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Why a boutique business is best

29 June 2016 Sarah Latham

Having worked in both large corporate real estate offices and smaller boutique ones for over 20 years, in my opinion, it’s the smaller offices that offer a better level of service and more personal care to their landlords.

In a boutique business, there are usually a few people handling the day-to-day running of property management, and they tend to be across all aspects of each property. In larger offices, the roles are more defined and tend to get split up, which means a landlord could have as many as three or four different people handling different aspects of their property. This leads to a communication breakdowns and inconsistency in management style.

It was for these reasons that I made the decision to leave my job as the head of the property management department at a leading franchise, and start my own business with a colleague. I wanted to go back to being more hands-on and directly accountable for my actions, and I love it!

The average property manager goes through a strange evolution during their career – to start off as a leasing consultant, which is essentially a sales-type role; advance to a property management position, which is basically admin work where you are forced to fine-tune your organisational and time-management skills; then ultimately find yourself running a team of people – a far cry from what you started off doing in the first place, which was managing property and dealing with clients.

Since returning to being a property manager for my own business, I have rediscovered immense job satisfaction in offering a proactive style of management, whereby I am across all aspects of the management of each property. I get to meet new people and take the time to chat to new clients – but the real bonus is receiving appreciation from a happy landlord for facilitating a smooth change-over in tenancy, with a healthy rent increase and minimal vacancy, or resolving a tricky situation without ending up at tribunal.

It could be said that larger franchise offices may benefit to home owners who are selling, through their extensive prospective purchaser databases, strong internet presence and teams of sales agents, but when it comes to personalised property management, without any doubt, smaller offices generally tend to have better relationships with their clients and a deeper understanding of their needs.

The majority of my clients who have switched agents have migrated from the larger franchise groups, and they all have the same expectations in common:

  • They want personalised service;
  • They want continuity in their point of contact;
  • They want to know the person who is actually managing their property;
  • And they want someone with a wealth of experience.
Why a boutique business is best
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Sarah has over 20 years’ experience in property management on Sydney's Lower North Shore. She previously managed a large property management department for eight and half years until mid last year when she made the decision to team up with an ex-colleague of hers, Jaala Cusack, and open her own boutique property management business called Latham Cusack Property Services. Based in Cremorne, they manage properties along the Lower North Shore. Their main focus is to offer a more personalised and proactive style of property management – one dedicated to listening to and meeting their clients’ individual needs.

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