Marrickville is unique in that we have three full-time property managers, who are all career property managers with a combined experience of nearly 40 years. In our local area, no other office is able to match this level of experience.

Our agency is also unique as we have had the same stable ownership under Michael and Yvonne Smith for 30 years, while we also benefit from the close collaborative relationship with our partner offices Raine & Horne Commercial South Sydney / Marrickville and Raine & Horne Projects.

What was the most memorable property you have ever managed?
There have certainly been many over the years, but one that comes to mind is the time we had a tenant in arrears and the situation had reached lock out stage with the sheriffs. The sheriffs knocked on the door of the premises, and when there was no answer instructed the locksmiths to open the door. After looking around the property the sheriffs asked the locksmith to change the locks as there was no one home. A colleague and I were also in the house for some time, discussing the next move in the eviction process.

We entered a bedroom and I joked to my colleague that he should look under the bed, which he did before proceeding to run out of the room and out the front door, with me in hot pursuit. He had seen a naked body under the bed! The sheriffs entered the room while we waited outside, and after a few minutes they walked out with the tenant, half dressed by that stage. It turns out he had been hiding under his bed naked the whole time, hoping to come out after we left!

What’s the best advice you have been given?
The best advice I’ve been given is simply to “treat others as you would like to be treated” and “don’t take things too personally” – I have certainly combined these two pieces of advice over the years.

What are your most important values?
I would have to say honesty and trust, as I always strive to be honest and up front with people. By doing this you gain their trust and respect, and people tend to remember and refer you on when they know you’re someone they can trust. These values certainly help in resolving conflicts or when simply advising a landlord on the best course of action to take if a situation arises.

What are the key features in maintaining healthy relationships with landlords and/or tenants?
Without a doubt the key feature of maintaining healthy relationships is communication. Property management is based on long-term relationships and as such I really believe that when tenants or landlords are kept up-to-date and communicated with regularly, it makes it much easier to maintain a healthy relationship. Also, you need to keep your word – if you say you’re going to call someone, do it, whether it’s good news, bad news or even no news!

Do you have a mentor or someone that inspires you?
My mentors would definitely be the principals of Raine & Horne Marrickville, Michael and Yvonne Smith. They have been in business a long time and have both taught me a lot. I always say that everything I have learned about real estate and a lot of what I have learned about life, I owe to them.

Where to from here?
Being a 17-year career Property Manager, it would be great to continue to grow our rent roll and bring in new staff who I can mentor, train and offer my experience to. I’m excited to help bring along the next generation.

Any predictions for the real estate industry for the next year?
In my opinion, auction clearance rates are always a good indication of how the market is performing. In the Inner West we have experienced incredibly high clearance rates across all property categories. Low interest rates have also seen investors come back into the market which has increased the supply of rental properties. Astute investors are always actively chasing well-located properties with the prospect of strong capital growth and good yields, and this is why the Inner West has been very popular of late. As long as these factors remain the same, we should see an increase in demand and supply for new properties to the rental market.

What advice would you give someone starting out in Property Management?
Educate yourself on the current legislation and market trends – you need to know your chosen industry inside and out if you want to be successful and taken seriously. Also, always keep things simple and don’t over-complicate things; be a good listener and learn to develop a thick skin!

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