After almost two decades in the industry, Loretta Morgan thinks she has worked out the recipe for simplistic and stress free property management.
“I’m like you. I’ve been in the trenches and I’ve seen the struggles that come with property management,” she said.
“The number one choice to make as a property manager is whether you’re going to be proactive or reactive” – Loretta Morgan (lorettamorgan.com)
Loretta was a key speaker on property management at PPM Group’s recent national conference (June 19-20, 2016), and talked about the basic, simple and effective techniques to streamline your property management roles and overall department.
Simple: Easily understood or done; presenting no difficulty (adjective).
“When we don’t feel like we have a great handle on things, we can feel anxious, out of control and paralysed,” Loretta said. “This leads to a lack of motivation and a lack of job satisfaction. We see so many great property managers leave the job because they’re stressed out and overwhelmed.”
So, how do you take back control of your work, life and business?
Ultimately it’s down to the same statistics: Property managers want to feel in control, satisfied and OK.
The 5 Elements of Simplistic and Stress-Free Property Management:
Be thorough, accurate and timely. When in doubt, document your conversations. “Every time you have a call or see someone, type up the contents of the conversation you’re having. Afterwards, recap with the client and send them a letter or an SMS confirming the contents. That way there’s no room for error and everyone is on the same page.” Documentation is key, Loretta said. “We’re human and it’s okay to make mistakes. But documenting your work eliminates the margin for error. I like to run with a rule of 3: when I’m preparing a lease I’ll go through the paperwork, check that everyone’s name is correct, I explain the documentation when I go through it and then we sign it. There’s no room for error – this method has served me well in my career.”
- Be consistent. “The number one choice to make as a property manager is whether you’re going to be proactive or reactive. I’d imagine all of you want to be proactive property managers – it means far less stress and overwhelmed.” Loretta recommended setting daily, weekly and monthly tasks around the work you do. “Once you take control, you’re in front of your work, not behind it. Lean on the side of caution with everything you do, it’s better to do too much than not enough.
- Weekly team meetings and one-on-ones. These reduce complexity and confusion. Things to discuss at these meetings could be: What’s on for the week, what’s happening in the department, what can we do better, what are the issues and how can we resolve them and assign action tasks. This will help you fill gaps of knowledge within your department.
- It’s one of the key fundamentals to success as a property manager. Loretta talked about the HAIL principle: Act with Honesty, Authenticity, Integrity and Love. Be clear and straight, authentic, have integrity and be your word, and wish them well.
- Manage expectations: Expectation leads to conflict and disappointment. “When you bring new business into the office, you are setting a standard of expectation,” Loretta said. “I see a lot of BDMs who bring in 30-40 properties a month, but their expectations aren’t aligned with what’s going on in the business and what can be delivered. Then what happens is we end up with disgruntled, unhappy clients. What they believe in their mind is often very different to reality.”
Get back to people, tell them you’re working on it. Make sure you make people feel loved, heard and acknowledged. “Amy Sanderson touched on audits earlier. Yes, we’re only human and we do make mistakes. But we need to check our work to make sure we’re accurate. Being diligent in your work will help you prevent drama.” Loretta also touched on the quality of online property listings. “Looking at properties advertised on the Gold Coast today, if I were the owner of the property I’d be appalled: Upside-down photos, photos of a vanity, rubbish in the garden, blurry photos and poor descriptions. We need to be diligent with this stuff. We all get busy, but it’s better to take the time now and avoid drama down the track. Which leads us to the fourth element…”
If the first 3 elements aren’t followed, drama is what will happen. How often do we spend 10-15 minutes each day discussing a scenario that’s occurred in the office? Gossip, negativity and judgment are key issues that come to light. In any workplace there’s going to be some degree of drama. This can come out in the form of office cliques and cattiness. For others, tensions can arise against a particular person in the office. But no matter what type of drama exists in your office, it’s best to be avoided.
Commitment, growth and agility. “Be passionate about what you do,” Loretta said. Have dedication to your work and clients – if you have dedication, you can take back control in your role. “This is a role where we have to work fairly autonomously, but we’re delivering to our clients. We need to have a serving mentality.”