Few envy the role of the Australian property manager, especially at a time when vacancy rates are declining and rents are rising, but in the eyes of BresicWhitney’s Chantelle Collin, the correct structures and systems are key to weathering every storm.
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Speaking on a recent episode of Secrets of the Top 100 Agents, Ms Collin, the boutique Sydney network’s head of property management, stressed the importance of effective and smoothly operating property management teams in navigating the trials and tribulations of the market at any given point.
She described the current Australian rental landscape as “interesting, particularly with the vacancy rates being as low as what they are”. According to CoreLogic’s Quarterly Rental Review covering the July quarter, national vacancy rates sat at 1.2 per cent, while Sydney’s was slightly higher (1.5 per cent).
While the chillier winter months induced a market lull, Ms Collin expects: “We’ll start to see that rental demand increase again as we move into spring and summer.”
While nothing is guaranteed in the Sydney rental market, meaning the life of a property manager edges on the chaotic side, Ms Collin admits her team of 40 benefits from being in a “smooth operation at the moment”.
“That’s a testament to the foundations we’ve put in place over the years,” she said, explaining how the outfit places an emphasis on “constant learning and development that prepares them [the team] for what we’re seeing on the ground”.
Ms Collin revealed this equips them with the tools they need so they know “how to navigate the climate we find ourselves in”.
This culture begins with recruitment, “right from the beginning”, she said, explaining that “one thing I always look for is their openness to learning and development, and that willingness to constantly be learning and evolving”.
“I think that is really key,” she emphasised.
This commitment doesn’t stop at the beginning of a property manager’s tenure in Ms Collin’s team, with those aforementioned attributes part of an ongoing, multifaceted approach that includes one-on-one meetings to establish personal growth plans, amongst other things.
When asked how she and her team manage to find the time to ensure these things happen, Ms Collin provided a simple answer: “It comes down to having the structure in place.”
“One thing me and my leaders in the team do is we always have that people-first approach. There’s nothing worse than rescheduling a one-on-one,” she said. “People really are our business and so that is where we should focus our time as leaders.”
Outside of these one-on-one sessions, Ms Collin explained her team emphasises on making meetings “engaging and rewarding” as opposed to just her “standing up in front and just talking for an hour”.
Creating this business culture that is the foundation of the prosperity of BresicWhitney’s property management team has not been an entirely seamless process though.
“It takes time to change people’s minds,” she admitted. “Like any change management, it always takes time. Constant developing and learning, shaping content, what works, what doesn’t work, and trying to really create a safe space where people feel they can raise their voice and share their thoughts, opinions and views in a collaborative manner; that took some time.”
She believes her team is “stronger together” because of this environment.
“One thing I’ve noticed, it really has fostered that we’re creating a safe place for them to speak about things as opposed to potentially, how it was many years ago, where they were kind of in their zone thinking they’re just going through it themselves.”
“It’s really comforting knowing the team members are also having similar things they’re dealing with,” she added. “It really amplified their voices and now they talk so freely.”
Moving forward, Ms Collin shared her expectation the team will “look at continually refining it, and evolving it”.
“It’s a constant living, breathing thing,” she concluded.
Listen to the full conversation here.
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