Author Archive

Project Plan for the Cooler Months

Without trying to get all Ned Stark on you, because we all know how well things turned out for him, believe it or not, winter is on its way. The year just seems to fly by and once Easter arrives and brings with it not only chocolate but also the daylight saving change, we start to see the long hard slog of the cooler months paved out before us.

Something happens in winter, people tend to want to hibernate and aren’t so keen on moving about.

If you find in your office that you do have some quieter time, it’s a great opportunity to plan some projects that will help you to be more organised and on top of your game when the busy times are there.

  • Keep on top of your preferred week. If you don’t already have a preferred week mapped out, maybe it’s time to start. The team at REAL+ have some great examples to help you with this.
  • Stay up to date with smoke detectors. Your software programs allow you to enter in details of the last date of testing so that you can audit to see where each property is at to ensure compliance with legislation. If you aren’t sure of your requirements under smoke alarm legislation, check the fire department website for your state, they have all the requirements and any recommendations for your tenants, especially as the those heaters start getting fired up ready to keep you roasty, toasty warm.
  • Try a key audit. Now, don’t completely freak out, but when was the last time that you actually audited your key cabinet? How many keys are sitting in your cabinets unused, for properties that you no longer manage? Some tips if you would like to try this process;
    • Print out or save a pdf copy of the key numbers as they currently sit before the audit.
    • Have some dot stickers to take out with you and the keys when you visit properties, check all of the keys at inspections, be it vacates, in-goings or routines and put a coloured sticker on those that work and one on those that don’t that can be thrown. Often you will find that over time, locks are changed, old keys that never work are kept and the handful of keys for one property becomes the size of Everest. If you would like to go the extra mile, write which door the key belongs to on the sticker which will really help you, your colleagues and even your Tenants.
    • Have a box to put those keys for properties that you no longer manage or that you have no idea which property they belong to. This is handy to keep around for a few months, for just in case purposes and for when you may feel comfortable with disposing of them.
    • To make key tracking easier, try some of the new software out there like Inspect Real Estate’s key tracker. It will really save you time and stress and if you choose paper, don’t forget to have a key system in place for tracking those key movements in and out of the office.
  •  Audit your routine schedule. Sometimes, believe it or not, routine inspections of properties can slip through the cracks. Print out a report from your software to find out when the last inspection was carried out and if it’s behind, get out there and get it done.
  • Get that maintenance up to date. Check your outstanding work orders and if there are any outstanding for 2 months or more, find out why. Chase up the tradies, check with the tenants if the work has been done and get those invoices in so that the Owners have a chance to claim them with end of financial year.

It’s important to remember to keep momentum during these months as the quieter times can also mean catching up on those maintenance tasks that may not take priority when it’s busy.

Heidi Walkinshaw

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Don’t Forget Your Swimming Pools

With the news this week reporting that in NSW the changes to swimming pool legislation and enforcement has been pushed back yet another 12 months, the temptation may be to think it’s ok to put off the compliance measures.

This extended time frame allows for more time to get those inspectors in and ensure you are ahead of the curve and ready to go once that deadline eventually comes into force.

It has also allowed for extra breathing room as I have heard of some Property Managers struggling to get the measures in place due to a shortage of inspectors.

In NSW, the legislation includes changes such as;

  • The requirement for an Owner to register their swimming pool with local council
  • The requirement for local councils to inspect pools
  • The requirement for all tourist, visitor and multi-occupancy developments to have a valid compliance certificate for their swimming pool
  • The requirement for a compliance certificate to be attached to a lease or sale contract for a property that has a swimming pool
  • Not just in NSW, but all states, if you are taking on any properties with pools or in any current management’s it is also important when you are inspecting the property to ensure that the pool has the following safety measure in place;
  • Child-resistant safety fencing and gates separating the pool from any residential building or adjoining premises,
  • Warning and CPR signs are displayed near the pool.
  • When carrying out inspections, make sure that all gates and doors are closed at all times.

As we steam roll towards the winter month’s it can become something we don’t put as much emphasis on as we are zooming around with so many other tasks that we need to keep compliant but a task that is incredibly important and could have the potential to save a life.

