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Q&A: Isaac Teu, Doyle Spillane

By Jay Garcia
02 February 2016 | 11 minute read
Isaac Teu cropped

Isaac Teu loves working in real estate and enjoys the added bonus of being in an office on Sydney's beautiful northern beaches.

When did you first join the PM industry?


Why did you join the PM industry?

I wanted to get a good grounding in real estate. 

What were you doing before PM?
I was a service missionary for my church.

What would you like your next career step to be?
I would love to one day help Doyle Spillane branch out, duplicate what we do in this office and open new offices in local areas.

What piece of technology do you find the most useful for your business and why?
Mobile phone – it allows me to reach people when I'm out of the office whether it be phone calls or emails. I also can take photos and videos of particular things while I'm out. 

What area of PM needs more training focused on it and why?
I would think property managers need the most training. Most offices are sales based, so they tend to hire junior staff to look after people’s biggest assets. This can cause a lot of stress and probably explains the high turnover in our industry. 

What skills does a PM/BDM need to be successful?
There are a lot of skills, but two stand out to me the most. They say knowledge is power – you need to know your market and be engaged, so take interest and always stay active online. The other one is: you need to be a people person. I believe, no matter what situation you're dealing with, if people sense that you are genuine and that you care, they will be attracted to you and you will both understand each other more, which allows you to connect better. I once read: "If people like you, they will listen to you. If they trust you, then they will deal with you."

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

The start: they should be part of the tenant selection process. We have a specialised leasing team who conduct open homes and they send updates to our property managers. From there they will both agree on the right tenant once applications are processed, then from there they manage the property right through to vacate. 

How do you deal with disgruntled and aggressive tenants?

Listen. People don't just wake up and think, 'I might get angry at the property manager today'. Once you have heard the complaint, make sure you can pinpoint the issue. Acknowledge the issue, apologise the mistake was made, then rectify the issue ASAP! And always communicate with the disgruntled tenant. I like to be upfront and honest. 

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

As cheesy as it sounds, I would love to still be in real estate, so I would say sales. 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

No two days are the same. Every day brings new challenges, which means learning experiences. Also when it's a super hot day, I can stay in the air-conditioning.

What are the most stressful aspects of your job?

As a BDM, I would say the set-up period. I always worry that the property is online and advertised properly. 

How do you relax after a stressful day at work?

I love surfing. I'm not that good, but I love it. Being out in the ocean is very relaxing. Even when there aren't many waves, it's just good to be out there to appreciate my surroundings. 

How would you describe a perfect property management day?

For me, when I come into the office I start by returning calls and emails. I like having all my appointments in the mornings because I'm fresh and the day isn't too hot yet. At lunch I have to be out of the office. Then I try to knock off paperwork and calls in the afternoon. Most days I like to put aside training time for myself – sometimes I read articles or try to implement procedures I've learnt from training courses. Even just checking online portals to see what is available, prices, time on market, etc.


Do you have an industry update?