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Are property managers dropping the ball?

22 July 2016 | 12 minute read
Heidi Walkinshaw 2016 cropped

Recently, I was having a conversation with a business owner, who remarked to me that when he walked into his residential property management department, he felt like he was hosting a “hipster convention”.

Now after we had a good chuckle about the terminology and I made a note to discuss the topic of dress with the team on my next visit to their office, it got me thinking. Are we becoming a bit lax in our appearance when it comes to being out there in the workplace?

Being in a world where I have a husband who is immersed in a collectable card game, I am no stranger to what a hipster convention, if they existed, might look like. Although, let’s face it, a convention for hipsters would not be the done thing by hipster standards.


While I thought about the dress codes that seem to exist, either through written procedures or culture, a quote comes to mind: “dress for the job you want, not for the job you have”. While I don’t encourage you to go out there and dress as Batman during daylight hours, if that’s the job that you want, I do encourage you to think about what might be considered appropriate attire when you are operating in a real estate business capacity.

Put yourself in the shoes of a client for a moment. You have just purchased your first investment property, you are nervous as it’s your first big investment and even more nervous about the prospect of renting it out to perfect strangers. You’ve called an agency and are meeting their business development manager that day to talk about your options.

While you wait, you notice a car drive up to the property, it is unwashed and grubby by all standards and you wonder if they are scoping the place out. Someone gets out of the car, they are fumbling with a folder, maybe a camera, and their hair is scruffy and they look like they have a nervous twitch as they are flicking it out of their eyes. They also look like a bushman with three-day face stubble and their shirt is hanging out. Their shoes are all scuffed and they have a few top buttons undone on their shirt.

Would you list your prized investment and new baby with this person? Or, on the flip-side of the coin, are you more likely to list your property with someone who is well dressed, clean shaven, has had a haircut and looks professional?

You have exactly 10 seconds to make that first impression. The next time you are preparing yourself for work, think about what you would like that impression to be, and if it were you on the hunt for a new property manager, would you be likely to employ yourself based on that appearance?


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