Axons Unleashed S2 E7: Eliminating The Number One Property Investing Fear!

Welcome back to another episode of Axons Unleashed!

What’s the biggest fear most people have when they dive into property investing? In our person experience, it’s finding a tenant ASAP after the build is completed. Not just any tenant, the right tenant! How does Axon alleviate that fear? By having a very close and awesome relationship with a top gun property management firm! 

In this episode, you’ll meet the delightful Angela Paradise, National Relationship Manager, Little Real Estate. Hear how Angie attending a WAGs lunch and Robbie’s “best steak sandwich ever” led to Angie becoming an essential part of the wider Axon family. 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Episode Transcription:

Speaker 1:
Axons Unleashed.

Robbie:
Morning everyone. My name’s Robbie. I’m here with Tamara, I’ve got Dan, we’ve got a very, very special guest in our office, Angie from Little Real Estate. How are you this morning?

Tamara:
Good morning.

Angie:
Hey, hey.

Robbie:
You’re a little bit nervous, aren’t you?

Angie:
Yeah, so nervous.

Dan:
I was going to say, that’s the quietest I’ve ever heard Angie say hi. Hi.

Angie:
Hey, friends.

Dan:
There we go. She’s coming out now, so that’s all good.

Robbie:
I’m really looking forward to today’s podcast because Dan, you would agree, the hundreds of clients we’ve couched over the last couple of years [inaudible 00:00:41], and I by the way, our business model revolves around reducing the risk and maximizing the cashflow, so you need to go through the build of a property, not just buy an established one. And by far, mate, what’s the biggest objection we get from everybody when they do that?

Dan:
Ah, but what if I can’t find a tenant at the end?

Robbie:
Correct.

Dan:
And they’re just shitting themselves, going, but then no ones paying of it. Then I’ve got to be paying for the property the entire time down the track. And I mean, it’s a very, very valid fear and it’s probably one of the reasons why people often come to us and they’re like, I could go and get DHA to look after my property for me.

Robbie:
Now that’s what they say, ah, build, okay, do you use DHA? I’m like, no. No, that’s not how it works. But sorry, mate, keep going.

Dan:
Yeah, because for those of you who are out there, DHA gives you that guaranteed rental return. And people are like, well that sounds amazing. Until they realize how much they have to pay for that guarantee. So it’s there and it gives people peace of mind, but you’re paying for that peace of mind as well.

Tamara:
Crunching the numbers to balance out that guarantee I guess is something that people have to do. And it’s, we’re not bagging out DHA.

Dan:
Absolutely not. It’s got its place and it’s got its reason for being there, as I said about it, it gives everyone that great peace of mind as well that use them. But I mean, I tell you what [crosstalk 00:01:53]-

Tamara:
Very different strategy.

Dan:
It is a different strategy and I tell you what, there’s ways and means that you can overcome those fears and those risks without having to pay through the back pocket for it as well.

Tamara:
Absolutely.

Robbie:
So I guess, for those that are sort of listening to us for the first time, we do have a dedicated project management team in place whereby, and certainly Angie we’ll talk through your process shortly, but just as a summary, we introduce the rental manager or the property manager, I sort of use those terms interchangeably, so I apologize for that, sort of the same there.

Tamara:
Is that standard? Is that [crosstalk 00:02:19]-

Angie:
Same, same.

Robbie:
Property manager, rental manager, yip.

Angie:
Yip.

Robbie:
So we sort of introduce those people about half way through the build and then there’s some really sort of military style, concurrent activity and sort of smart planning that goes on towards the back end of the build. So we had about 100 properties or so come to market throughout the whole of 2020 and I think it’s on average about 6.8 to 7 days from key hand over to tenant being found, that’s all the way through COVID and that’s with properties in Melbourne, that’s in properties in Newcastle and properties in South East Queensland. So we’re really, really proud of that fact and then it just goes back to my first point, if you’re shitting yourself about being able to find a tenant at the end of your brand new property, which is now fully protected by all the structural warranties and the guarantees, just the brand new nature of having a property there, and you can find a tenant within seven days, that objection doesn’t exist anymore.

Tamara:
And that’s not normal in the industry, is it?

Robbie:
No, it’s like… Well, Angie, come and join us in the podcast. Enter Angie Paradise from Little Real Estate. So just on that point quickly, just sort of lets address that. And I know it’s suburb by suburb, but generally in your experience, how many weeks after key hand over does it take to find a tenant?

Angie:
Well, the standard can be probably two to four weeks. However, Axon are really proactive. So you introduce your clients to Little Real Estate early, we arrange for everything to sort of be sorted even before handover. So we arrange professional photos usually a week before the handover, we market the property in advance and then we start sourcing tenants.

Robbie:
So good. We’ll certainly get into sort of the nuts and bolts about how that all works. But Little Real Estate, tell us about your sort of background, how long have you’ve been working there, tell us how did you get involved in the property management game, et cetera?

Angie:
Well when Robbie, you and I first met, I was actually part of The Wags for a lunch.

Tamara:
Go The Wags.

Robbie:
So you’re husband is who?

Angie:
So Luke Paradise.

Robbie:
Luke works for one of our sort of chosen builders. They’ve built one of your properties Dan, which is pretty cool.

Angie:
So we’ve been together we were 15.

Robbie:
Oh my God. What a [crosstalk 00:04:25]-

Dan:
High school sweethearts.

Robbie:
Everyone that’s listening to that just went, aah, the same way we did. How old are you now?

Angie:
33.

Robbie:
Right. People will think you still look 15 when they watch the YouTube clip. You’re holding your age very well. And look, to be fair, just as a quick part of introducing as well, you were one of the very few people that joined Dan and I on just recently finishing the 75 Hard program.

