Hello! A Blog about me, Antonio Mesiti

10/10/2019

A little blog about Me

I thought a proper introduction was well overdue. Considering I’m blogging about everything and anything related to Property Management I felt it was time that those reading know a little bit about me, my business and my experience in Property Management.

So here goes, and to keep me from boring you all I’ve enlisted my partner Nelson, to get this done Interview Style.

But first some facts for those of you that don’t know me;

  • I’m Antonio the Director and the Property Manager at The Management Agency
  • I’m 35 and first started in Property Management back in 2003
  • The Management Agency commenced trading in July 2018 after having taken long service leave at my past employer

Why is your Business called The Management Agency?

There are so many agencies out there and most offer Sales and Property Management services.

I wanted it to be clear that my agency is all about Management (Property Management) and in my case the Director is the Property Manager. It’s the Agency that’s just about managing investment properties and that’s what a Property Manager does.

What differentiates your agency from other Property Management Providers?

I offer a traditional Property Management Service but with a One on One approach, where the client’s Property Manager oversees everything from end to end. My clients don’t speak to my accounts department for account enquiries, Leasing team regarding the Leasing of a property or a Principal or Department Manager when they have issues.

They come to me and all of their questions are covered in one call, whether it’s about Leasing, Maintenance, Accounts or anything else, I’m across it because I run a smaller portfolio than most other agencies and know what’s happening at all times. It’s my job to be in the know.

“I use all the latest Tech available to me but my business isn’t just about that.

The Management Agency is more customer – centric focused than anything else.

People want access to tech but they still want service”

What made you leave full time employment to operate your own business?

My main motivation was the flexibility and level of responsibility that this role provides me. Unfortunately there’s only so far that your career can take you within an agency working for an employer in this field. In my experience Property Managers are, for the most part, undervalued until the moment they go to resign from an Agency. This and the pressure of the role contributes to the high turnover of staff in Property Management, it becomes quite detrimental to the overall working environment for those remaining. The loss of staff and therefore loss of knowledge has a flow on effect to clients and their properties where, for a time, everyone’s playing catch up. I have seen first hand the impact of this occurring many times over in my career.

What do you enjoy about Property Management?

Simply put, how my week is broken up into days where I’m either out on the road and days in the office, so no two days are the same and I’m never really confined to an office environment. I like to get out and about even though sometimes it feels like I’m on The Amazing Race.

I don’t think there are many jobs where you have the freedom to set your own week up and run it as you see fit, to be office bound but have the freedom to get up and get out as much as you like and when needed.

What do you NOT enjoy about Property Management?

At times, the uncertainty of the leasing process can be frustrating. You can price a property appropriately and although the feedback is positive, sometimes prospective tenants still don’t apply.

It is all part of the process and the only reason I don’t enjoy it, is my impatience in wanting to get properties occupied ASAP, securing the best possible applicants as I’m always striving for the best outcomes for my clients. Seeking as much feedback as possible though and taking it on board can help this process along but when you’ve done all the right things sometimes it’s a waiting a game to get the right person to turn up and fall in love with the property.

Why did you set up The Management Agency?

Initially to create a role that is flexible for me personally and professionally where I have the end say in how the business operates and with whom I work with.

Over the years, working within other Agencies, I found that staff (myself included) were always limited as to the time, effort and resources that they could devote to their clients and this along with other shortfalls results in Property Managers feeling as though they’re not servicing their clients effectively or to expectations. Unfortunately this does little for one’s confidence or job satisfaction.

It really made sense to operate a business where you’re addressing the concerns that clients have which are simply things like, the high turnover of Property Managers, dealing with multiple people and getting differing answers. Along with calls and emails not being returned, assurances not being met and the poor filtering of information to owners where there are multiple people involved in what can be the simplest of processes. I feel that The Management Agency eliminates all of these issues and grievances for both Landlords and Tenants.

So really, addressing these concerns and getting rid of limitations was behind my reasoning and more than one year in I’m seeing how this is benefiting my clients and am certain that I’ve made the right move.

What are you most Proud of?

Simply being a small business that’s doing well!

Where so many small businesses fail, which was a great fear of mine, I’m on track and kicking my goals ahead of my initial 3 year forecasts. I’m very proud of how far I’ve come in just over a year and that I’ve been able to learn so much in this time.

