He is every principal’s dream. At the start of the year Bill Basha set himself a goal to grow his portfolio by 100 properties by Christmas. Recently, the award winning property manager sat down with Residential Property Manager to track his progress
Bil Basha’s desk is organised, almost beyond belief. Every file is facing the right way; the type font on each document must be the same, and there is not to be a single scrap piece of paper left on his desk. He is structured and he makes no apologies for that.
He believes it is what makes him a successful property manager. And according to Michael Conolly, head of network property management at McGrath Estate Agents, John McGrath himself shares similar characteristics.
“That is exactly how John McGrath is,” he exclaims upon hearing Mr Basha list his “neat” tendencies.
“They are the exact same characteristic and it is obviously a recipe for success.
“John has written about this in his books, it is those type of people who cross the t’s and dot the i’s who are very successful in business.”
According to Mr Basha, his self explained “OCD” goes much further than a neat desk or food cans facing a certain way in his pantry at home.
“Being structured means I am a proactive property manager, rather than a reactive property manager,” he says.
“Having set procedures and systems in place is like second nature to me.
“They are there to ensure I am never on the back foot.”
Using this proactive strategy means Mr Basha is often calling his clients to rectify issues before they even know there is a problem.
“I don’t ever have any surprises. I don’t wait for someone to call me with a complaint,” he says.
“You could be trying to deliver the same message but the meaning is switched depending on if you have called them or they have called you.
“For instance, if a landlord calls you to say, ‘I haven’t had a rent increase in a while, what is happening with the rent?’, you can say ‘Ok, I’ll review it now and I’ll let you know’.
“Or it could be you calling them first saying, ‘Hi Mr. Smith, it is Bill from McGrath. I am just looking at the rent, I think we should increase it’.
“The same result either way but a much happier customer.”
It was this proactive nature that drew Mr Basha to make the decision to grow his own portfolio.
The twinkle/apple in his principal’s eye
Back in March of this year Mr Basha had a portfolio of 350 properties. He managed them all with his part time assistant who works just two days a week. Not a person to rest on his laurels he approached his directors to discuss an increase in properties to manage. They first agreed 400 would be a reasonable goal. Just six months on and Mr Basha has 415 properties under management. Now the goal is 450 by the end of the year.
But it isn’t all about quantity over quality, he assures us.
“At 350 and even at 400 properties I felt I was still very comfortable in managing them at a high level,” he says.
“So that is why I have decided to keep on increasing the properties I bring on.
“I was very mindful that when I was increasing the number of properties that I look after that I didn’t take on a big chunk at a time.
“We have recently acquired a small rent roll of 65 properties but I didn’t put my hand up and say give them all to me because I knew taking on 65 would mean the rest of my properties would falter,” he recalls.
“I wanted to make sure that I was drip fed properties and I was growing my portfolio but my landlords and tenants didn’t feel any ripple effect from my growth.”
Finding the right properties
According to Mr Basha repeat and referral business has played a huge roll in growing his portfolio with 12 of his newest properties coming from one owner.
“Referral business is just as important in property management as it is in sales,” he says.
“I have good relationships with all my clients. They have my number saved in their phone so when I call they answer, ‘Hi Bill’.
“I also make sure I do, what I call, happy calls so I am not always calling them with bad news, so when they see my name flash up on their phone they are not trying to avoid me.”
The McGrath brand and resources have also been a key component to gaining extra properties, Mr Basha adds.
“McGrath website and marketing is second to none, I of course do my own marketing with emailing my database and calling clients, but the user-friendly and attractive website always brings us enquirers from potential owners.
“A brand like McGrath does extremely well in a place like Cronulla where investment properties can yield rents of between $280-$300 per week, and up to $2,700 per week.
“It is a beautiful part of the world to live and work and I am passionate about what I do here.”