Angie:
Yes.

Robbie:
In fact, you were one day in front of me. You listened to me [inaudible 00:04:46] on a Friday, you started it on a Saturday, I started it the next day, so that’s pretty cool.

Angie:
That was amazing. What [crosstalk 00:04:51]-

Robbie:
Tell us about that quickly because we had breakfast beforehand and you saw me eat a big bloody fat cheesy breakfast burger.

Angie:
Oh my God, so good seeing the both of you actually.

Dan:
He’s definitely not on 75 Hard anymore, ladies and gents.

Robbie:
I’m one month post and Dan’s like, jeez, you went back to the way were very quickly.

Dan:
Oh.

Angie:
No, you are both looking fit.

Dan:
We’re very supportive in our office, aren’t we?

Tamara:
Oh my God.

Angie:
I was sitting between the two of you and you’re [crosstalk 00:05:13]-

Robbie:
So you’re one of only three other ladies, yourself, Christine down in Melbourne and another lady, Misty, Missy, or something.

Angie:
Yes.

Robbie:
On our Facebook page. So give us a couple of insights into what you learned about yourself during that 75 days?

Angie:
I think I really learnt that there was no way, and we’ve talked about not letting each other down, so it was a really good experience for myself but it was also a really good experience to do it together. So the moment that I committed and having everyone in that group that we joined and encouraging each other and just how [crosstalk 00:05:50]-

Tamara:
Accountability.

Angie:
… important it is. Yeah, the accountability.

Robbie:
And you took your photos then, you took a photo of day one and then there was day 7 and there was day 14.

Angie:
Yeah. That was really confronting, oh my goodness.

Robbie:
But halfway through it you’re like, fuck yeah, I’m going to put a photo up of myself. Boom. Look at this, I’m rocking it.

Angie:
Yeah, loving it. Smashing the water.

Robbie:
It was good.

Dan:
I remember speaking to you about it about a week in, Ang, and you’re like, no, I’m not really telling people that I’m doing this. And you were doing it just very much flying under the radar and I think it was about a week later you were like, you know what? I’m killing it here. I need to get this out there and I need to show people all the big changes that are happening in your life. Because you felt, I suppose, a lot of really great health benefits across the spectrum of your life, not just like, oh, I’ve been out there and exercising, now I look really lean, mean and buff. It clears your mind and it has so many other effects, right?

Angie:
Yeah, they were just the side effects.

Tamara:
For those who don’t know what we’re talking about, we have done another podcast about that with Robbie and Dan talking about there’s two 45 minute workouts a day, one’s outside, you have to do some reading, you have to do four liters of water, there’s so many elements to it. What do you think was the hardest one for you?

Angie:
Not having the sweets.

Robbie:
Clean eating.

Angie:
For sure, absolutely. No, I would actually say the reading. So I love reading but I was leaving it to the last minute, so it would get to 10 o’clock and I’ve done my second workout and then go, oh my God, I’ve got to read. And so Luke would be snoring next to me and I’d be trying to read my 10 pages and then falling asleep.

Dan:
And the eyelids are drooping, you’re like, oh, what did I read on that last page? You read page six four times over, trying to remember [crosstalk 00:07:22]-

Robbie:
I was guilty of that. When I do it again I am not doing my reading just before I go to sleep [crosstalk 00:07:25]-

Angie:
Lunch time.

Robbie:
… that’s a fucking dumb idea.

Angie:
Absolutely.

Robbie:
Good on you mate. You should be really, really proud of yourself. You’re part of a very select few that have even completed it, let alone the select few that want to even start it.

Angie:
Thanks to you guys.

Robbie:
So it does show an element of commitment and professionalism in your own personal and sort of work life now and I know you love being part of the Axon family, which is pretty cool.

Angie:
Absolutely.

Robbie:
So we were having a boozy lunch [crosstalk 00:07:54]-

Angie:
Yeah, we were.

Robbie:
… with your husband and the owner of that firm as well, the man, the myth, the legend, Mr. Joel Davis and I’m like, so what do you actually do, Ang? What did you say?

Angie:
So I talked to you about working at Little Real Estate and then we literally booked in a lunch the next week.

Robbie:
I was like, really? So you do rental and property management? You’re like, yeah, I’ve been doing it for how many years?

Angie:
Well, I’ve been doing it for 15, over 15 years and I’ve been at Little Real Estate for over 5. So we booked in a lunch and [crosstalk 00:08:24]-

Robbie:
See, it’s really important that I sit down and actually have a lunch with people after I’m on a boozy lunch because then I remember what the fuck we spoke about.

Dan:
I was going to say [crosstalk 00:08:29]-

Angie:
I’m usually sober too, so I know all the [crosstalk 00:08:32]-

Robbie:
You do.

Dan:
Angie’s got that.

Angie:
You said.

Dan:
It’s like information asymmetry because Ang remembers everything that’s happened and you’re like, no, no, you promised me this already Robbie. It’s a really smart play to make, mate.

Robbie:
It is.

Angie:
That’s probably why Luke and I have lasted for so long. I’m the driver, he loves it.

Dan:
You’re feeding him secrets [crosstalk 00:08:47], they said this about you.

Robbie:
Do you remember when you said that? Then I’m like, that was drunk Robbie. This is sober Robbie you’ve got now.

Dan:
They’re two different people, ladies and gents. I’m starting to pick up a trend though, mate, that you can’t do any business without a meal involved.

