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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Leasing In the Tough Times

When was the last time that you took stock of what your leasing systems are like? Around the country, we are hearing reports of the markets becoming much tougher due to stronger sales markets and changes in market influences in some areas.

Some leasing teams are finding it a challenge to get those properties leased. It is really important to remember that the lean times will come and ensure that you have systems in place to deal with those situations. How do we survive through those times so that we can stay successful, keep our owners happy and keep the money coming through the door? We are finding in some cases, housing interest rates are their lowest, driving a strong sales market which in turn can have the opposite effect on the rental market.

How do we stay on top and keep on the ball? It’s been said over and over, we don’t know who that person is coming through the door and what impression you are actually giving them. It could be a friend of the Landlord, or a potential investor doing some window shopping. So let’s look at a few tips that could help with getting those properties leased.

  • Ensure the property has professional looking photos. Believe it or not, people are time poor and someone may or may not choose to look at your property depending on the photos that you have online. Include a floorplan and even a video walk through as well if you can.
  • Include a detailed description with all the features and benefits of the property.
  • Return all phone calls and emails or implement an automatic system. Nothing will frustrate someone more than if their enquiry is ignored.
  • When planning your open times, sometimes earlier is best. In many markets, online advertising is the chosen method and prospective tenants will have their line up the night or even days before, they don’t need to wait for the Saturday paper to work out their run sheet for the day. You may find, especially in a bigger city you will have more luck having people through earlier in the day when traffic is much quieter.
  • Presentation is key. From the way you are dressed, to the way the property looks, something to keep in mind that it is not just the property, but your office on show and how you and the property present will be a reflection of that in public perception.
  • Show them through the property and sell it.  Don’t just open the door and stand at the front waiting for them to come out. You will be surprised how much information someone can give up about themselves in ten minutes if you engage in conversation.
  • Find out feedback from the prospective tenant including any flaws or reasons they weren’t interested, which in turn will provide great feedback for your Owner, especially if the feedback is due to the condition or price.
  • Keep your Owners updated throughout the whole process. You are at your highest risk of losing a property when it is vacant, so this is the time that it is important that you are giving the Owner the best service of their life. If you do need to go to them with a price reduction, make sure that you are well armed with comparables. Homework can give you a great advantage.

The Leasing landscape is constantly evolving and it’s a matter of keeping up with our ever demanding consumer and above all have fun because this process will allow, that while you meet some challenges, you will also meet some amazing new people. It can also be incredibly rewarding to help someone find their new home.

Heidi Walkinshaw

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Are you Avoiding the Causes of Stress in Property Management?

What would happen if I asked yourself: “How are you doing today?”

I could guarantee that nine times out of ten, somewhere in the response will be the word “busy”. Closely followed by words, or accompanied with feelings such as stressed, drained, frazzled, overwhelmed and possibly snowed under.

When we drill down into the reasons behind this, we find several common causes of stress in Property Management. I will take a look at some of them here and offer some possible solutions to help alleviate that stress.

The one key thing that I have discovered with most of my clients’ is that stress is the perception that everything has to happen right now. When we feel like everything needs doing immediately, that creates the stress which can actually have physical effects on our bodies, health and well being.

To avoid stress we need to effectively manage our tasks, requirements and expectations to ensure we remain in control of our time and feelings. This gets trickier and trickier in the modern day as the expectations of our clients (both tenants and landlords) are higher than ever before.

In the other areas of their worlds, they have access to more live information than ever before and they expect instant responses and live information from us as-well. However, our current systems and the way we do things do not provide them with this, hence an enhanced feeling of stress on our part as we are not being able to deliver on their heightened expectations. They might seem basic however these simple tweaks can assist with overcoming this issue and possibly help alleviate some of our stress.

Emails and notifications

Do not let your day be ruled by your inbox. Every time new icon or notification pops up, your mind is instantly thinking of all of the things that are stacking up waiting to be dealt with, while you are trying to focus on the main task at hand. Turn off your email notifications both within your outlook and also on your phone, so that you are in control of when you chose to look at what has come in, and deal with it then. This allows you to focus on one task at a time, making you more productive and less stressed.

I can hear you thinking – but then they’ll just be angry waiting for me to respond! The trick here though, is to have an auto response on your email so that an email is going back to the client, confirming receipt and letting them know an expected response time. Click here for a free copy of our email auto response setup instructions and templates.

Overflowing To Do List

As items mount on our, to do list so does our perception of stress. Create a process where you are periodically reviewing your to do list and prioritising and reallocating. Taking 5 minutes out to review and plan a few times throughout the day (even if you feel too busy to do so) will have enormous positive effect on your stress levels and productivity. We recommend morning, lunch and mid afternoon at a minimum. By prioritising you can assess what is really urgent, who you may need to let know if something will not be actioned that day, and where you may be able to allocate a task to another day or person.

Clients chasing you and complaints

The feeling of when a client is chasing you for an update or status on a situation – can create stress too. Most of us are naturally made to be people pleasers so when we feel like we haven’t lived up to someone’s expectations, this creates stress. No news updates are really important for many clients, just to confirm that you’re still onto it, you haven’t forgotten them, and the next time you will contact them with a further update. If you say you’ll contact someone within 24 hours to update them, diarise to do so. Use your outlook to set up a pop up reminder to call that person back, or add it to your to do list for tomorrow.

Stay tuned for more stress busters in coming weeks.

Hermione Gardiner

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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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