I’ve learned many aspects of operating a business that I had absolutely no knowledge of prior. So yes, I’m simply proud that I beat my fear of failure and have just put my head down and done whatever I have needed to do to get started and keep the business consistently moving forward.

What do you like to do in your down time?

A lot of nothing but lazing at home with my partner and our two cats. I mostly enjoy gardening which sometimes becomes more of a need to do than a want. At the moment spending a lot of time at home in the Southern Highlands where I do most of my admin work on the days when I’m not needed at the properties I manage.

Otherwise I love food, so cooking is huge for me and of course trying new cafes and restaurants as much as possible. I love to get out of Sydney and head into the country where my parent’s have a farm and really switch off, so at the end of a Saturday showing properties, you’ll catch me on the freeway.

Where do you see yourself in 5 Years?

I see myself still in this role with The Management Agency, however my goal is to obviously grow The Management Agency whilst retaining my core principles, business structure and ensuring the service my clients receive is the one they were promised regardless of whom it is servicing them from within the business.

I’m confident that I will require support as the business evolves but I do aim to always remain at the forefront of the business, meeting prospective tenants and clients and doing inspections. I just can’t be office bound all week long and believe a Property Manager must always be at the forefront and available to their clients.

Hopefully you’ve learned a little bit more about me. I think I’ve covered some good questions here but as always open to any questions you might have!

Thanks also to my very supportive partner!

Antonio

Property Management Volumes & Procrastination

4/4/2019

Speaking from experience I’ve always believed that these factors impact greatly on the service and delivery that clients and tenants experience within Property Management.

Maybe more broadly these are issues impacting so many other industries!

VOLUME:

I mean the number of properties that a Property Manager needs to have under their management in order for their position, and the business that they work within to be viable.

I was chatting with a tenant the other day and he was asking how business was going and how I was managing it, I said something along the lines of it going quite smoothly especially as I was now only managing just under 50 properties. They’re response was “ONLY!”, yes only. I’ve worked in offices managing up to 250 with minimal administration support.

Of course I want to slowly increase my portfolio but in a sustainable and manageable way and will max out at some stage where there’ll be a need for assistance. But get in while you can ;p

The numbers of properties that the majority of property managers have under their watch is simply too many. It’s already a mammoth task being organised enough to smoothly manage these figures but for so many property managers it can just take one situation occurring that sends everything else crashing down, and it’s the norm for unexpected situations to arise, Constantly.

Obviously, a business needs to be profitable but what do we see when volume is always running at its upper limits, we see Staff turnover, dissatisfied clients that go elsewhere and complaints. It also leaves no room for growth either.

As an investor, you really should find out how many properties your Property Manager has under their management, after all, what are you paying for when you can’t get a call or email response for 2-3 days.

What about the Staff turnover that this model creates, Property Managers burn out and when they do, they leave the industry or that particular office they take with them all of their knowledge about your property – information and knowledge that can’t be all included in a handover- where handovers are rare!

New recruits are not lining up to get into property management, let’s be honest, they either want to get into Real estate sales or stay away all together.

Procrastination:

2019 started off with a lot of online chatter about procrastination and how it really is the handbrake of progress and a real stressor to many people. We all do it, not just Property Managers but I’ve seen a lot of it in my time.

In Property Management I think much of the time, procrastination may just be a person that’s been non-stop busy, relishing whatever down time they can get and therefore just putting off tasks that are non-urgent. I can almost see the rational there but whatever that task is, it will continue to just get put off Until it becomes urgent and in property management- like many roles- we should be proactive instead of reactive.

Within Property Management though procrastinating a specific task turns a non-urgent issue into an urgent one quickly, simply because that proactive approach is needed.

Property Management is a stressful space and it’s deferring stress that leads to procrastination because we as humans worry about the short term.

Explained clearly in a New York Times article I recently read “Put simply; Dr. Pychyl and Dr. Sirois found that procrastination can be understood as “the primacy of short-term mood repair … over the longer-term pursuit of intended actions.” Put simply, procrastination is about being more focused on “the immediate urgency of managing negative moods” than getting on with the task, Dr. Sirois said.” A worthwhile read, the article can be found here.

Basically, a Good Property Manager needs to “Just do It” and get on with the tasks at hand.

