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Real estate industry celebrates National Property Managers Day

Often the unsung heroes of a real estate agency, property management can a tough gig that requires a specialised skillset and dedication.

To celebrate National Property Managers Day on Friday, July 22, we asked four top property managers how they joined the industry, what they love about their job and what they’d change if they had a chance.

Alison Hatch

Founder, Best Nest Property Management

How long have you been in property management?

I started out in the industry in 2000 in sales and marketing, and moved into a property management role in 2012. So 10 years of my career have been devoted to fulfilling my PM purpose!

Did you choose property management or did property management choose you?

It chose me! I was taking time out of the industry with my young children, when the real estate I rented through asked if I would come and work for them. 

It was meant to be part-time to help them out, as they were struggling to find a replacement for the departing full-time PM. It immediately became my full-time passion, and I quickly worked my way up to being their senior PM, office manager and BDM.

What do you love about working in the PM industry?

To put it very simply, it brings me daily happiness. Every day I wake up motivated and challenged and feel it’s a lifestyle choice rather than a job. 

Being able to change people’s property experiences and improve their asset care journeys is personally rewarding, and finding ways to make people feel special through the level of care we give each client fulfils me.

What’s the one property that stands out most in your career?

I manage a café where the building (built in the 1940s) has a strong history trading as a milkbar, takeaway and general store. In 2020 the owner received a letter advising the café had to be closed down as it was trading out of zoning and should only be a residence. 

The tenant and their clients were shocked, as locals had been trading commercially for 80 years from the property. I fought for the owner and tenant to fix the issue, collating evidence of pre-existing usage rights by researching past owners/tenants, viewing historic photos, interviewing locals, and analysing property paperwork. 

During this, I noted council had been charging commercial rates and doing health inspections for years. I identified to council that by their own evidence they had been aware of its existing use for decades.

I highlighted that the current and past owners could be entitled to recoup rates/funds if it was only a residence, as they claimed. I’m very proud of the outcome – my client’s café doors remain open to this day!

What would you like to see change in property management and why?

I would love to see a greater culture shift towards the customer service mindset, and businesses investing in developing their PM teams to offer higher service standards. 

There is still an unacceptable level of dissatisfaction among property consumers that must be corrected, and I believe we are in the driver’s seat to be change-makers.

What are the goals you are working on for the next 12 months?

Personally, I’m focused on my health and regaining my fitness levels to start running again. I’m also planning a trip to Japan to absorb the architecture and culture, and I would like to go back to study- possibly for my MBA.

In Best Nest over the next 12 months we are creating a video series version of our procedure manual, and we are working through a team role restructure that better supports our clients and growing business. 

We have a revised marketing plan to roll out, and part of that is our FAQ series for clients. As always, we aim to sustain our 100 per cent referral growth plan, and we want to increase all opportunities for touch points and embed video into our communications across all areas. 

We have our annual conference for PM’s to roll out, and will focus on support for the local community as we have been ravaged by back-to-back floods this year.

Alison Hatch.

Alana Spruce

Director, Spruce Real Estate

How long have you been in property management?

It’s my 20-year anniversary this year. I finished school in 2001 and started in real estate when I was 19, in 2002.

Did you choose property management or did property management choose you?

I literally love all aspects of property. From buying rundown properties, to scrolling Pinterest and architecture sites for inspiration, multi-tasking demolition, renovations and getting my hands dirty for the ultimate ‘spruce up’ (pardon the pun)! 

I love managing my clients’ portfolios, I love being busy and I love having multiple pieces of the puzzle that need to come together to meet deadlines. So initially it was the love of property that attracted me, however as I dug deeper, property management really chose me. 

My OCD was perfectly suited to the many hats you put on and take off in a day’s work.

What do you love about working in the PM industry?

I love the diversity, the chase, and the buzz you get, but above this, helping clients navigate their property goals and life chapters.

It gives me great satisfaction when my clients trust me intimately and choose Spruce to manage their investments. 

It’s the one-percenters that make the difference. I don’t want any rental provider or renter to feel like another number with our agency.

What’s the one property that stands out most in your career? (It can be for good reasons or challenging reasons)

A few years back now, I had three exquisite three-level townhouses on the beachfront, side-by-side that I was leasing for a developer. They were all different floor plans, and it was a new standard for the area at the time.

