SHOULD YOU GO DOWN THE PATH OF RETROFITTING SOUNDPROOFING TO YOUR STRATA COMPLEX?
At one time or other during our property journeys, most of us have lived underneath a floor-board owning, high-heel wearing professional, adjacent to a kid learning the trumpet or directly above the party-house from hell. Without good soundproofing, these can make living very uncomfortable.
Blockchain is the latest technology buzzword. While many associate it with Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, the potential of the blockchain and smart contracts is being realised across many different industries from finance to the food-chain. For the real estate industry, the concept of a smart-contract, could be revolutionary, and for those opposed to change, not in a good way. Smart Contracts 101 The majority of contracts are paper based and filled in by hand or on a computer.
Managing strata rolls can be a great strategy to generate revenue and improve the value of your real estate business. Where a rent roll covers the leased apartments or homes you manage, your strata roll covers the management of entire apartment blocks, i.e. a Strata Plan. Your strata roll may include a mix of bijou buildings with only 12 units, medium size blocks and larger complexes with up to 200 apartments and car spaces. Managing a strata plan is a lot of work. The role includes organising garden maintenance, external cleaning and repairs in common areas.
With property values soaring (some Australian suburbs have risen by 50 percent in the last five years), many prospective homebuyers are finding themselves priced completely out of the market. Property has the potential to be an incredible financial stabiliser and is seen as a smart investment, however those who can’t get their foot in the door have no chance of joining the party. Or do they? A new ‘disruptor’ has recently been launched, which claims to put buyers on the ladder to home ownership with a starting price of just $100.
No matter what industry you are in, one of the secrets to running a profitable small business (i.e. real estate agency) is to have efficient systems and processes. By standardising the way you do things, you can allow your business to run without you and free up the time of your staff. Along with the importance of systems is the need for time-saving tools. Combine the right management software with the correct systems and you will reduce dozens of the pain points which can slow down your business.
In 1950s Australia, the message ‘Populate or Perish’ was received with gusto by Australian families, many of whom produced several children to boost the foundations of the nation. As we near the year 2020, this ‘Baby Boomer’ generation is reaching their twilight years. Their children are grown and have flown the nest, work is winding down and their housing needs are changing from spacious family blocks to practical apartments. Unlike previous generations, the Baby Boomers are not letting retirement slow them down.
When you own a real estate agency, your rent roll makes up a huge part of the value. You put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into building it up and maintaining it. Despite all the hard work which goes into building a rent roll, one of the threats it faces is from the people who come into contact with it every day. An example I came to hear about involved a disgruntled property manager defecting to the competition after a rent roll changed hands. Once they had established themselves at the new business, they began ringing landlords and convincing them to jump ship.
When you think of artificial intelligence you may picture robots and self driving cars. The reality is this technology is already all around us. Your bank, your voice assistant (Siri, Google, Alexa) and even your flight bookings are already managed through AI. Big data systems gather information each time you interact with them, relying on your purchasing habits and your requests and those of others to predict what your next move will be. Every industry is set to be disrupted by artificial intelligence, including real estate.
What if landlords and tenants were able to rate each other? In this new world of the sharing economy, leaving a rating is common. We do it for our Uber drivers and for our AIRbnb hosts. We leave reviews when we go out to eat, when we receive exceptional service or when we buy a shonky product. Rent sites like DontRentMe and Bad Landlord call out property owners who do constant drivebys or have unrealistic expectations. Reviews share horror stories of apartments “not fit for human habitation” and of “water pouring in through windows”.
The life of a property manager is not easy! Your daily task list is a mile long and you are fielding constant queries from both tenants and landlords. There are new clients to onboard and a stream of requests and repairs to attend to. When it comes to dealing with tenants, it can feel like a losing battle. Recent changes to tenancy laws in Victoria have fallen in the favour of renters, meaning there is a whole new raft of legislations to catch up with.
AirBnB is one of the world’s greatest disruptors, having shaken up the real estate, travel and hotel industries. The idea came from two San Francisco-based former schoolmates who were struggling to pay their rent. To make some extra money, the two offered an airbed in their living room to visiting conference delegates. ‘AirBedandBreakfast’ soon evolved into Airbnb and those young men never had to worry about paying rent again. But did they create a monster?
New wave technologies like artificial intelligence, cloud based software and ‘everything online’ transactions are changing the way we live our lives. For the real estate industry, this means lots of opportunities to do things better. However, it can also present a threat to businesses unwilling to adapt with the times.
A major tragedy in the UK this year saw 71 people perish in the Grenfell Tower apartment block fire. Because of this dreadful event, building safety standards have been under the microscope around the world. If you are a strata member or property manager, it is important to understand the responsibilities of a strata when it comes to multi-dwelling buildings. Fire safety in Australian buildings The fire in London prompted wide reviews of fire safety in Australia.
Nestled in the heart of Melbourne, a vertical community known as ‘The Commons’ is redefining the idea of apartment living. Several years ago, the developers behind The Commons had noticed how urban Melbourne was evolving from a village feel to streets of overpriced, sterile apartment blocks. Residents were crammed into tiny quarters designed with only the developers’ profit margins in mind. Despite living on top of other people, interaction was at a minimum. To counter this stark way of living, The Commons was created.
If you attend any marketing seminar, workshop or webinar you will hear the same message - to define your target audience, create a niche. Focus on delivering your message to this group and you will have success.
