As our business has grown over the years, we have been through a number of different staffing structures. And, as things continue to change we are always looking at better ways of doing things, but here are some of the things we have thought about in determining our structure. If you are considering a property management team to look after your investment property, you may want to consider them too.
Do we have enough people?
Our industry benchmarks currently point to a structure which has 1 full-time and dedicated person working on property management for every 90 properties managed (a 1:90 ratio). At the moment we have a ratio of 1:60, which means that we have more people working to look after your property.
Are they the right people?
We have had to accept that in today’s fluid labour market there will be changes from time to time, but we have a core of experienced and dedicated people. From this we have built what we believe is a great and happy team, with a wide variety of skills, education and work experience to bring it all together. There is a link for Our People to the left of this page, for you to meet the team.
How are they trained?
We have strong links to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, and make a point of involving our team in specialist training sessions.
But, our most significant resource is the experience in our office. We have several people in the office with more than 15 years experience managing rental properties. We have people with University Degrees, and those still studying and learning current thought and trends – and people whose direct previous experience are in other sectors of our industry.
While our Letting and Interviewing offices provide good privacy, our property management team share in large open office spaces. Some offices are quiet. Ours isn’t, and we don’t apologise for it. We are constantly talking with each other about our work, and offering advice and solutions for matters that might arise. We believe that training is a continual process, and that we are large enough and close enough for mentoring to really work.
There is an old adage that if a business isn’t growing, then it is going backwards. If a Property Manager needs to spend a good deal of their time chasing new business, then who is looking after your property? Similarly, what is happening when a Property Manager is interviewing and reviewing dozens of applications, when they really only need to see 2 or 3?
Business Development Manager
We have two specialist Business Development Managers, who are the first point of call for new business enquiries.
In addition to being part of the general management team, Steve and Brent’s role is to:
In addition to Patricia’s input into the letting of properties, we have two specialist Letting Agents, who meet all potential tenants. Between the three of them there is more than 40 years experience in interviewing, screening and matching potential tenants to available rental properties. Some people might not like to admit it, but good letting outcomes often revolve around sound gut instinct, and you only get good at that with experience. Of course, we back up by thorough procedures, because good property management relationships begin with finding the right tenant. What this means is that the Property Manager only sees those filtered applications which merit their attention.
Property & Tenancy Managers
For the day-to-day management of rental property, we have a specific Property Manager and Tenancy Manager team assigned to each property. They work in specific geographic areas, so that they are time-efficient, but also so they can be constantly seeing the properties in their travels, and get to know the local issues in each area. This allows us to cover all of Christchurch, without spreading our resources too thinly. It also means that if one person is on leave, or is ill, or worse still leaves the firm, then we still have good and current knowledge in the building. So, how does this work?
Your Property Manager is the primary communication contact for the Property Owner, and the person entrusted to keeping our business within our business, but specifically they will:
The Engine Room is driven by the Administration Manager, who with the assistance of our Receptionists and Administrative Support Staff, make sure that the property management and letting teams can rely on the integrity of our information, and remove the hurdles that so often get in the way of working well.
As Business Owners, Patricia Bowden and Nigel Bowden are in the business working actively. Patricia holds the soul and spirit of the business, and principally oversees matters relating to the letting of property and everything to do with our relationship with the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand. Nigel is more of a problem solver: providing the backbone of financial, legal and technical expertise. It is a great balance, and it seems to work.
The benefits to our clients are hard to quantify, because when we do our job well, we can be seen to be invisible and not doing our job well at all! But, rest assured, if something does go wrong, our staffing structure allows for a huge amount of human resources to have input into fixing it, or providing you with the best advice for resolving the situation.
Property Management companies charge pretty much the same amount. We aren’t the cheapest, but a firm like ours has quite a different structure to a 1-2 person operation, so if you are choosing a firm to represent you, please make sure you are comparing apples with apples.