EPMEPM: Cover Stories

Recipe for Success

It was a case of sweet victory for Tammy Hutchinson of LJ Hooker Port Macquarie, who recently won the PPM National Property Management Award for Excellence after years of persistence and continual improvement of the department. Sharing her award winning tips for success, Tammy says that she is proof that “If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.”

IT ALL STARTED with a dream that came about through attending my first PPM Conference on the Gold Coast with my Principal, Gloria Dekker, in 2008. I watched Debbie Palmer speaking about the asset management team who had received the National Property Management Award for Excellence in front of all the delegates, and I thought, “What does our asset management team need to change to win this award?”

Upon viewing the submission criteria in March 2010, I held a meeting with our team to discuss our application. It took weeks following that meeting to put the submission together, but it was worth it as we were awarded National Finalists. My hunger for our team to win this prestigious award continued throughout 2011 and 2012, when our team was awarded National Finalists again.

The next year, 2013, was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Our team was made Finalists, with just one point being the difference between the winning team and us. My Principals, Gloria and Tony, our team, my partner Reuben, Michelle Williams of @home property management solutions, Tara Bradbury from BDM Academy and Debbie Palmer all knew I was devastated. Our team had significantly improved our statistics, systems, procedures and valueadded service, but unfortunately that was not enough.

Now fast forward to 22 June this year at Jupiter’s Casino on the Gold Coast. My Principals, Tony and Gloria Dekker, accompanied me onto the stage with the other asset management teams who were also Finalists. The moment had arrived! I was overwhelmed and very emotional when LJ Hooker Port Macquarie was named by Debbie Palmer as National Property Management Team for Excellence 2014.

On reflection, five points led to our asset management team achieving the success of winning the 2014 PPM Group National Property Management Award for Excellence. These five points were:

  1. Team Culture Our asset management team is made up of Tony Dekker, Gloria Dekker, Nerissa Rider, Natalie Sonter, Cody Page, Cheryl Fathers and myself. We all like to have fun together as a team, whether it be ten-pin bowling followed by pizza or breakfast as a team at Sails Resort overlooking the Hastings River. We believe it is important to support and respect each other, as property management can be quite challenging at times!
  2. Goals Following the disappointment of 2013, our asset management team united to set goals in preparation for the 2014 submission. Tara Bradbury was inspirational in keeping me accountable for new management prospecting and networking. Our team targeted the PPM Group’s quarterly awards for ‘Lowest Rental Arrears’ and ‘Lowest Vacancy Rate’, which we won repeatedly.
  3. Exceeding Clients’ Expectations Our asset management team continually look for new ways to exceed our clients’ expectations. These ideas can come from listening to podcasts; for example, the interview of Chris Gilmour by Tom Panos. Or they can be little things we leave for our clients, like creating a personalised Santa Letter for children at Christmas, or when Nerissa, Natalie or Cody conduct a routine home inspection and they leave on the kitchen bench a ‘Tidy Room Award’ for the child.
  4. Communication We aim to develop a genuine rapport with landlords and tenants so that they are able to trust that we will operate fairly and reasonably. This is often achieved by explaining situations in detail and giving perspectives of other parties involved so that everyone can understand that they are not the only people who are looking to have their needs met. Doing this creates more understanding and reduces disagreements.
  5. Knowledge of Legislation and Training We believe that continual training and being up to date with legislation is a must, whether it be logging into PPM online training conducted by Debbie Palmer or having a someone such as Bob Walters come to our office for training, as he did last year.

As an asset management team we now have our sights set on LJ Hooker’s awards for 2015!

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