Accentuate the Positive

As the daily grind of Property Management ticks on, we can find that Property Managers sometimes become very busy for a myriad of reasons. It could be the general tasks, the clients you are dealing with or even something like straying off course and not following your preferred week.

It is important for your own mental health and productivity that you take a moment once in a while to refocus and reconnect with both yourself and the tasks at hand so that you don’t become overwhelmed.

This industry, like most, can bring out the best in people or it can bring out the worst and in people. In our travels, we often have to contend with a variety of sources of conflict, whether it be from the clients or even worse, at the hands of ours competitors. Let’s face it, we live in a country where the wildlife is often trying to kill or maim us, let’s not also turn on each other. It’s good to remember that in the end, we are all running our own race and in Property Management, we all share similar challenges.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that for every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness. It can be very difficult sometimes to focus on the positive when there can be so many challenges that are thrown our way, so we are going to look at five steps to keep as many of those 60 seconds of happiness as you can.

  • Choose to be Positive Every day something goes on in the world that is much bigger than what may be happening where you are, it’s all a matter of perspective. Every day when you get up, you can choose whether to grab life with both hands and run with it, or sink into a puddle. It’s up to you to decide how you will do this, and look, there are some days that you may only have the strength to have a shower and change your pj’s. That’s ok too.
  • Remove negativity from your life As much as possible. Of course, you cannot completely control every aspect of your life and you will still have to deal with the yucky stuff from time to time, but it’s a good idea to deal with it, let it go and move on.
  • Find the positive in your day I have recently been shown something getting around the pages of Etsy called a gratitude jar. Now, I’m not saying that you need to go with all of that popping a note in the jar each day for something that you’re grateful for, but it is good for the soul, no matter how bad your day might get, to try and find the silver lining.
  • Share your positivity Positivity can be infectious, so throw that stuff around like glitter. Everyone loves a shower in glitter and things that sparkle, right? Even if it’s just sharing a smile with a stranger in the street or checking in with your ship mates who may be having a rough day, to see if they are ok.
  • Don’t assume You know the old saying about assumptions? It has something to do with a donkey? It’s not productive to assume that you know what is going on in someone else’s life. Kindness goes much further than idle gossip and the next time you expand your lungs to express something negative about a person, stop to consider if it is actually doing your own wellbeing any good. Focus on running your own race.

Remember that there will always be those who want to bring you down. Take a moment and a breath and remember the good things. Pull up your comrades in arms and remind them that when they are down, we are all on the same path to creating something great in this industry. Once we can achieve the positive and the great together, the negative nancies will fade into the background.
My grandmother always told me that no matter what life throws at you, tomorrow is a new day and a chance to start again. So, what will your tomorrow bring?

Heidi Walkinshaw

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What’s Your Plan?

With the wildest weather buffeting the east coast and record rainfall and weather unlike anything witnessed since the 60’s and 70’s, it brings to the fore that it may be a good time to consider if your office has an action plan in place for emergencies such as storms, floods and fires.

Most offices may not plan for the worst until it is too late and it is essential to be prepared and have an action plan in place for when an adverse event may occur.

Some steps that you may take in preparing your action plan:

  • Complete a  risk management assessment table with your risks, impact to your business, mitigation strategies and contingency plans.
  • Identify any areas in your business that you cannot operate without should something happen.
  • Complete an emergency management and recovery plan and communicate that plan to all staff so that they are aware of the procedure.
  • Include in any plans a list of emergency contacts such as trades, state emergency services, police, fire and ambulance. This list is also handy to provide to tenants who won’t always know what to do when it comes to these matters.
  • Develop an evacuation plan and ensure you have covered any additional procedures required under likely emergency scenarios.
  • Prepare an emergency kit and include items such as key documents, phone numbers, torches, first aid kits, portable radios, plastic bags, spare batteries and water. Place these in a prominent location and ensure that staff are well informed.
  • Appoint an emergency action team, rehearse your action plan and most importantly, keep your plan up to date.
  • Check that your insurance covers for risks associate with your business.
  • Store all important documents in a secure location and ensure that you have regular backups of your digital data and secure offsite storage for those backups.
  • Research the virtual office services that could be useful in an emergency (such as a telephone answering service, mail forwarding, or a remote secretarial service).

Above all, when it comes to any kind of emergency situation, stay safe, don’t put yourself at risk and leave what you can up to the emergency services who are well trained in dealing with these matters.

Hermione Gardiner

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The Best Sight in My Office

As I sit here to write today I am met with a sight in my office, one which throws me into a different train of thought, one which fills me with a sense of pride, a hint of jealousy, and a load of excitement. It is the early stages in the passing of the baton. So what have I found?

I decided to sit out on the office floor today, come out of the cave that I inhabit on the days I am here called “Fiona’s Office” and hit the desks with the team, across from me right now stands with great pride a card, adorned on its cover is an image of a trophy with the words “No.1 Coach”. As I read the carefully crafted words, the message relates to a story of success and achievement and within its lines, the words are offering thanks and praise for the coach who was there supporting and guiding to ensure it happened.

Pride is an interesting word, and can really mean and relate to so many different things. In this instance I am proud of the business we have. Being able to offer such a service, of the knowledge and skill that has formed over the past 23 years which we impart every day, of the care and dedication my team portray when dealing with peoples lives and the realistic approach we take when identifying what is possible, setting the goals at the right level and then supporting in just the right way.

That momentary flicker of jealousy, has not been derived due to “someone else getting a card”, its from the feeling you get when you know you have made such a difference in someone’s world.
As a business owner who has been at the cold face of my business since inception, creating and offering every service we have today, it’s hard to let go and let others take the reins of an area of your business that is so close to your heart, and one that you enjoy so very much.

The reality is, though the jealousy subsides as quickly as it arrived as it is I as a leader who has the greatest gift of all. Passing the baton to passionate people, watching them develop into capable practitioners is the ultimate for a coach, coaching the coaches. Helping people help people – what a gift.

As we continue to grow, and we bring more people into our family, the dynamic of my role will continue to change. As for most business owners, this has its own challenges, but my role is to be at the front of the trail, blazing away so that the team continue to have a strong leader to follow. It’s important that you keep at the front of yours!

Plus … I’m not ready to let go of the baton just yet, I decided that I’m living till I am 120, so that’s another 100 years to go 😉

Fiona Blayney

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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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