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Investor turns PM, caps managements

By Steven Cross
15 May 2014 | 9 minute read

An award-winning property investor has opened her own property management business, but has decided not to take on more than 100 properties.

Prue Muirhead has been investing in property since the mid-2000s, and in just four years retired after creating a property portfolio worth $3.5 million.

Since her ‘retirement’, Ms Muirhead has spoken at conferences and helped other aspiring investors realise their dreams of financial freedom.

But retirement was getting stale, so Ms Muirhead and her husband Andy Muirhead decided to start their own property management business.

“It fits me like a glove, I’m loving it,” she told Residential Property Manager.

“I’ve worked in the past just to fill my days by going into investors homes and telling them how they can get better returns, and ultimately that’s what a good property does.”

As an investor, Ms Muirhead claims the most frustrating thing about property managers is the high turnover rate of inexperienced staff.

“I had 26 staff at my last business and I’m not doing that again, especially seeing as the churn rate of young property managers is ridiculous," she said.

“My husband is a builder and ex-policeman, so he’s going to deal with the tenants, while I’m going to deal with the owners. Because of our two-person team we’re only going to take on 100 properties and after that we’ll have a waiting list.

“As an interstate investor, I found that the first thing inexperienced property managers did when there was a maintenance issue was send out a tradie. For one of my properties, I had to pay an electrician to clean an air filter or to flick the circuit breaker.

“As a builder, my husband can do the maintenance himself while he also gives the tenant a one-hour induction at the property – showing them all the features and how to properly maintain them.”

With Muirhead Property Management starting just three weeks ago, Ms Muirhead said she expects to hit the 100 mark within six months.

“I’ve been teaching investment at a TAFE course, so I have a database of investors who are all very willing to let me have their managements," she said.

“But it’s a tough gig being a property manager.

“In South Australia you don’t need any formal qualification, so young guys and girls come into the business under an ex-salesman director, and then get attacked from above as well as from tenants and landlords.” 

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