So how do you know as a Landlord when choosing an agent, the service that you can expect:

-Ask.                     How many properties does your potential property manager look after? You need to know where you sit amongst a sea of properties and clients that they are managing.

-Observe.             How quick is the turnaround time for simple or even more involved enquiries and questions? If it’s slow, it doesn’t usually improve over time.

And Remember. The service that you receive is similar to that of which your tenant is going to experience, and we need tenants to be looked after!

What Clients Like about The Management Agency

31/1/2019

The Management Agency, in business terms is relatively new and small, though growing at a steady pace.

Feedback is invaluable, whether it be good or bad it’s a must to find out how you’re doing from your clients perspectives and many times the only way to find out, is to ask, welcome it and listen.

I recently spoke with a few of our clients recently and asked them what they’re liking so far;

It’s a Small Business

I run a small business and happily so, having worked in many agencies it means I’ve had to manage a large number of properties at the one time. In many agencies a single Property Manager can Manage up to 200 properties, so no wonder why it’s stressful and things get missed. With a significantly smaller pool of properties and engaging the most up to date and relevant software and programs it’s definitely all Manageable.

People like to shop small and it’ll stay small and limited to ensure that the service is always there and available for our clients.

Communicative & Responsive Service

With a small portfolio of properties, comes time. Having been used to an endless to do list, I’m enjoying the additional time to make sure I’ve covered all bases and am available when it suits my clients and tenants. There’s no confusion as to who to call and being the person on the front line, it’s up to me to have the answers or to seek them. People like to call or email me directly for the answers that they need regardless of the subject of their enquiry.

Ease of access to Information

I have had some great feedback on our Financial reporting, easy to understand and customisable to client’s preferences. All of my clients have different needs when it comes to how they want their reports and the software I’ve implemented makes that very simple.

Clients also like accessing previous statements, inspection reports and Invoices via their client access portal which also holds important information such as upcoming expiry and review dates, rental figures, forecasting and financial history.

Tenants also have 24/7 access to statements, receipts and correspondence.

All of our owners and tenants are issued access invitations at the time of signing

Our Welcoming Difference

Tenants have been most vocal about the difference in their experience with The Management Agency vs a traditional agency. They’ve found it very convenient that lease signings are carried out at the property, usually on their moving day and they get to view the property, sign the lease and take keys then and there and have any questions answered on the spot.

Tenants are grateful that they get to meet at their new home instead of an office as it’s much more convenient for them.

Direct Feedback

A further benefit of being on the front line is honest and real feedback from prospective tenants when showing properties for lease, post periodic inspections and passing that on, unfiltered, to all parties. Having a Property Manager meet prospective tenants and checking applications has helped to place the most suitable tenancies. Honesty and transparency with owners and tenants are always important but doing so, face to face at a property provides a further layer of clarity and understanding where the third party is limited to one person, Me.

Clients were very open in saying that having been referred from someone with first hand experience with the way in which I operate gave them confidence and then having met one on one they felt that the one on one approach and simplicity of the processes made complete sense.

 

It’s clear that we’re doing something right where various new clients have been referred by friends, family members, our tradespeople and even our tenants. They trust this advice and my priority is then to maintain service levels across the board and provide a uniform service, this has been crucial.

Somewhat surprising to me, and maybe to others, has been that tenants have actively referred property owners to The Management Agency, surprising because it goes against what many think, that Property Managers don’t “try” to, or, have good relationships with their tenants.

Word of mouth has such a positive touch to the beginning of a new relationship and it was always my goal to have a business that grows in this way.

Whilst I’ll always carry out some marketing and social media activity, I feel that’s more so to keep our followers in the loop and show people that The Management Agency is active, listening and trying to add value by sharing knowledge and advice regardless of their being a client or not.

2018 will always be the year I left the stability and certainty that working for a Real Estate office provides and swapped that for building and operating The Management Agency where it’s all about Property Management and being involved in all aspects of every transaction.

“It is very encouraging and motivating to be justified in my belief that the Property Management space had a need for what The Management Agency is offering”

Whilst being a relatively new business, my personal 15 years of Real Estate industry experience has really paved the way for me to have my role as Property Manager down pat with several tweaks made to suit The Management Agency’s objectives and being a Director has really just meant I’m much more invested in outcomes and client satisfaction, it also does a lot for one’s motivation.

