Industry evolution and competitive pressures will be the major challenges facing real estate agencies this year, according to one property management head.
General manager of property management at Harris Real Estate Suzie Hamilton-Flanagan said the changing nature of the industry would increase the strain on property managers’ roles.
“The rise of technology has created a faster mindset that has impacted the expectations of property managers,” she said. “Tenants and landlords want an immediate response and, most importantly, an immediate resolution.
“At the same time there is competitive pressure to keep prices low, so property managers and their support staff are being asked to manage more properties and, generally, are not being paid enough to reflect experience and high demands.”
Ms Hamilton-Flanagan warned that there was a real risk that experienced property managers would suffer burnout from increasing demands, and the industry’s lack of remuneration was unlikely to convince them to stay.
With competitive pressures on landlord fees limiting the industry’s ability to offer high salaries, the focus would be on non-financial incentives.
“Agencies need to ensure their property managers are happy if they want them to stay," she said.
“This cannot be an empty promise. The business needs to provide a good work environment, where people feel valued. That needs to be backed by core values that are integral to the business, every day and in every aspect. In turn, this provides the framework and expectations of behaviour within the workplace to create a positive, fun culture with a high level of trust amongst peers.”
Ms Hamilton-Flanagan said salaries needed to be fair and accompanied by an incentive for a property manager’s actions.
“[Harris Property Management] provides monthly bonuses based on key performance indicators to drive high performance, but also recognises this with quarterly and annual awards dinners for more personal recognition amongst peers," she said.
“That recognition also needs to take place on a daily basis for it to impact the broader culture – which can be the difference between a good property manager staying and going.”
She added that good agencies would continually plan for the development and career progression of their staff, which was vital both to the longevity of property managers and support staff, and the long-term growth of a business.