Robbie:
Generally. Why not? And maybe a drink or an orange juice or something. The social [crosstalk 00:09:06]-

Dan:
The social lubricant keeps you going [crosstalk 00:09:08]-

Robbie:
… lubricant. Thank you.

Dan:
…from that perspective, so that’s all good.

Robbie:
So we went and sat down. So what’s your role? Who are you in sort of Little Real Estate, just so people can get a feel for that?

Angie:
So I’m relationship executive. So prior to that I started in real estate when I was about 16, 17, started as a receptionist and then worked my way up. So sort of worked in all the different parts of the real estate sector.

Robbie:
How does that make you feel now being a relationship executive? I mean, we had a chat on Friday in preparation for this. I introduced you, you’re the regional manager. In broad terms that’s pretty much what you do, you’re the person?

Angie:
It’s a national role, so it’s dealing with companies like Axon all across Australia. So they may be located in different areas but we look after mainly Vic, Queensland and Newsouth Wales properties.

Robbie:
Awesome. Perfect.

Angie:
So the main part of my role is making sure everyone’s happy. So once Axon’s, for example, introduced me to a client I actually always personally contact that client first. So really important that I talk to them about the whole process, find out exactly whether it’s their first investment property or they’re a multi client, talk to them, answer all their questions and then I introduce them to the BDM, so the business development manager. So prior to this role I was actually on the ground as a BDM, working with the builders, doing the handovers, so really important role.

Angie:
What the business development managers then do, they’re the ones that actually walk the clients through the whole process, they provide them with the management agreement that like I said before, we’re really proactive with Axon clients in arranging for them to be signed in the early stages so it’s a really smooth process at handover. But where the two roles work really closely together is the client with myself will always have may contact details. So even if it’s three years down the track and they need help with something or something needs fixing, I’m always there to help them.

Dan:
The thing that blows me away, you must get introduced to hundreds of people per year and somehow you still manage to find the time to pick up the phone individually for every single one of those people and go, hi, my name is Angie, I’m going to guide you through this and my contact details are available to you forever.

Angie:
Absolutely. So important.

Tamara:
I absolutely love that you’re taking that proactive role to make sure those spot fires are kind of fixed and that’s something that’s really important because when we talk about our process, if it goes totally smooth through the whole build, through all of our process, through the coaching, everything and then the have a bad experience on the end, that has such a ripple effect throughout our whole business. We’re relying on our key suppliers and partners for the whole process and if someone lets that chain link down then it can all have a ripple effect on everyone. So you making sure on behalf of Little that they are always looked after obviously has a ripple effect on us as well.

Robbie:
When we were talking last week in preparation for this, because I knew when we first started you’re like, look Robbie, give them my details, I’ll do the initial call. I’m doing a very bad rendition of you right now.

Dan:
You don’t even sound like a lady.

Robbie:
Yeah.

Tamara:
It’s better than his rendition of me. [inaudible 00:12:35], Robbie.

Robbie:
And this is a few years ago with a few hundred clients now under our belt that you’ve all taken care of, I’m like, do you still do that? You’re like, absolutely, I do. I was like, shit, I’m so glad that you as the sort of strategic relationship executive for Little Real Estate do take that care to sort of reach out to some of our Axon clients. It made me feel really, really cool.

Tamara:
It makes all the difference when you do have those connection points with the clients. We talk about that in even our project management roles and having those touch points with our clients and making sure you have that relationship because relationships are everything.

Angie:
Absolutely.

Dan:
So Ang, one of my favorite questions is, I suppose I’ll throw it to you, first meeting, first business meeting that you’ve had with Robbie, you’ve sat down, can you sort of just walk us through what your first impressions were and just sort of how you remember that meeting going?

Robbie:
Not of me, of Axon.

Angie:
Well, of you, you said it was the best steak sandwich you’ve ever had.

Robbie:
It was bloody good actually.

Dan:
That’s pretty high praise coming from him.

Tamara:
Go on.

Angie:
I just loved how at the start you were talking about the clients, so there was a couple that you were looking to introduce me to, so you really wanted to test the waters. You weren’t about to dive deep into something that you weren’t aware whether it was going to be great or not. So really wanted to test it with the different suburbs. So we started talking as though it was huge scale. So at the time, even though it was a couple, we were preparing for the couple of hundred. So I think we set the tone at the start and we wanted to make sure that the clients at the start received the exact experience as the clients a couple of hundred down.

Dan:
So it had to be like a real scalable experience. You know what I mean?

Angie:
Absolutley.

Dan:
That’s what Robbie was talking about, ah, you still call those people. Even at those early stages you were signing up for the fact that you might be calling 300 clients for Axon in a year.

Angie:
Yes. Absolutely.

Dan:
Wow.

Tamara:
Nice.

Robbie:
It’s good, isn’t it?

Angie:
So it was really cool.

Dan:
That’s a bit of foresight though, starting to plan into the future even though there’s only one or two there, the creation of the systems that allows you to be able to do those. Phenomenal.

Robbie:
I remember on of the first things I did, do you guys have an office down in Melbourne? You like, yeah, of course I do. I said, what about Western Melbourne? You’re like, yeah, I do. I’m like, Point Cook? You said, yeah, we do. I’m like, fuck, this is working out all right. So I gave you the management rights of our property, Tamara, down in Point Cook there, because as everybody knows from a skid in the game principle, when you become part of my networks, so I like to test the waters first. I prefer that I be the guinea pig and I work out what it’s like personally before I come to work now, put our professional hats on, have an exchange like this. Obviously Tamara and I are running our own multi million dollar portfolio for our own future selves external to work. I’m like, well, if it’s going to work for somebody, I’d rather be that guinea pig and sort of see how it goes. So fast forward a few weeks and straight away I got a call from the team down there, et cetera, et cetera. So it just went really well from my perspective and I’m like, all right, lets now sort of start to drip feed it into the Axon clients as well.