2019 has geared up quickly, with new properties coming onto the market, new tenants moving into their new homes and plenty of interest from investors wanting to know more about The Management Agency.,

I look forward, to 2019 being a year of growth, continued learning, evolving and implementation.

Whilst I am confident that The Management Agency will grow, it will be sustainably, organic and never to the detriment of our clients and the service that they signed up for!

The Management Agency is nimble but we have the time, resources but most importantly the ability and willingness.

2019, The Year to Just do it or Just Don’t

11/1/2019

Many years ago I worked with a large and well known commercial real estate firm.

Three weeks in i had decided it just wasn’t for me and not one to leave things in the air I resigned that day when all of the staff were out of the office and the receptionist was ordered to walk me off the premises. She didn’t though and we spent a few hours chatting.

One of many stories I’ve gathered in my years in Property Management.

So only a few months ago when a client with residential properties that I manage for them threw me the keys of their vacant office suites and asked if I’d try to lease them, I was so very tempted to say no and could have easily. I thought it was beyond me and the thought of not being able to deliver for them was always at the forefront of my mind.

I was completely honest in telling them that I had no idea what I was doing but they still insisted that I give it a go and use their property for experience.

Absolute dream clients, I don’t know if I’d be as trusting or generous!

But armed with some sage advice from friends in the industry, a great advertising budget and several inspections it is now leased and being managed by me.

Despite my initial hesitation I am really happy that my clients are thrilled with the result, Ultimately I really wanted to get it occupied for them and to be able to continue working with these clients. They maintain that they gave me the opportunity because if I translated the effort I put in with Residential that i’d get a quick result, i’ll always suspect that they did it to help my very new business get off the ground. What a good learning experience though.

The point though is that once I’ve decided it was happening it all happened and fast.

This experience I think comes from my working motto “just do it” (unfortunately shared with Nike). For years the words just do it was plastered to my computer screen but simply put my motto is to not procrastinate and just get on with the job. It’s really helpful to rip the band aid though and “Just do It” when you have to make a tough phone call and have the less than ideal conversation.

Just doing it though, combined with my email Inbox O.C.D comes across to my clients as good customer service and that’s good enough for me.

Working this way can get you through volumes of tasks quickly and that’s very important in property management, so 2019 more than ever will be a year of not procrastinating and just getting on with the job at hand.

Not a resolution, but a renewed push to JUST DO IT when you decide to do something.

At the other end of the spectrum, saying No to things that don’t make you happy, are not rewarding or worthwhile is a whole other topic and one I feel strongly about as well. Maybe needs it’s own blog entry as more people could be helped by just saying no from time to time.

Oh and Happy New Year!

Feels like that short break never happened already 🙂

Antonio

Established in Winter with remarkable growth and results

28/8/2018
The Management Agency springs to life in Winter!
Cold and dry pretty much sums up this past winter with colder days then ever before and little of that much needed rain. Throughout this season though I’ve felt that The Management Agency has already grown and hit some major goals.
Winter saw inner Sydney vacancy rates rising by 0.4% to 2.8% while outer Sydney areas experienced even higher vacancy rates.
In the Industry there’s been nothing but talk amongst Property Managers of reduced enquiry levels, open home inspections with no prospective tenants turning up and agencies doing up to 40 open homes of a weekend! I’m sure some have fared worse.
Here at The Management Agency and just two months since having established we’ve had little share of the vacancy but tough times have a way of making agents more resourceful. Well speaking for ourselves anyway.
I find I’ve been more inclined to go that extra step to securing tenants, Inspections outside of working hours and additional inspections outside of normal open home times.
Updating our owners as the inspection finishes and much to the surprise of other agents – my calls to them seeking advise on pricing, advertising and seeing how they’re travelling. Nothing wrong with some networking surely.
Some of our properties have still managed to lease on their first showing having been updated and presenting nicely along with being competitively and realistically priced from the outset. Most valuable to me has been meeting prospective tenants first hand and getting some great feedback about what they’re seeing in the Sydney rental market. It’s been an ongoing education and invaluable meeting future tenants first hand for myself.
Tenants have by far been inspecting more properties on a Saturday than most agents would be and they seem genuinely happy that they their fair pick of properties.
So it’s been a busy winter really ensuring that all bases have been covered in leasing and managing properties that are new to The Management Agency.
We’ve listed properties from new investors, enjoyed some great referral business and taken over managements from other agencies. We’ve therefore been busy inspecting them all and ensuring our new clients are seeing a difference for themselves.
The Management Agency is growing organically and at a great pace, so far the feedback from our tenants and owners has been nothing but encouraging.
I am very excited to see what Spring holds for us, no doubt some new challenges and projects and as always an interesting rental market.

