IT’S official, the rental team at hockingstuart Ballarat are one of the best in the state.
The department is one of 10 nominated for the inaugural the Property Management Agency of the Year award from RateMyAgent.com.
Agency head of property management, Lachlain Ramsay, said the nomination was good way of getting a tangible benchmark on where he and his team were at.
“It’s all based on client satisfaction and client reviews, so for us it’s a good gauge for how we present in the marketplace with our clients,” he said.
“The level of improvements we’ve had over the last two years is probably where it’s been a really good measure for us to say ‘it is actually working really well,’ all the things we’ve popped in place.”
So what’s the secret to the property management team at hockingstuart Ballarat’s success?
The short answer is it’s multi-layered.
With 850 properties under management, both residential and commercial, by seven property managers, that means each staff member looks after about 120 properties. A much lower volume than the industry average of 180.
The agency also has dedicated leasing consultant whose job is focused on doing due diligence around potential tenants.
“We keep the portfolios low,” Mr Ramsay said. “In turn the quality of service is higher.”
“We also employ a full-time leasing consultant, so that takes away a facet of the day-to-day management. They focus on the leasing of property and efficiently getting good quality tenants.
“Our property managers focus on the client contact, insuring that everything runs smoothly for our clients.”
The choice to keep the volume of portfolios handled by the property managers low is practical and goes beyond customer service.
“It’s a fine balance between job satisfaction, profitability and client care,” Mr Ramsay said.
While traditionally the focus in the rental market was keeping the landlord happy, senior property manager Kirsten Aisbett said that hockingstuart Ballarat also makes sure the tenants are well looked after.
“Everyone needs to be treated on a personal basis,” she said.
“We treat landlords and tenants the same. In the past property managers have treated tenants differently to landlords, and that’s where I think it’s gone wrong.
“We’re big on treating everyone equally, and that’s where it works really well.” Mr Ramsay agrees.
“The old traditional property management trait, I suppose, is treat tenants like trash and landlords impeccably. But your tenants become landlords and they will come back to you if they have had a good experience with your agency. They are the people out there, often within the local community, that are advocating for you. If you can treat them well, naturally you see a higher rate of referrals within the local community.”
It’s not just client satisfaction on the whole of industry award front that hockingstuart Ballarat is doing well.
An internal recognition program across all hockingstuart property management departments, that also includes a measure of business growth, has seen the agency come runner up for the last two years.
“We see a higher referral rate from our current clients, so naturally the business grows because of that,” Mr Ramsay said.
The property management team at hockingstuart Ballarat won’t have to wait long to find out if they’re the best in Victoria, with the winner announced on Thursday, 21 February at an industry event in Melbourne.