Angie:
Yeah, a really smooth process too. So it’s been really good.

Robbie:
And of course this is a quick extra little bit of introduction, you’ve joined us for one of our Facebook Lives [crosstalk 00:15:38]-

Angie:
Oh my goodness, yes.

Robbie:
… and that’s an even more daunting experience when you’re standing up in front of camera [crosstalk 00:15:42]-

Angie:
Four years ago.

Robbie:
… with a big bloody light’s, camera, action staring you in the face.

Tamara:
At least with this we can edit. If things turn to shit, we can cut you out.

Dan:
Tammy, don’t give that away because they are [crosstalk 00:15:52]-

Robbie:
We’ve never had to.

Dan:
Yeah, because Angie asked, she’s like, can we edit this stuff? And we told her at breakfast, no. You’re not allowed to edit that out.

Robbie:
What I said was, we can, but it’s never happened, so you don’t be the first.

Tamara:
But with the Facebook Live it’s raw, it’s real, it’s got people actually sitting behind a computer and watching live and commenting and giving you feedback straight away.

Angie:
And I remember you, Robbie, at the start. So I actually watched it a couple of days ago because it was recorded in 2018 and at the start it’s just a blank screen and you can all hear us chattering in the background. And then when you introduced me Robbie, you’re like, oh, jog it in, jog it in mate.

Robbie:
Come over mate, lets go. We were such fucking amateurs back then. We made do. For people that didn’t know, we had stuff on the top of a Breville bloody coffee box and it was like, people would literally lean to you just trying to make it all work. The set up that we’ve got now is 1000 times more professional than that. But you know what? We made do back in the day, didn’t we mate?

Dan:
It worked.

Tamara:
We’ve even said that about recent, looking through our Instagram recently and the difference now that we have our amazing Daniel, the videographer, joining us. But I scrolled back through our Instagram and there’s Robbie and Dan on sight and the video starts with their feet in the profile. So the box, the tile that’s on our Instagram is a picture of their feet and I’m like, what is this video?

Angie:
Different clientele for that.

Dan:
It’s good news, Dan was wearing shoes that day.

Robbie:
Yeah, for a change.

Tamara:
Well, that is true.

Dan:
And we were out on [crosstalk 00:17:21]-

Robbie:
And to be fair, that’s a fair point to sort of explore. You’ve been with us. We only started in 2017, in 2018 we had that lunch, so it was very soon after. Sorry, 2018 we had that event. So it would have been later in 2017 that we sort of had that lunch. You’ve seen us grow, you’ve seen the journey and you work with dozen and dozens of other groups like this. I’d love to just hear, sorry, question without notice, what’s your impression of who Axon is, what we do, how we serve our clients and without naming any names, how would you sort of compare us with most other groups in the industry?

Angie:
I think the biggest thing is that you genuinely care. So when you introduce a client you’ve already had the discussion with them, they have the peace of mind that everything’s running smoothly. The fact that you have a build support team is incredible because usually when I’m talking to a client it’s the first time that they’re sort of discussing property management and they’re a little bit nervous, whereas your clients already have been completely prepared for that. Definitely the fun and that’s a huge thing. Also, the product, so the properties. It’s amazing how quickly the properties tenant and there’s a few factors in that. So we always use professional photos, like I said before, we market earlier, but the actual product is quality. So they really appeal to perspective tenants. So it makes our job a lot easier when the properties are actually in great locations, great properties. It’s a huge reflection on you.

Robbie:
So you’ve got yourself as sort of the strategic person, Warren, who’s the BDM operator at the operational level and then you’ve got the tactical level, I’m sort of speaking in military style here for our listeners, at the tactical level there’s the property managers who’s out there at the day to day. You said you’ve had some feedback from them that have now gone. The perspective tenants that walk through the house for the very first time, they’re seeing the property, they make comments off the cuff as well, so some of those get passed up your way. What do they say?

Angie:
All the extra things that the properties often have, so there’s often ducted air conditioning, there’s higher ceilings, the quality, people feel like they own it themselves when they’re actually [crosstalk 00:19:30]-

Robbie:
Timberwood flooring, pendant lights over the top, high quality bathrooms, [crosstalk 00:19:34]-

Angie:
It makes a huge difference.

Robbie:
… just those little things. It’s something that you and I, Dan, have really focused on and making sure the property specialists are like, don’t just make this another cookie cutter investment property, make it a proper one and certainly your husband works for building firm, who’s a owner occupied builder [crosstalk 00:19:50]-

Angie:
Correct.

Robbie:
… and we’re the only group they build investment properties for. I know other people are jealous of that, but that’s just too fucking bad, because I know your husband and his boss as well and I know [crosstalk 00:20:00]-

Tamara:
When you are creating that property that is more than just an investment property sort of standard you’re creating homes for people, [crosstalk 00:20:09]-

Angie:
That’s exactly right.

Tamara:
… this is the places that they want to stay in for a long time. They don’t want to move out of there. You want long term tenants, you want people that are going to treat it like their home and they’re going to love it and love living there, love the facilities around them, love the community and just you’re setting them up to be in a home, not just renting a house.

Angie:
That’s so true. Even just the relationships that we have with our owners and tenants, it’s huge. It’s so important that we’ve got those good relationships and some agencies will only focus sort of owner, whereas we really focus on the tenants as well because they’re the main part of the business. We want to make sure that our tenants are happy, they [crosstalk 00:20:54]-

Dan:
Because if they’re not happy, who’s going to live in the houses? Who’s going to pay the mortgage? And at the end of the day, having your property tenanted is one of the key things that you need to be able to do, be able to hold that property in the market for the long term because if someone’s not paying the mortgage it won’t be long before you can’t actually hold that property on the market.

