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Q&A: Tamsin Wilson, LJ Hooker Parramatta

10 May 2016 Reporter

As Tamsin Wilson leads a team of property managers, her desire to see people grow and develop will help her be a better mentor for others.

As Tamsin Wilson leads a team of property managers, her desire to see people grow and develop will help her be a better mentor for others.

When did you first join the PM industry?

I have been working in the real estate industry since I was 22. I have been lucky enough to experience all aspects of the industry, from a receptionist to being a corporate trainer. I fell into property management only two years ago.

Why did you join the PM industry?

I had the opportunity to work with some incredible people. I actually didn’t actively seek a role in property management. Now that I am working in property management, though, I love it. I work with a large team and great business owners who are as passionate about property management as I am. It makes the biggest difference coming to work every day when you’re surrounded by people who encourage and support you. Every day is very different, from how the team is feeling, to the issues that arise, to the people you meet. Where else can you go to work and have tenants call up about possums breaking into apartments?

What were you doing before PM?

Before PM, I was working for a large real estate franchise group as a systems trainer. This role allowed me to see a lot of different offices. I learnt a lot about what some offices did well and others not so well. It was a great learning experience. I also got to meet and learn from some very talented people within the industry who have turned into mentors and great friends.

What would you like your next career step to be?

I see myself growing with the team I am currently with. I have a five-year business plan with my team that will see us grow to an even larger office with more people, more challenges and more fun. I look forward to watching the staff around me personally grow and develop in their own careers while working with us.

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

None of us could live without REST. But more recently, we adopted Inspect Real Estate into our business. I don’t know how we survived without it. From a customer service point of view, it’s brilliant. I hate to imagine what people would have said about our business beforehand. Now I know everyone is communicated with, and I can provide instant feedback to owners and understand exactly where the market is at. It’s an absolute gem.

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

People management. A lot of the time we put property managers in charge of not only managing people’s assets, but also managing a team or staff member, when in essence we are not people managers. This can work out well for people who are natural leaders, or can be the cause of a lot of suffering for everyone involved. Managing people is not easy, so communication and feedback must be consistent. I think it’s a skill that is majorly overlooked.

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

The essential skills that stand out to me, particularly when hiring, are a passion for the industry, excellent communication skills and a good attitude. I can teach you the rules of property management, but if you don’t show some initiative and self-motivation, you will never succeed.

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

The Residential Tenancies Act. I know that sounds simple, but if it’s not part of the act, it’s hard to make decisions. I know we are always encouraging property managers to go above and beyond, but what does that really mean? You can add your personality to how you work and communicate with people, but at the end of the day, if it’s not part of the act, I would be careful in your approach. 

How do you deal with disgruntled and aggressive tenants?

Empathy is my word of the moment. If you can understand the issue from a tenant’s point of view, then you can calm or resolve the situation. No one should have to deal with aggressive tenants. I would walk away or explain that once they calm down, I will talk to them and help resolve any issue.

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

I always wanted to be a teacher or maybe a personal trainer. I love working with people and challenging them and seeing them develop and grow.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

People. Starting with the people I work with every day. We have a team of brilliant, energetic property managers. It’s a pleasure to work with them, motivate and encourage them. I love seeing them develop as people. Then you get to meet and work with some fantastic landlords, tenants, and even tradies who often become part of the family. It’s a very rewarding career.

What are the most stressful aspects of your job?

That’s the funny thing: people are also the most stressful part of your job. You are mainly dealing with highly emotional situations, whether it be moving, repairs and maintenance that needed to be done yesterday, or chasing arrears. It’s a lot of negative things in a day. People hardly call just to say thank you. The calls are only when something is wrong. If you learn to understand that that’s how it is, each day becomes that much easier.

How do you relax after a stressful day at work?

I travel quite far to get to work every day. I am a firm believer in not taking your job stresses home with you. By the time I get to the train station, I try not to think of work. Your energy is better spent focusing on the positive things. On my way home, if I need a pick-me-up, I will call a good friend or family member to have a chat. Surround yourself with positive people. Or I watch Kevin Hart videos on YouTube to have a good laugh!

How would you describe a perfect property management day?

Ha! I bet everyone laughs at this question. It sounds like a magical place, this perfect day in PM. But for me, the ‘perfect’ day would include everyone answering the phone when it rings. Whether it be our team, tradies, strata managers, owners, or prospective tenants. If everyone answered the question then and there, it would save so much time. On this perfect day, there would also be plenty of snacks to help get me through.

Q&A: Tamsin Wilson, LJ Hooker Parramatta
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