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Q&A: Colleen Byrnes, LJ Hooker, Alice Springs

19 January 2016 Reporter

Colleen Byrnes spent 10 years running her own alterations and repairs business before entering the challenging yet rewarding property management industry.

Colleen Byrnes spent 10 years running her own alterations and repairs business before entering the challenging yet rewarding property management industry.

When did you first join the PM industry?

April 2005.

Why did you join the PM industry?

I’ve always had great interest in the growth of our town so, when looking to change careers, real estate was a great option. 

What were you doing before PM?

Before starting with LJ Hooker as a property manager, I was running my own alterations and repairs business for 10 years. We did everything from quilting classes, dressmaking, selling sewing machines and fabric.

What would you like your next career step to be?

At this stage, my major focus is to continue to support my team with training to help them excel as property managers and to keep the department running as smoothly as possible. 

What piece of technology do you find the most useful for your business and why?

The most useful piece of technology that I use would definitely be my iPhone 6s because of how easy it is to see and take photos and conduct inspections on the job. REST and fileSMART are great, easy programs to work with.

What area of PM needs more training focused on it and why?

There are a number of areas in which the industry needs more focused training. First and foremost is the training of new staff; this can be difficult as our business is incredibly time constraining, but finding time to invest in new property managers is of utmost importance. Other areas that need more industry training are how to put forward NTCAT (or relevant state) applications on tenants and owners and how to chase bad debts after vacates.

What skills does a PM/BDM need to be successful?

Leadership, communication, time management, multitasking and dedication. I also think common sense is a big must!

Where do you believe PM’s responsibilities should start and end?

Keeping the owner and tenants informed no matter what is our major responsibility. Always do what you say you are going to do. We are not responsible for what happens, but we are responsible for mitigating risk with the right tenant and then communicating clearly and promptly to the owner what has happened.

How do you deal with disgruntled and aggressive tenants?

Try hard to work out a plan with them and to let them know we work for both the tenant and owner. If rent arrears are the reason they are disgruntled then we work out a payment plan to get them caught up where possible. We also ensure to keep working with the owner to make certain the property is kept in a good condition and to keep tenants happy, especially when maintenance occurs.

What would you be doing if you weren’t in the PM industry?

I think I would be running another business. I love the challenge!

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I really enjoy the challenge of having to come up with solutions to the many problems we face as property managers. I also enjoy finding new ways to keep the office operating as smoothly as possible. And of course, the people I work with and the people I have met on the job!

What are the most stressful aspects of your job?

While I do love the work we do, there are some stressful aspects of the job, including: keeping owners happy, answering emails in a timely fashion, managing staff, dealing with maintenance issues while keeping the cost down for our owners and at the same time trying to fit in inspections, appraisals, ingoings and outgoings!

How do you relax after a stressful day at work?

I relax with a wine or a cup of tea and do some sewing. I also love to spend time with my grandchild, which always relaxes me.

How would you describe a perfect property management day?

Working as a team to make sure the day runs smoothly with all items in our calendars and emails actioned.

Q&A: Colleen Byrnes, LJ Hooker, Alice Springs
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