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From good to great Mastering the art of Property Management with Joel Davis

With Joel Davis Image Property

You can make or break your career with how you handle the phone, stakeholders and workflow. Joel Davis from Image Property identifies five areas property managers can target to enhance your career.

1. Knowing and nailing your peak moments

You build rapport over the phone, so make sure you use the phone! Peak moments of your career are marked by powerful phone calls.

The calls you have to master are:

  • Successful lease renewals.
  • Work order sent.
  • Maintenance completed.
  • Application approved and deposit received.
  • The vacate call.
  • The break lease advice call.

Joel says, “Successful lease renewal is something where I honestly believe that most property managers don't take enough credit for the work that they've done. There's a lot of hard work that goes into it. At the end of it, most property managers actually just send for a signed copy of the lease agreement instead of making the phone call to take the credit for the work that they've done. If you don't take the credit, often people won't allocate it. You've got to make sure that you make them aware of what you actually did."

2. Work in flow

Managing your work will make or break your career. Banking and arrears are high priority, owner feedback is clearly important, as is maintenance. Joel says, “The longer you work on one activity, and the more you focus on one thing, the faster you get at it. It's as simple as that. At any given time, you just need to probably have a good overall view of your week. You need to make sure that at the start of the week, you allocate the appropriate amount of time per task based on their priority. Our property managers use a one, two, three, four category. A one is important and urgent. You shouldn't ever be doing a two whilst you've got a one. A two is important, but it's not yet urgent. A three is not important and not yet urgent. A four, actually probably never needs to be done. For an example, a four would be tenant enquiry for property that's already been leased. Thanks to Inspect Real Estate, they would have already received an automated response telling them that that property is no longer available."

He adds, “Arrears needs to be done on a daily basis, in my opinion. And, arrears are something where you should just start with your arrears and finish your arrears. We do it every single morning. It's the first task that we do once the banking is done. You just get through them and get it done, and get it off your plate. It is a high priority task that needs to be allocated, and it should just be done in flow. When you start your arrears phone calls, you don't do anything else until you've finished them."

3. Effective Communication

Your career can pivot on how well you communicate with tenants and owners. An experienced property manager knows how things are going to play. It is a property manager's job to be talking with authority. If you frame conversations as ‘If this, then that. Is that okay?’, it’s a great way of getting to a rapid outcome."

Joel says, “One thing that you can make a mistake with in your communication to an owner is talking from a standpoint of, ‘You're in charge’. I don't actually believe that. I believe that a good property manager is in charge, and they just get authority from the owners. They don't ask what to do. They tell the owner what they're doing and get the authority to sign off on it."

"Being proactive and making sure that you stay on top of your tasks is essential."

In terms of specific communications, Joel says, “When you are sending an email, try to make it a one sided email as much as possible. Don't require a response if there isn't a need for one. Texting is incredibly effective these days. We know that you got our text. There is no junk box for your texts, so you got it. For us, it's become very effective, and also, no longer considered unprofessional. For us these days, it is a really effective tool with our owners. One of the first conversations we have when we're introducing ourselves to a new landlord is, ‘Lee, just so I know moving forward, what would be the best method of communication for getting in touch with you?’ We're finding that more than 60% of our new landlords are allocating text as their preferred method of contact."

4. Being proactive versus reactive

Being proactive and making sure that you stay on top of your tasks is essential. Know what to prioritise. For example Joel says, “Getting back to maintenance quickly is really important. I can guarantee you any time that it costs you up front will save you more than threefold on the back end. Sometimes, you do just get too much. Ask for help."

5. Effcetive conflict resolution

Joel says, “If you don't have good conflict resolution skills, you're probably not going to last very long in the job.” When a problem arises Joel says, “One of the fundamental rules - stand close to the problem. There is no better piece of advice that I could give a property manager. When you give it time to breathe, it will only get worse. 80% of the problems that property managers deal with are tenant related, not owner related. We're not spending any time deliberately trying to form stronger relationships with our tenants, which are the ones that we have all of the conflict with. If you have a stronger relationship with them, the relationship becomes easier to manage."

A useful tool for more experienced property managers is LAST. Joel says, “It basically stands for listen, ask, solve, then think. The big thing about this is the more experienced you get, the more presumptive you become. I found that this was something that I really needed to look back into after I'd been dong it for some time, because the more experienced you become, the quicker you jump from listening to solving. Sometimes, unless you ask the right questions, you actually don't solve the root cause of the problem or the actual problem itself."


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