Tamara:
And you want them proud of that home because then they’re going to keep the lawns nice, they’re going to keep the gardens nice, they’re going to go above and beyond and let you know when there are little maintenance things that needs doing rather than leaving it until it’s a huge problem and a huge cost, they’re already taking that pride or they’re even fixing things in their home themselves, if a screw comes out they’re giving in their own and fixing it, not leaving things to rust or get damaged because they care about living there, they want to stay there.

Robbie:
It’s a very thankless job. In the other firm that I used to work for, they’re like, oh, lets start our own rental management agency because having a listing is a [inaudible 00:21:53] and something which is highly valuable. And we saw it, didn’t we Tamara? The girls were literally on the road driving from the north part of Brisbane out to other areas of South East Queensland and they were literally on the road eight hours a day just to drive out and then I’m like, it’s [crosstalk 00:22:07]-

Tamara:
And then their admin was not getting done, [crosstalk 00:22:08]-

Robbie:
… kept them out of the office.

Tamara:
… all their paperwork was all behind because they were just on the road all the time.

Robbie:
So many people have said to me at the highest level business groups, they’re like, so when are you going to start your own? If you’ve got hundreds of properties that you’ve now built for your clients, when are you going to start your own property management? You know it’s worth a lot of money, Robbie. I’m like, it’s just not something I want to do. It’s a highly specialized job and a very important one, the middle man that you just spoke about before between the owner and the tenant [crosstalk 00:22:33]-

Angie:
You’re the mediator.

Robbie:
… it’s just not something I want to do. I’d rather hand it over to a bloody professional. Just you keep doing what you’re doing and we’ll just do what we do.

Angie:
Well, Andy, our CEO, recently said that property management has never been so hard but so important.

Dan:
Agreed.

Angie:
It’s huge.

Dan:
I mean, it’s one of those things as well, when you’re a property manager out there on the ground providing that liaison, you’re trying to balance your two master because you want your tenants to be well and truly looked after, and you have to represent their responsibilities and their rights with the landlord and it’s vice versa. So I can’t think of a more challenging job to be continually, all day long, being pulled from pillar to post, because ladies and gents, if you’re trying to bloody go and look after your own property out there and be your own property manager, it’s not just about you getting the checks in the mail each week and you cash in that check, it’s about you actually looking after people that are living in your investment property.

Robbie:
Get dragged into the vortex as I call it, of being that person.

Tamara:
Why would you want to do it yourself?

Angie:
Legislation is huge too.

Robbie:
Because people are trying to save a buck.

Dan:
Well, tell us about… Let’s dive into that I suppose, because it’s one of those things that does pop up occasionally and it’s like, hey, would you recommend I go and do the property management of a property myself? What do you reckon, Ang, would be the top three, four, five things that people are mistakenly believing, I can do this, versus what you actually need to do as a rental manager?

Angie:
So the legislation is one of the top. I think you were talking before about insurance and the importance of making sure that everything is carried out appropriately. So we make sure that when we carry out routine inspections they’re carried out often and with photos and fully detailed report. When we first have a property, and the great thing about your property is they’re generally brand new and really clean, so we would carry out the entry condition report and it really sort of sets it up for what we expect for the tenants to then look after the property. So collecting the rent, making sure that the appropriate notices or breeches are sent if required. So having absolutely everything on record, having it so that if we ever were to need to use any of the information that it’s all been done.

Robbie:
One of the greatest things I love about it, at the end of the financial year you just send me a ledger, here’s all the money in, here’s all the money out, there’s the bottom line, give it to your accountant and here’s all the receipts that go with it.

Angie:
Yes.

Robbie:
So it’s just so easy. As I’m just thinking about it now, I know one of our guys recently is like, and be there and I’m going to self manage the property. I’m like, you fucking idiot. Why would you do that? But anyway bro, you go do that, that’s all good.

Angie:
And look, we’ve really identified the importance of having the different roles within Little Real Estate. So when I was talking about my role as the relationship exec and then the BDM, but then the property managers are purely looking after the properties. So they’re dealing directly with the tenants and owners, they’re dealing with the maintenance. So rather than having a person that is a jack of all trades, they specialize purely in that.

Robbie:
And speaking about maintenance, you’ve got your own point of contact. Oh, I’ve got a plumber, boom, call that guy. Electrician, boom. You’ve got an array of the extended network there ready to go, if that’s what you meant.

Tamara:
It’s also zone code or like a locality sort of thing as well that if you’re doing if yourself, you kind of have to be in the area. And if you’re not, how are you going to manage that?

Robbie:
That will be almost impossible I think.

Tamara:
How can you manage that from far away? But also, if you do live close by and you’re constantly driving past your rental property, it kind of comes across as stalking as well. So you have to balance that out and not cool.

Dan:
Well, I mean for me, that all sort of wraps back around to the legislation that Angie was talking about. There needs to be this fine balance where you need to be able to demonstrate to your tenants and be like, we’re going to do it at this routine in accordance with this legislation. And sure, you can read the legislation once, but what happens when it changes? And then the thing that I really worry about for these people who are trying to manage their own properties is, what about when something goes wrong and you’ve got to go through the likes of QCA, for example. Or you’ve got to go to the courts, who’s going to represent you then? Because that’s one of the other key things. You know what, Ang, we’ll put you on the spot. You’ve probably got another specialist for that type of position as well.

