With technology developments streamlining the property management process and making it easier to build a rent roll outside your local area, is a PM’s office location still important?
Besser & Co head of property management Marcel Dybner said technology definitely makes it easier to manage a property and build a rent roll in other areas.
“But it does help being closer to the property for stuff like when it is time to lease it or when you need to pop out there to inspect something,” he told Residential Property Manager.
“It definitely does help being close - it saves a bit of time here and there.”
Mr Dybner said in managing a property there is no reason now, with the technology that is available, that you can’t manage properties anywhere.
“Our furthest property would probably be about a 25-minute drive from our office, which is a pretty fair drive,” he said.
“It is easy for us to manage the property, it just means whenever we need to inspect it we need to allocate a bit more time to doing that.
“Obviously, in our prime and local area we are more dominant and we have more boards up - we are much more noticeable.
“That always helps to develop and build your business,” he added.
Also speaking to Residential Property Manager, Property Management HQ director Kelley-Ann Seaton said she didn't used to think it mattered about your location and took on some properties outside her immediate service area.
“But I have changed my viewpoint since spending hours driving between properties and working from the back of the car,” she said.
“I do think that having an office in a location near your managed properties is essential.
“Not just so that it's ideal for your tenants to access, but so you can keep your finger on the pulse and be on top of absolutely everything for the owners,” she added.
Mrs Seaton said being too far away from the office is not good for time management.
“Spending too much time in the car travelling to and from properties can't really be any good for business,” she said.
“You can't manage a property to the best of your ability from afar, and you can't make money while you're wasting time driving."
“I do think with new technology and web or cloud-based programs and software it's certainly possible to manage properties from afar, but I also truly don't think it’s best practice,” she added.
Real Plus business manager Hermione Gardiner said she thinks the ability for a property manager to manage a property remotely is easier than ever before, but there are also some challenges to overcome before this becomes the norm.
“Because clients don’t come into the office for a chat as much anymore, phone and email are the new relationship builders, and we see some additional skills may be required here,” she told Residential Property Manager.
“Physically it can be fairly easy to manage a property from any location given technological advancements. However, when it's time to do routine inspections or lease the property there will be greater complexities if the agent is not located nearby.
“Could there be a potential to outsource these parts of the PM service though? Potentially,” she added.
Ms Gardiner said from the client’s perspective when choosing a property manager, she believes there is still a need to have a perception of your agency being active in the marketplace they are operating in as far as listings, signboards and market knowledge go.
“To combat this, we are seeing some great examples of agencies outsourcing certain PM functions, as well as running main functions and admin from an HQ in a distant location with smaller satellite offices operating on the ground in the local popular locations, allowing them to offset hefty high street costs and cover more locations – without disruption to the service the client receives,” she said.