Research suggests Private Rental Growth is not all positive

3/8/2018

With an Increase in Private Rentals, why employ or rent via a Property Manager?

According to a recent report carried out by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute the private rental sector between 2006 to 2016 has grown by 38%, meaning that more than 2 million Australian households are rented/managed privately.

It is predicted that this rapid growth is set to continue with the increasing number of Owners and Tenants using online platforms to either secure tenants or to rent a property. Portals such as Facebook are making it easier for people to line up these informal arrangements.

The report also finds that this is having an effect on the market by inflating prices on the “room rental market” where the private rental market was traditionally seen as a more affordable option.

Owners and Tenants should be aware that these portals and apps do not do a lot for the protection of user’s rights as they appear to be, for the most part unregulated.

Real Estate Agents are bound by the Residential Tenancies Act that sets out regulatory protection for all parties involved, whereas the alternatives such as Rental Bidding App’s allow for increased competition in the Private rental market which leads to people being priced out of the market.

So why should Owners and Tenants use a Property Manager?

Tenants:

  • You have a legally binding Tenancy Agreement governed by the Residential Tenancies Act in place providing you protection of your rights
  • You are issued with a condition report documenting the state of the property you are moving into and are given an opportunity to document any discrepancies
  • Your rental payment history is recorded with receipts and ledgers
  • Ensures that your bond monies are appropriately lodged and safe guarded
  • Be issued with a rental reference at the end of your tenancy from a reputable agency which will come in handy down the track and particularly when looking for a new home as a reference from an agent carries more weight than one from a private landlord
  • Ensure that you have avenues to have urgent repairs dealt with and that any other issues are addressed promptly, professionally and in accordance with the Tenancies Act

Owners:

  • You have a legally binding Lease Agreement governed by the Residential Tenancies Act in place providing you with protection of your rights and awareness of your responsibilities
  • Your properties condition is thoroughly documented before, during and at the end of each tenancy
  • Your financials are recorded, documented and reported therefore making financial tracking and end of financial year tax assessments seamless
  • An agent ensures that you are compliant in all of your obligations under the Tenancies Act and further ensures that the tenant is fulfilling their responsibilities – An agent should be educating their Owners and Tenants as to their respective obligations
  • Outsourcing the day to day management to a Property Manager eliminates lost time and much stress to Owners

There is much more involved in the renting process beyond these points listed and a lot of what Property Managers do cannot all be listed here.

Regulations are constantly reviewed and changes are regularly implemented. A licensed and experienced property manager is required to keep up to date with all ongoing changes to legislation.

A Private Owner, or Tenant for that matter, can find this all difficult to navigate and in unregulated territory Owners and Tenants do leave themselves vulnerable.

 

I suspect that in the Private rental market, a lot of what is Best Practice to most Property Managers’ may be missing. Having a Property Manager in place ensures that Owners and Tenants clearly know where they stand and acts as a mutual point of contact for all parties.

For Owners and Tenants there is a lot of risk and uncertainty  that is eliminated when you employ a Property Manager, well a good one!

Does your Property Manager know it all?

9/7/2018

If you called your property manager to ask a question, would they have the answer on hand?

Well we can’t know it all really, but at the same time, it’s kind of our “angle”.

I’m sure I’ve written about this on the website but I feel it’s an important advantage that The Management Agency offers.

How many other agencies can say that it all starts and ends with one person and that this person has to know it all, know the tenants, know the landlords and is across all communication.

So, what do I know that can make a real difference to both owners and tenants.

-Who’s paid rent and who hasn’t

-What’s pending and what’s completed

-Who viewed what property

-Who’s moving in and out

-Status on repairs, financials

There’s no confusion as to who to call, no being passed around or passing blame.

Of course, on a small scale this is achievable but I’ve named the business as an Agency as who knows what the future holds – I’ll always plan ahead and keep the scales firmly balanced in our client’s favour.