Angie:
Well, the thing is, we want to make sure that even with the initial process of the application. So if we wind it back and before we source a tenant, when we start to receive the applications we take all the appropriate steps at the start, so we look at their income, what their rental references were like, we carry out absolutely everything to make sure.

Robbie:
All their checks on TICA.

Angie:
Yeah, all the checks. And in that way we’re at the start making sure that the right tenant is moving into the property so that we’ve got absolutely everything that in the case of we do need to make an insurance claim at least we can say that we’ve taken all the appropriate steps.

Robbie:
So good. It’s just a no brainer.

Dan:
I just said that [crosstalk 00:27:44]-

Robbie:
You’ve got a whole legal team, haven’t you that would support all that?

Angie:
Not a legal team, but [crosstalk 00:27:47]-

Robbie:
But representatives for it anyway?

Angie:
Yes.

Dan:
And that’s where I just sort of sit there and I don’t personally understand it because for the sake of 6% or 7% of the rental return that you’re getting on this property, it just gives you this complete peace of mind that everything is going to be looked after from that perspective.

Angie:
Absolutely.

Dan:
And I mean, there is other rental management agencies out there that probably don’t do as much as what you do.

Angie:
Well, we’re a little bit different to most agencies. So we are Australia’s largest independently owned agent and we’ve got a couple of tools that are really beneficial for clients. So I know Robbie, you love this and so do you Dan, the owner protal, so that is very similar to net banking. So you can log on at anytime, see exactly where your rents paid to, when your next routine inspection is, pull up any reports.

Robbie:
All the photos and stuff.

Angie:
Yeah. And it really keeps our property managers accountable and it makes sure that everything is transparent as well, which is huge. So we still obviously talk to clients a lot through email and phone, but that’s just an extra tool that’s sort of a 24/7 thing, which is really beneficial.

Dan:
Especially is you need some receipts when you’re doing your tax return at 10 o’clock at night and it’s due at midnight then you need those.

Angie:
And we’ve got a couple of other things, we’ve got an instant funds option, so what that means is when the tenant pays the rent and once it clears the owner actually has the option to receive the funds instantly, which is huge because most agencies will do the middle or the end of the month, so it’s really great.

Robbie:
Our disbursements?

Angie:
Yeah.

Robbie:
What a pain in the arse.

Angie:
Put it straight onto the mortgage, which is really cool.

Dan:
Straight back into your offset account working its bum off for you absolutely every day.

Angie:
Exactly. And I think one of the things that I love about Little is the happy staff and it really shows when the property managers or the team are sort of dealing with owners and tenants. To be happy is huge, so Little do a lot of things for us. So they’ve got things like healthy day, so we can take a day off, rather than a sick day we can actually say, look, we need a day to refresh, or go to the beach, or everything’s open and you can actually [crosstalk 00:29:59]-

Tamara:
Love that.

Angie:
… take a day off.

Dan:
I’m taking notes by the way [crosstalk 00:30:02]-

Robbie:
Tammy’s now got a [inaudible 00:30:04] and people upstairs going where’s my healthy day?

Angie:
And they do things like free fruit is delivered to the office, or there’s flexible work, we are able to do things like yoga or PT, that’s all included. At the moment I’ve got my Fitbit on because we’re doing a step challenge. So I think it’s [crosstalk 00:30:26]-

Tamara:
I love that.

Angie:
… really, really important that you’re happy where you work. And I know [crosstalk 00:30:29]-

Tamara:
Culture.

Angie:
Yeah. Culture is everything. So they really care.

Dan:
And that starts to shine through. So I mean, property managers are a really high turnover sort of trade or employment and I think it’s probably the quickest turnover from an industry perspective in all of Australia from our roles. But the thing that I’ve noticed with Little is we’ve developed a relationship now where we’ve got [inaudible 00:30:58] for all Axon clients because they know how Axon works, they know the type of clientele. But I tell you what, if you just had the regular property managers out there that sort of rotated in and out of their job within six to nine months, you wouldn’t be able to do that.

Angie:
No. Correct. And the good thing is all our systems are the same too. So for example, if you’ve got a property Robbie, like you mentioned, you’ve got one in Vic and then you’ve got one in Queensland, regardless, so even if that property manager say is away for the day or is unwell or something, we can actually log on and access all the information for the different states.

Dan:
Just the full interconnected system by being that one true independent or the largest independent sort of provider in Australia. It’s gold.

Tamara:
And when you’re talking about retention of staff, as you’ve said before, property managers, that is a tough bloody job and to keep people in that role and some people, some of them they love and are very good at that job and they deserve to keep doing what they’re passionate about, but it’s so amazing that the culture reflects that and it keeps them in that role because they absolutely live and breath that and it’s awesome.

Angie:
We treat it like it’s our own business.

Robbie:
One of the things, we had Jason in here this morning talking about insurances with the previous episode and he spoke about the importance of routine inspections.

Angie:
Yes, absolutely.

Robbie:
So when we’re talking about fair wear and no fair wear, and then we spoke about pits, and we spoke about kids and people drawing on the walls and just a home, Tammy, as you said before, need to be lived in. So certainly I know that your property managers are right up to speed as far as what’s fair wear and no fair wear and they can make that sort of instant assessment there when they’re doing not just, sorry, the routine inspections to complement what the entry condition report might be. Angie, as you said, you’ve got a brand new property which is spotless when they move in. Guess what Champ? When you move out it needs to be fucking spotless as well. And sure, there might be a couple of little scratches on the walls or whatever, but if that’s okay from a fair wear perspective then that’s their house being lived in. So just give us a bit of an example, what’s Little Real Estates policy there and expectation as far as routine exceptions go?

