Boosting fees a must, PM Forum hears

A property management forum focused on building larger and more profitable rent rolls has attracted record attendee numbers.

The Leading Property Managers of Australia (LPMA) Forum, held at Jupiter’s Casino on the Gold Coast last week, attracted over 400 industry professionals from across the country.

The seminars featured a range of international and local speakers, including US-based specialists Todd Breen and Robert Locke, along with Australian talent such as Chris Rolls, managing director of Rental Express; Bob Walters, executive director of LPMA; Ewan Morton, managing director at Morton&Morton; and Darren Hunter, national speaker, trainer and consultant, and a director at LPMA.

In his talk, Mr Hunter continued his long-term push to have principals charge for all of their property management services, with a presentation focused on the top 20 property management fees charged in Australia.

“I’ve been doing fee maximisation for 12 years,” he told Real Estate Business at the conference.

“It works, every time, period. [But] it only works in departments that have a reasonable level of stability. So, in other words, if landlords are unhappy with the service, you just don’t do it. You’ll lose them.

“However, where they’re generally happy, they will pay more. But, the biggest issue is principals and property managers think they’ll lose their landlords, so it’s a very big fear factor, and it’s my job as a person who supplies advice and expertise, I’m always coming up against that fear wall.”

In one of his two talks, Bob Walters explored the relatively new concept of managing another agent's rent rolls.

Mr Walters acknowledged the fears some principals had when considering this approach, which largely centred around a perceived loss of control, preventable losses, and losing clients to the rent roll manager's business.

Yet these concerns could be overcome, he said, by following some clear guidelines and having a watertight contract.

Andrew Reece, of property management software firm inspectrealestate, said he has noticed a strong push by more principals to develop their property management divisions.

“[More] people are now describing their real estate business first as a rent roll, with a sales business attached,” he told Real Estate Business. “I do think a mind shift is definitely occurring.”

Mr Reece said participants were looking to find ways to streamline the numerous repetitive processes that made up a property manager’s day.  
“Property management is not a hard thing to do…but it’s the weight of all the jobs that you have to do that makes property management hard,” he said, adding that technology was helping solve these issues.

“Mobile tablets and devices are built for real estate agents,” he continued.

“It is an unbelievable tool for us for people to get out and do their job onsite, and have access to their office. For many years there was a real separation between the office and onsite [work], and that’s changing.

“But, because it’s such a new environment, they’re all trying to find out what they should be doing.”

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