In the competitive world of real estate, there is often an approach of taking what you can get, however this doesn’t mean the rules of marketing don’t apply.
A new form of leasing agency is on the rise, proving to be a potential threat to the traditional model of managed properties. Known as leasing rights agencies, these can be found in large scale apartment complexes managed by companies like Meriton. With dozens or even hundreds of apartments, it makes sense to have a permanent on-site building manager, or even two or three. As well as looking after the building and grounds, these managers are able to act as leasing and selling agents. Because they are on site, they make it easy for owners and tenants to sign up.
Welcome to the digital age! Everything is changing, especially the way we work. Where once selling property involved a great deal of paper and lengthy phone conversations, it is now possible to have a house sold using digital apps and text messaging. Because communication has become easier and faster, it is now possible to delegate tasks to external providers which once were taken care of in-house. Outsourcing saves time and money. It means you are saved the cost of expenses including office space and superannuation.
Surprise surprise, running a real estate agency is hard work! Facing the challenge of this kind of business year after year can start to feel like all too much. Many agency owners who are approaching retirement age find themselves faced with a dilemma. They want to take a step back from the stress of being in charge but also don’t feel completely ready to give up working. When you’re in this situation, it can be easy to feel much of your identity is tied to your business.
Content marketing is a popular and highly effective strategy across many industries including real estate. By sending regular updates to your clients you are not only reminding them you exist, you are also offering them something of value. Or are you? It is pointless sending newsletters if they are not going to be read. And they won’t be read if they aren’t interesting and well put together. Here are some tips for creating a real estate newsletter your clients will be excited to read. Create relevant content Every homeowner is interested in local property prices.
How to transition out of your real estate business. Running a real estate agency is an exciting and fulfilling career, but there is no denying it takes a lot of hard work! Ask any real estate principal what their hobbies are and chances are they’ll laugh - who has time for play when you’re working six and sometimes even seven days a week? No matter what level of success you have achieved for your real estate business, there comes a moment when the time seems right to move on. When this is the case, selling is an option.
Nowadays, housing is about a lot more than housing. Of course everyone needs a roof over their head, but we also want to be close to work or at least near the public transport corridors which will get us there. Then there’s the matter of being near schools, parks, hospitals and recreational facilities. Everybody is seeking convenience as well as proximity to the outlets that matter to them. 21st century urban designers are responding to this demand by developing housing based on the idea of community and lifestyle as well as bricks and mortar.
Although economists point out how a diehard dependence might be prohibiting young buyers from getting the keys to their first home, coffee is a small luxury almost all of us enjoy on a daily basis.
BDH Solutions are based in Carlton, where the coffee scene is alive and thriving. Who would even consider walking into the office having not first made a pit stop at the likes of Heart Attack and Vine, Wide Open Road or Patricia’s for a caffeine hit?
How landlords can renovate for better returns. Many Australians see property investment as an express ticket to wealth and financial security, without taking into account the expenses they must incur along the way. As a property manager, it can be frustrating to be asked to find a tenant who will pay a premium, only to realise a home or apartment is in dire need of work. If you find yourself in this situation, it may be time for a talk with the the landlord about how to optimise the property.
“Of droughts and flooding rains…” our sunburned country has its fair share of extreme weather. Cyclones in the far north have decimated entire towns while those ‘flooding rains’ have a habit of making their way around the country. Damage to rental properties from events like storms, bushfires and high winds is all too commonplace. From your perspective as the managing agent, this can spell a major headache. It makes sense to be across the facts for when this type of issue occurs. Rules around property damage Specific tenancy laws do differ from state to state.
Your rent roll is only worth as much as the worst property you manage. There is a saying in business - it is 20 percent of your clients who take up 80 percent of your time. This also applies when you are managing a rent roll. No matter how many properties you have on your books, there are always a few which are wasting your time and money. The problems can be with the property themselves - constant leaks, faulty plumbing or poor structural foundations can turn a home into a money pit for both owner and agent.
In Australia, the standard rental agreement is for 12 months. Once this expires, most agencies and tenants continue on a month to month basis for so long as everyone is happy. This arrangement, however, works in a tenant’s favour as they can move out with only four week’s notice. As an agent managing a large rent roll, having a large proportion of tenants whose leases have expired is actually a destabilising factor due to the unpredictability of tenants. The benefits of a long term lease
ntegral to the success of any real estate agency is an ever-growing, good quality rent roll. The more properties you manage, the more contacts you have for potential buyers, sellers and investors. A strong rent roll also counts as an asset when it comes time to sell in the future. As a smaller agency looking to grow, you may find yourself faced with the decision of whether to build your rent roll from scratch or buy one ready to go.
Thanks to your rent roll, you are receiving commission for collecting rent and managing properties on behalf of your landlords. But if you are considering selling your rent roll, what would give it extra value? A poorly organised rent roll can impact your profits. By introducing online systems and initiating a better level of consistency, you will be able to eliminate stumbling blocks and leverage your rent roll for maximum results.
One of the pivotal roles in any rent roll is the property manager. Typically, the property manager role is relatively temporary, and seen as a fairly junior role. It is not uncommon for the receptionist to move into a property management role as they become familiar with the processes and system in place in the agency. It is also quite common for these employees to be younger and more ambitious – which means they are easily tempted into roles with better pay and more responsibility. To put it plainly – they are easily poached by other agencies.