As a regular contributor to RPM and a busy BDM, Cristel Stenhouse understands the importance of time management and not letting her job eat into her time off.
When did you first join the PM industry?
It was approximately 13 years ago now.
Why did you join the PM industry?
I started working as a receptionist/administrator when there were shifts in the business and I was thrust into property management with no crash course. However, I have stuck with it because, call me crazy, but I love the job. I wake up every morning happy to go to work. Just like the good old saying – ‘Do a job you love and you will never work a day in your life’.
What were you doing before PM?
After finishing school, I was accepted into the course I wanted, but quickly changed my mind when I was offered a job as a legal administrator. Part of my job moved into conveyancing. I loved the conveyancing side of the role. Meanwhile, a friend of mine had just started in sales and told me to “have a crack” because she thought I would be great in real estate. I gave it a go and have never looked back.
What would you like your next career step to be?
My next career move would be to either run the property management division of a franchise or open my own business.
What piece of technology do you find the most useful for your business and why?
I’m not going to choose the obvious options, but recently we have implemented Inspect Real Estate and I have to admit our prospective tenants love it – and it saves me so many inquiry phone calls and emails!
What area of PM needs more training focused on it and why?
Definitely time management. I find that so many property managers leave the industry early due to burnout. With effective time management skills, this needn’t be an issue.
What skills does a PM/BDM need to be successful?
They need to be a chameleon. The service standards are getting higher each year and each owner wants to feel that their needs are being met – you need to be able to adapt depending on the client you are dealing with. Property managers also need to ensure that they have good time management and communication skills, can handle tough conversations, and that they leave their work at the office when they leave each night.
Where do you believe a PM’s responsibilities should start and end?
I think that as the industry has evolved, property managers have been expected to put in more and more. I believe that they should manage the property effectively, but understand that while there are so many responsibilities we place on ourselves to make sure the owners are happy, they are not a part of our role. A few examples we shouldn’t be completing are:
- Coming in our days off
- Typing condition reports at home to get them done
- Cleaning the property because the owner or tenant hasn’t done it properly
I believe that, yes, a good property manager goes above and beyond, but we must learn to carry out the job within our set parameters.
How do you deal with disgruntled and aggressive tenants?
Let them talk! Most of the time they just want to be heard. Sympathise with them and ask them what their expected outcome is for the problem.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in the PM industry?
I would probably still be doing conveyancing.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Everything! If I had to narrow it down, I would say dealing with such a diverse range of clients, and learning to reach out to them on different levels.
What are the most stressful aspects of your job?
Where do I start?! No, probably when issues arise that are out of our control.
How do you relax after a stressful day at work?
Wine, wine and more wine.
How would you describe a perfect property management day?
Is there a perfect day? As I said, if you love your job, you will never work a day in your life.