Angie:
So not only when we carry out the routine inspection do we do a fully detailed report and we take photos and everything, if there is an issue at the time we don’t wait until the end of the lease, we actually have that conversation with the tenant, we talk to them about fixing the issue and then we go back and check that it’s all sorted, so that’s a really important step in the process.

Robbie:
Because you almost got a bit of a running documentation anyway about how that property is being sort of maintained.

Tamara:
Well, if someones shower say hasn’t been cleaned and it’s full of mold, if you’re leaving it till the end of their tenancy, it’s going to be a lot harder to rectify and probably need re-grouting, that kind of thing, rather than getting on to it right now when it’s a few patches [crosstalk 00:34:01]-

Angie:
Yeah, absolutely.

Tamara:
… things like that.

Robbie:
I want to pass on a little sort of real value pro tip to all of our listeners that might not be even one of our clients so far, this is how you can be the landlord of the year. So landlords they’re not supposed to directly communicate with tenants, they got to go through the property manager. Tam and I, you and I are still tenants. I’ve never lived in my own home.

Tamara:
It’s soon to be, but [crosstalk 00:34:25]-

Angie:
Oh, it’s so exciting.

Robbie:
I’ve always been a tenant my whole life, 49 years old at the end of this year and we still wouldn’t have moved our own home by the time. So I’ll have my 50th birthday, my next birthday will be in the house.

Angie:
It’s going to be [crosstalk 00:34:37]-

Robbie:
So I’ll finally be my own landlord.

Dan:
Still haven’t received the invite to the party, but [crosstalk 00:34:43]-

Robbie:
We don’t know when it is. But I guess, one of the little sort of pro tips and Axon specific tips that we’ve got there is to communicate with the tenant through the property manager to find out what’s their favorite magazine subscription, be that digital or hard copy. I prefer hard copy because shit doesn’t get delivered to your door very often every day, it just sort of rocks up in the hundreds of emails that we all get. So I guess just to try and demonstrate to the landlord that you care that they’re there and they looking after the house, you’re appreciative of the rent that they’re paying, they should appreciate they’ve got a roof over their head, especially with the extremely tight rental market that there is at the moment. Some of our properties in a master plan community here in South East Queensland, as you’re experiencing, we’re getting $80 to $100 above the proposed rental amount when the property went to EOI, which is phenomenal.

Tamara:
And 50 people turning up to open homes.

Robbie:
So good, right? So I guess it’s one of the things that our owners now do. It costs maybe 100 bucks a year to go to magshop.com.au and… I’ll just go back a step, the tenant then give their details to the property manager, I like Travel magazine, I like Money magazine, I like fucking Better Homes & Gardens or whatever it’s going to be. You as the landlord then go get said tenant bloody 12 months worth of subscription to that, sot hen every month their favorite magazine, ding dong, bloody gets delivered by someone and then they sitting on the shitter reading their bloody favorite magazine.

Tamara:
Oh God.

Robbie:
No, but then they know, you’re then the landlord of the year. Every single month they’re getting a reminder. So it’s not as if there’s a bloody wine, or a chocolate, or whatever it is it’s going to be, that gets consumed straight away and they might get that little bit of dopamine and go, oh, the fucking landlord’s a good dude or dudette, but then they’ll forget about it for the other 11 months. So I guess it’s something which is really important.

Tamara:
It worked really well with I know we had a property in Queensland and it had three guys living there together and we were sending, was it Motor Sport?

Robbie:
Yeah.

Tamara:
I think it was a Motor Sport magazine and we used to get feedback all the time, ah, thanks again for the magazine.

Robbie:
They love it.

Tamara:
And they looked after that so well.

Robbie:
Because here’s the thing, they’re going to look after your house because they know that you as the landlord care about them, but then come the end of the lease it’s like, ah, sorry mate, the rents gone up by 10 bucks a week, or 20 bucks a week, or $80 a week, whatever it’s going to be, so then 10 bucks a week is $520 a year back in your pocket. So you’re spending $100 to get $520 back and you’ve got that sort of non physical emotional connection with the tenant to make sure they’re actually looking after it. So when they have a party, they’re actually looking out for their mates to go, oi, don’t fucking wreck the joint because I’ve got an awesome landlord and I don’t want to let him or her down. So it’s just a little Axon specific trick there for those that are listening.

Dan:
One of the themes that sort of I’ve just been listening sort of running through at the moment, Angie sort of spoke about creating the emotional connection with your first tenants because you’ve got the nice pendant lights, you’ve got this, you’ve got the beautiful floors, everything like that creates an emotional connection with that house. And realistically, that magazine’s just connecting that emotional connection onto the person now and it’s really starting to leverage off those people going, I love this place, there’s a person that’s connected to this house that genuinely cares about me and therefore they fall in-love with the house, because that’s what you want really. At the end of the day, I love that I love the properties that are in my portfolio, but I tell you what, I love that my tenants love them even more because that’s all the really matters.

Angie:
Absolutely. The relationships, that’s it. It goes back to relationships.

Robbie:
That’s what I say to all of our owners, I’m like, don’t fall in-love with this property, but you can love three things about it. I want you to love the fact you’re doing something for your financial future, you’re buying an asset which your future self is going to love you for. Fuck all about that clients in their 20’s that are buying two or three properties, don’t.

Tamara:
Oh, I love it.