Heidi Walkinshaw

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Sharing The Love

As Valentine’s Day is upon us, we notice a change in the air. It brings out the romantics and suddenly the store shelves are filled with flowers and paraphernalia all in an attempt for the consumer to profess their love for just one day, at an inflated price.  Now call me a cynic, but I have a strong belief that this act of “romance” should not be just for a day, there is nothing quite like an act of romance be it a special occasion or just some random Tuesday.

  • So how about in your business?
  • Do you share the love with your team or does it go by the wayside?
  • Are your team passionate about their careers, burning with a desire to make each day better than the last?

Never underestimate a random act of kindness and just what effect it can have on a person’s frame of mind. Now, I’m not talking about extravagant gifts or luxurious holidays, it may be something simple as saying thank you or congratulating the team member on a job well done.

Let’s face it, for Property Managers at the coalface it can sometimes be a thankless job, one which has a huge rate of attrition so it may just be the little things that can help in averting the next Property Manager breakdown. You know the one I’m talking about, where they are curled up in the corner in a foetal position willing the world to go away. We’ve all been there, its learning how to get up, dust ourselves off and kick on that separates that lions from the lambs.

Social reinforcers can yield positive results when it comes to performance and studies have found that an individual will perform twice as well when provided social reinforcement than what they did before. With this in mind, have a think about the last time you gave your team a thank you, just off the cuff? This isn’t just with bosses in mind either. As a worker bee, when was the last time that you congratulated your team mate for a job well done, given them a smile or said thank you for a task they may have assisted you with? How about even offering to help out with a task when they may be sinking? Try it just at random and you may be surprised how it can make all the difference in someone’s day.

“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”  ― Roald Dahl

Heidi Walkinshaw

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The Great Generation Divide

Unlike ever before in history, we now have more generations working in the industry at the same time. We currently have four generations working together, or not in some cases. I recently had a millennial complain to me that they had a new employee, “a gen z” begin and that “they were just awful” following it up with, “if I had behaved the way she does when I started, I wouldn’t have a job!” To which I must argue, really, is this the case? Or do many of us have very short memories?

My argument being that I know when I was a young 20 something, I pushed buttons, I said inappropriate things and I made mistakes. I recently had a previous employer joke I had aged him 20 years in the almost 8 I had worked for him! I have an almost two year old that pushes boundaries every single day and while it is tiring, it is fantastic! Their job is to push the boundaries, to challenge the norm and is this not the case with the next generation? Hell I’m in my 30’s and I still push the boundaries where I can.

Psychologically speaking, the brain does not mature until the age of 25 and this benchmark has been argued to be the turning point from the adolescent brain to an adult. Now, I will get those from the younger generation who will argue the point with me that they are more mature and while I don’t disagree, the science is there. While it can be incredibly frustrating and challenging at times, it is a perfect opportunity to harness the energy that they bring and guide it into something successful.

One of the biggest challenges faced by employers is balancing the generations in their workplace and have them all on the same path to a common goal. Creating an environment that fosters mentoring among employees can assist in bridging the divide. Younger generations can learn from the wealth of experience that older generations have conquered, while older generations can learn more efficient and technologically advanced ways to carry out their tasks and learn something new.

It is also vital to deal with any conflict that may arise in the workplace. Rather than sweeping it under the rug, discuss the issues and foster an environment where employees feel that they can approach management with any issues that they may be having with their counterparts. It needs to be understood that all generations have something to bring to the table and it is important to deal with any conflict in a productive manner.

It is also a good point to remember that experience and the lessons can be learnt, enthusiasm cannot and while it can be time consuming to train someone the tricks of the trade, if they have the enthusiasm to make it then you are halfway home. Plus there is an abundance of great training like that on offer at REAL+ to help have your team hit the ground running in no time.

Each generation can learn from the one who went before in some way or another. Instead of complaining about them incessantly, how about work together as a team, harness the strengths, work on the weaknesses and build a better future for all.

Heidi Walkinshaw

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