Kylie Harbo of Davey Real Estate is this year’s REIWA Residential Property Manager of the Year. With a mantra of ‘Excellent service’ she is an industry leading Business Development Manager and also manages a portfolio, albeit a small one at 60. She is as comfortable working single bedroom units as she is working up to $1,500+ per week mansions. Currently on maternity leave with daughter number one, this is Kylie’s first hand account of her career so far.
My dad is my biggest fan. He was working on the Daveys’ house back in 2001 and arranged my high school work experience with them for years 11 and 12. After that I worked casually on reception during the school holidays and got a taste for property management there.
I graduated from high school at the end of 2002. After a quick break I started my full-time career as a property management assistant in early 2003 at the age of 17 and never looked back. Jan Davey, the now-retired director of Davey Real Estate, was my mentor back then. She allocated me a small and tough portfolio, with a lot of tenants on government benefits. She taught me to take a zero tolerance approach; I had 19 court cases in the first 18 months of my career.
Back then my biggest challenge was age. Who was going to list their investment with an 18 year old? But from that point my career flourished within the Davey group. My passion to win the business and lease properties was my new love, and I’d say my enthusiasm and confidence won me a lot of business.
Local knowledge and attention to detail are two of my strong points. I always knew about transport options, where the closest school was and the dates of the local fete. Perth’s population has increased dramatically in the last 10 years so knowing this information earned me a good reputation with the tenants and I became a go-to girl for people immigrating to Perth. It worked both ways as I always had a list of potential tenants to show clients when appraising their homes.
Back then business development managers weren’t heard of, so to grow a rent roll you had to take the property on and manage it. Now reputable property managers or business development officers (BDOs) are highly sought-after in the real estate industry. I learned along the way to sell the PM department to the client. PMs specialise in the day to day management of the investment and the BDO specialises in leasing, tenant selection and client relations, to ensure the customer service promised is followed through.
We manage some beautiful properties at Davey. I work at the Scarborough office within a stone’s throw of our beautiful coastline and famous Scarborough beach. Davey have five offices located along the northern coastal corridor; the business is family owned and operated. This is the best thing about Davey: you feel like part of the family as they train you and encourage career development. They invest in providing their staff with innovative and modern facilities.
I won the 2004/05 Property Manager of the Year within the Davey Group. I won PM of the year again in 2013/2014, Top Listing PM in 2013/2014 and Innovative Marketer 2013/2014.
In 2006 my now husband, Jesper, and I decided to move to the UK. We went on working holiday visas and travelled the world for 18 months. Returning to Perth in 2008 I went knocking on Davey’s door for work and threw myself into PM again.
In 2010 I went back to REIWA to complete my triennial certificate. Again my dad Eddie encouraged me to study. He has an admirable work ethic; when I was young he worked full time and studied at night school to complete his diploma in law.
I enjoyed learning the different facets of the real estate business and trust accounting, and knew I needed this knowledge if the market ever turned. As we all know, the demand for mining jobs in Perth was huge back then and we enjoyed 20 per cent growth across the rental market and several applicants per property.
Being in real estate you need to be a good negotiator. I now train PMs and sales reps at Davey and my first rule of thumb is ‘be flexible’!
More recently my mentor was Rob Mason, consecutive winner of the REIA auctioneering championship. He was my manager from 2010 to 2013, but last year he moved his family to Albany so they could experience a slower pace of life and more of a country upbringing. Rob had a way with clients. His 13- plus years’ experience gave him such a brilliant reputation that the majority of his business came from referrals. He taught me a lot; for example, spend money to make money, and say thank you to your clients. From this I came up with a dynamic marketing plan and some different and innovative gifts.
I’ve been playing netball my whole life, I play for my local team, Scarborough, and I’ve been the Vice President two years in a row. This keeps me even busier, but the networking is fantastic for referrals and playing a competitive team sport is a good stress release for anyone!
I’m currently on maternity leave since having my first baby girl, Ella, in June this year. Motherhood is hard work, but my husband and I make a good team and I look forward to returning to Davey next year.
Kylie’s Business Development Plan Includes Activities Such As
- Poster advertisements (office windows)
- REIWA.com banner advertisements and other internet marketing
- ‘No reason call’ and e-newsletters to existing landlords
- Seminars and mail merges
Kylie’s Other Points of Diffeence
- Market appraisals that include CMAs, suburb demographics and ‘why Davey’
- Outstanding client gifts including hand-branded wine boxes with champagne and Davey branded rock candy for our landlords to share with their work colleagues
- A zero tolerance for arrears, with multiple procedures in place to keep her tenants paid in advance
- Arranging with local businesses to provide discount cards for tenant packs including the Rendezvous Hotel
- Proactively suggesting improvements to owners to increase capital value of property.
Kylie’s Awards within the Davey Group
- Award for Lowest Arrears across the Davey Group 2012/2013
- Award for Top Listing PM of the Year 2012/2013
- Award for Property Manager of the Year 2012/2013