I literally worked on only these three listings all week and after about 27 private inspections, taking clients through all three residences each viewing. Each was leased with ideal tenants and excellent tenancy terms for my client, as well as setting a new benchmark for the postcode for rent per week.

What would you like to see change in property management and why?

Property management has gone through so many changes in the last 12 to 24 months. From navigating Covid, the way VCAT hearings are held and legislation (after no change since 1997 (RTA)), to compulsory safety compliance checks of gas, electrical and smoke alarms. So on this front I would like to see the dust settle.

I would also like to see and hear agents backing themselves with their experience, knowledge and service and stop dropping their fees. We all need to lift the bar on our industry and be firm.

What are the goals you are working on for the next 12 months?

Getting our new office up and running, nurturing and developing my current team, and growth without losing that personal touch.

Alana Spruce.

Hayley Mitchell

Director, MitchellPT

How long have you been in property management? 

I’ve been in property management for 23 years.

Did you choose property management or did property management choose you? 

A bit of both I think. My brother worked in property management and he thought I would be good, so he arranged an interview for me at the company where he worked and I never looked back.

What do you love about working in the PM industry? 

The people. I have met the most incredible people through this industry, some of them who are now lifelong friends.

What’s the one property that stands out most in your career?

I used to manage a stunning house in Toorak that got around $4000 per week. I worked very hard for that management fee and the owner and I are still friends to this day.

What would you like to see change in property management and why? 

I would like to see property managers more recognised for the incredible work that they do, both financially and emotionally. 

It is a very hard role at times and I would love a much higher level of support and understanding.

What are the goals you are working on for the next 12 months? 

Where do I start?!! Growing MitchellPT and running conferences interstate for the first time, kicking off my new Airbnb management company BnB Property Managers, setting up my new rent roll Regional Property Managers and starting a new PM Membership company called the PM Federation. That should keep me out of trouble!

Hayley Mitchell.

Ryan Mitchell

Co-Director/Property Manager and BDM

Raine&Horne Kurri Kurri

How long have you been in property management?

I’ve been in real estate for 12 years, including 10 years in property management.

Did you choose property management or did property management choose you?

It was 50/50. I wanted to be in the police force but as I did not complete my HSC I had to complete a level 4 certificate to be eligible. 

I always had an interest in property as my parents had some investments and had bought and sold property. 

So I completed my certificate 4 and was then offered a job with a local agency and the rest is history. I never entered the police force.

What do you love about working in the PM industry?

I love the challenge of the role, no day is the same. I love meeting new clients and helping manage their biggest asset while also helping tenants find a place to call home.

What would you like to see change in property management and why?

I would love to see one system that does everything – PropertyMe, IRE, Vault, BDM, KPI and checklists. Everything in the one system rather than having multiple systems and software.

What are the goals you are working on for the next 12 months?

Growth. Always growth. Also restructuring the PM department to accommodate our growth to ensure our level of high service can still be delivered to our clients.

Ryan Mitchell.

Eleni Roumanous

Director, Agents+Co 

How long have you been in property management?

For 26 years now, which is like 50 years in property management years!

Did you choose property management or did property management choose you?

It definitely chose me! My parents had a real estate business and I would work weekends and holidays through high school and then through uni.

While I was studying I realised that property management was what I was passionate about and I finished uni to work full-time.  

What do you love about working in the PM industry?

I love the diversity of the role. I love that no two days are the same. I love working with people. I love looking at homes. 

I love the systematic and procedural side and having everything organised and in order. 

But I think most of all, I love being of assistance. I really enjoy the challenge and the problem solving aspect of property management. 

What would you like to see change in property management and why?

I have seen, through Covid and in recent years especially, the burnout of many property managers and so I would love to see employers focus more on the mental health and wellbeing of their property managers.

I would like to see more encouragement of a healthy work/life balance and a positive work environment to assist with job satisfaction and longevity in the industry. 

What are the goals you are working on for the next 12 months?

We’re focusing on growth. We are looking to expand our PM team and grow our rent roll.  

We’re working on some exciting new options for property managers to help them grow their own rent rolls, so that will be exciting.  

With so much new technology, the industry is changing and we can now do things in a way we could never do them before, so I’m excited to delve into that.

Eleni Roumanous.

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