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Tips for growing your rent roll – the lifeblood of an agency

18 November 2014 Mark Zammit

The rent roll is often considered the lifeblood of a real estate agency.

While profits from sales can be cyclical, property management involves long-term contracts that help ensure constant cash flow for the business.

The rent roll is also a key source of leads into sales. Whether it’s renters who eventually become buyers, landlords with multiple investment properties, or leased properties that will eventually go on sale, if there’s a good relationship at property management level your agency will be first  to receive a call.

For example, a landlord recently referred a friend to us to start leasing their property as well. Soon after, that customer decided to sell and listed with us too. The new buyers then decided to lease the property on our books again. So we secured a sale and we’re still managing the property – all on the back of one referral.

At hockingstuart Bentleigh, we have successfully grown our rent roll from 200 to 800 in the past decade. In our experience, there’s no silver bullet to building a successful rent roll – the formula is simple. Here are the philosophies we swear by:

Treat process as gospel

As a rent roll grows, customer service standards can quickly decline in correlation with the increasing workload.

The only way to overcome this is to establish strict but simple processes and make them mandatory across the business. We have a rule that all email or phone enquiries must be replied to by close of business. No exceptions. Similarly, we schedule regular calls with customers on our database and touch base with every person who attends an open for inspection. Acknowledging a customer when they’ve made contact goes a long way in showing you appreciate their business.

Delivering exceptional customer service also means less chasing when it comes to new business. If you’re already top of mind and in regular contact, new business will naturally follow.

Prioritise people

Real estate hinges on relationships, so having the right people in the equation is essential.

Our agency places a big focus on recruiting the right people from the start, instead of settling for someone to fill a gap. We only recruit those who share our values and undertake rigorous hiring to help identify this.

It’s also vital to nurture staff so they can perform at their peak. This means managing workloads and the volume of properties on each employee’s plate. You might need to hire assistants or streamline administration process.

Real estate is a high-pressure environment. If your staff feel supported, they will give more to customers and gain personal satisfaction from the role. The average tenure of our staff is about six years (almost unheard of in property management), which also translates to clients who have been with us for just as long.

Hire a dedicated director

On the topic of support, a dedicated director of property management can give the team the extra boost they need. In traditional agencies, the sales director is often in charge of property management – but if their focus is elsewhere, this can be problematic.

A dedicated leader means there’s someone to keep a close eye on operations and finance, oversee business development and be a sounding board for the team when they encounter problems. It’s all about creating a culture of team work and professionalism, which your customers will notice.

Regardless of whether you manage 80 properties or 800 properties, all it takes is simple strategies to ensure the rent roll becomes the business driver it should be. 

Tips for growing your rent roll – the lifeblood of an agency
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Mark holds two key leadership positions at the Bentleigh office: Director of Property Management and General Manager of the agency. Previously a nurse before moving into real estate sales and later property management, Mark developed a passion for the latter, which he feels can add immense value to an agency.

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