Despite having set up her own rental property agency, Olivia Knott has learnt the value of doing whatever it takes to ensure quality client service in all her endeavours.
When did you first join the PM industry?
I applied for a property management job in February 2008. I had no idea what a property manager did. I came straight from my family’s furniture manufacturing business, mortgage interest rates were at an all-time high, we needed two incomes and, really, there's no better motivator to succeed.
Why did you join the PM industry?
Purely fate. My then boss could see my enthusiasm and willingness to work, and off we went.
What were you doing before PM?
Working in my family’s furniture factory, taking furniture orders from retailers, creating job sheets to the cabinet makers, ordering stock, coordinating trucks, processing payroll, accounts receivable and payable, helping out wherever was needed, including cleaning toilets and cooking luncheons (roll your sleeves up and get into it).
What would you like your next career step to be?
I am already on the journey of establishing my own agency brand, which will be the local specialist in property management.
What piece of technology do you find the most useful for your business and why?
I have utilised social media to my advantage since it’s a very affordable way to network with my local community. I can reach out to thousands of people for about $20 per advert.
What area of PM needs more training focused on it and why?
I have some of the best trainers supporting me; with Deniz Yusuf and Darren Hunter combined, I don't feel I am lacking. I guess you need to know your weaknesses and seek out help to grow and that all comes from within. Rather than saying what needs more training focus, it comes back to the individual and their drivers to succeed.
What skills does a PM/BDM need to be successful?
Skills can be learnt; attitude comes first. Your attitude will decide whether you are successful or not.
Where do you believe PM’s responsibilities should start and end?
When an owner has entrusted you with their most valuable investment, I don't believe there are boundaries. Your responsibility should be whatever it takes to make their investment property successful.
How do you deal with disgruntled and aggressive tenants?
My mind races to figure out the root cause of why they are screaming at me. I repeat their complaint to them in a calm cohesive sentence and ask, ‘Am I correct that you are unhappy because XYZ?' They will usually calm down when they feel that you have listened and understood their position.
My favourite quote that is written on my whiteboard says: "Successful businesses know customer problems and then offer solutions."
What would you be doing if you weren’t in the PM industry?
I've not given it a second thought. When you're set on succeeding, there is no back-up plan.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Working hard to help my landlord and tenant clients and then hearing the feedback that they are pleased with my efforts.
What are the most stressful aspects of your job?
When someone has let me down, usually at an exit inspection, and the property isn’t cleaned or ready to go for the next round of tenants. This can cause up to a week delay in reletting. I run a pretty tight ship and schedule my diary to maximise my landlords' income, so when I have to arrange a cleaner within the day that can be a hassle.
How do you relax after a stressful day at work?
I give my husband and three children big hugs and remember why I'm doing what I do. I also pray and ask for support from the creator, God.
How would you describe a perfect property management day?
No arrears, no maintenance, listing and leasing properties, and laughter.