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The future of property management 

24 August 2017

Property management is being targeted by market disruptors which is changing the landscape and putting pressure on the indsutry. How can property managers handle this disruption?

REINSW Property Management Chapter Committee members Colin Rodgers, John Gilmovich and Lisa Indge, recently held a webinar on the future of property management. 

They discussed a range of issues from who the market disruptors are, how to cope with increasing expectations, the pros and cons of outsourcing, and how property managers can maintain and increase relevance. Watch the complete webinar here.

Property manager views on the industry 

Colin Rodgers, General Manager of McGrath Property Management Sutherland Shire

Colin said: “We're at a tipping point in our industry and we've got to do things differently and better, or we run the risk of becoming irrelevant. 

“We've got to change our personal customer service expectations, and the way we're delivering our services because a lot of what we do is done online but property management hasn’t caught up. Disruptors are doing the job of a property manager by identifying tasks that can be automated.

“The future of property management is customer service, because people will always want to have someone to talk to. We've just got to work smarter and identify how we can make conversations shorter and more effective.” 

Colin believes there are a host of changes happening now, including: 

  • Artificial intelligence – looking at what can be automated
  • Offshoring property management services
  • Digital disruption 
  • Specialisation of tasks 
  • Better training and education which is focused on conversation and not the process
  • Technology – utilising it to deliver better customer service 
  • Customer service experience.

Colin concluded: “We can put our heads in the sand, or look at what the disruptors have identified as being the things we don't have to do in property management, but can instead be done online.”

John Gilmovich, Director - Property Management at Coopers Agency

John explained that market sentiment research from investors, landlords, and property owners on service delivery shows they’re not satisifed and looking at alternatives. 

He explained: “The results show service levels aren't good enough and property investors are not seeing great value. 

“We've got challenges with low salaries, low skill, and a lack of training and support which is having a knock-on effect on service delivery. This is an issue that is impacting the performance of agency businesses. 

“It has allowed disruptors to offer alternatives to the traditional real estate agency model. Online platforms have been created to self-manage and cut the agent out of the equation.”

He explained that the two main players are and, however there are many more including rental bidding applications such as Rentberry and Rentwolf. 

“Rental bidding is very controversial. It's not legislated across all of the states in Australia and a legislative framework is being looked at. Many of the disruptors are amateur service providers, with no qualifications, skill or training that have entered the marketplace because it's currently unlegislated.” 

Lisa Indge - Managing Director of Let's Rent

Lisa said: “Landlords and tenants have higher expectations so it is fundamental we demonstrate our value by communicating with our clients clearly, effectively, and efficiently.

“Technology can improve our customer service levels and reduce the amount of work relating to handling inquiries, processing applications, and completing maintenance. However, you should also review your property management software to make sure you’re using the best product for your company.

“We need to have clearly defined processes that are reviewed regularly, and understand what our risks are and how to deal with them. 

“It is important to keep defined records and strip out as much of admin and accounts as possible so property managers can build a relationship with the client. 

“One of the first questions we ask in my team is, ‘can I pick up the phone and talk to the client about this particular issue, and resolve it quickly?’. It's so easy to send an email, but pick up the phone as much as you can because you'll find the amount of emails and phone calls you get will reduce.”

Watch the webinar in full to find out more about how to sell your service at a meeting with a new owner, the pros and cons of outsourcing, how a property manager can maintain relevance and how to improve services.