Low tolerance for property managers

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This is my 15th year in the property industry and in particular in property management.  It’s never been more evident to me that consumers have such a low tolerance for property managers.  I’m not exactly sure where it comes from but I think there are a few different motivators for consumers:

  • Tired of dealing with untrained juniors
  • Believe that their property manager doesn’t really do anything other than ‘collect the rent’
  • Think that property managers are not highly valued
  • Believe that property managers are not real professionals

Now I concede that as an industry we have reinforced this way of thinking  because of a number of reasons:

  • The lack of training offered to entry level property managers (this is in part due to business owners not having the time/money to send their PM’s onto training courses)
  • The industry itself as we haven’t been able to keep some of our brightest talent due to it being such a ‘thankless’ job, wrapped in litigious tape and loopholes created by legislation and constant changes
  • The directors giving all the glory to their lucrative sales people rather than nurturing those whom are managing their finest asset and one that remains long after the people move on

But why does this make landlords and tenants so unwilling to allow for simple human error before they make a complaint or worse take their business elsewhere?  Let me give you some examples:

Example 1:
Tenant emails our office from overseas to provide a 2-page letter on how upset he is that we entered his rental property for a routine inspection whilst his girlfriend was home.  We respond by providing an unreserved apology but politely provide him with copies of the communication sent by our office confirming our office keys would be used if no one was home at the time. Yes, his girlfriend was home but she elected to not answer the door. This was unbeknownst to us until we entered the property.  Tenant advises that this invasion of privacy will be reported to consumer affairs.  These types of tirades are common….

Example 2:
We receive a take over letter from a competing agent. This is completely out of the blue so the property manager calls the client to ask why they were dissatisfied (absolutely no forewarning was provided).  After repeatedly trying to obtain a reason, an email arrives which advises that there was an Owners Corp invoice that became overdue to which they were not informed.  In addition, since she had started looking after other areas of the business the communication wasn’t as good with the property manager -  apparently this was reason enough to move on!   We later find out that they attended a seminar where the presenter offered their property management services as ‘bargain basement rates’ if they made the switch!

Is a good quality well-versed property manager looking after your single most expensive asset not worth the money? Why would you switch over 1 percent (1%) difference? I truly believe that a good property manager is worth their weight in gold, if you get one you should stick with them, as you will learn the difference in quality and service when chasing cheap fees.

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