Robbie:
That’s a whole nother podcast. I want you to love the location that you bought in because that’s obviously going to give you that sustainable low risk capital growth. And to your point Dan, love the fact that your tenants are going to love living in your house because they know that you give a shit about them and they’re going to look after the place. And at the end of the day, if you bought in an area where someones paying 450, 470, 580, fucking whatever it is, anything above 300 bucks a week rent, their kids have probably got shoes on, their kids probably brush their hair every day and if they can pay 400 or 500 bucks a week rent, their likelihood of them being dickhead tenants is much lower than I suppose to sort of going to buy in other areas which you can get 200 or 300 bucks a week rent. So it’s all those little one percenters that go into having a good experience as a landlord and not having to deal with shit or tenants that are not doing the wrong thing.

Dan:
And I mean, look, that’s all the prelim work that we can do, but obviously Angie’s team goes out there and double checks that these people have been great tenants previously.

Angie:
Absolutely.

Dan:
And you go and do that high level of diligence on people to make sure that they are the optimal people to be moving into your property under those circumstances and you just have a seamless process really.

Robbie:
So good. All right, what else?

Tamara:
Absolute gold today.

Dan:
One of the hot topics that’s always around and this is probably where rental managers had a really hard time over the last 12 months was when COVID kicked in. Obviously the world doesn’t stop, it kind of did a little bit, but from a rental perspective, Little had to start really thinking on their feet about, okay, how do we pivot ourselves here now that people can’t actually [crosstalk 00:40:04]-

Angie:
I was going to say, the word’s going to come out, pivot.

Dan:
You need to be able to pivot, it’s one of those things. But I mean, you guys got caught on the hob, especially you think of your Melbourne business down there and you had months and months of lockdown. How did you guys even continue operating?

Angie:
Look, one of the advantages is Little is very innovative. So we already actually had the flexible work, being able to work from home, which was huge. So when COVID first hit, to be able to have that flexibility and to able to instantly be online and working from different locations that was a huge factor. Having a team constantly up to date with what was happening because often even things like when the government would make a decision, we would sometimes be the first hearing that on the news as well. So the fact that the whole team [crosstalk 00:40:55]-

Tamara:
And I guess uncovering what that meant as well because a lot of the time you’re like, okay, what did that announcement just mean? We were doing the same thing. We’re watching it and then we’d be like, okay, what did that mean?

Angie:
Yes.

Robbie:
Or what does that mean for us?

Angie:
Having set processes, so at the start tenants might say they want a rental reduction, but actually having a set lists of questions to ask them about what that actually meant and whether they were impacted or not, or being able to do things like virtual inspections, all those types of things.

Dan:
I love those virtual inspections where almost immediately it’s like, you can now walk through this house, there’s nothing stopping you from being able to do that.

Tamara:
I had only ever seen it in the prize homes, the little you’re town kind of houses and stuff like that and I’d never really seen it used as a property management situation, especially not for rentals. Maybe if you were buying a house then yes, but I guess to see it pivot and utilized in that way, it was a game changer.

Robbie:
Really cool. Even when I spoke to the girls upstairs, I’m like, so how’re we going to unfuck this situation where the property manager can’t go out there and do this? That’s the technical term for fix, by the way. And they’re like, oh, we’ve spoken to the team at Little, they’ve already got a virtual inspection’s portal up and running. I’m like, holy shit, that’s a game changer. I’m like, great.

Angie:
And it felt so good. It was such a good peace of mind knowing that I was working for a company that was already innovative and that I was in safe hands and that our owners, and tenants, and all our clients were in safe hands with that.

Dan:
And especially being independently owned, that just means that it very much gets streamlined because you don’t have to go across [crosstalk 00:42:45]-

Angie:
It’s not a franchise, yes.

Dan:
… 25,000 different franchise owners around Australia. You’re just like, no, this is the way that Little Real Estate is going to do this, get on board, lets get it done.

Angie:
And they were so good with updating all of us as well and all the different training sessions that we had and even now we’ve constantly got meetings and catch ups even if they’re virtual. That was a really hard time for a lot of people, especially like you mentioned about Vic and people being stuck at home, so to have that sort of team morale was huge.

Dan:
You can all take a healthy day together and go down to the beach.

Robbie:
All right. For me, I look at it the other way, I’m like, this is upon us, if you have the will to win and you have the right people, it’s not about can we get this fixed, it’s how are we going to get it fixed? And you just rock up to work with a continuous improvement mindset and go, we can’t let this beat us because if we do, you’ll be another business down in Victoria that goes bloody tits up. So you’ve got no choice but to just get it fixed and dare I say, if you’ve got your Axons working properly and you’ve got the right mindset, you can fix anything.

Dan:
Absolutely. Ang, it’s been an absolute pleasure to have you hear today mate, just to talk us through some of those high level sort of discussions you’re having. Even though as you’re sort of growing within the business, you’ve still got the ability to be one on one with every single one of our clients. I know that personalized level of care and attention and detail is certainly appreciated by every single one of them mate.

Angie:
Oh, thanks guys.

Robbie:
All right. Awesome. Any other closing words, mate, what else do you want to say?

Angie:
I love Axon.

Robbie:
Ah!

Angie:
I love you guys.

Dan:
You know what, just cut it there, just end it with that. I love Axon.

Angie:
You guys rock. So good.

Robbie:
All right mate, thanks.

Tamara:
Ah, what a great session.

Robbie:
It was really awesome. Thanks Ang. I know that everyone’s listing that number one little thing that everyone’s worried about, what if I can’t find a tenant at the end of the build? 100 odd builds over the last year supported by your team, seven days on average throughout COVID, it’s not an issue. Make it happen. All right. See you later everyone.

Dan:
See you guys.

Tamara:
Bye.

Angie:
See you guys.

Robbie:
Hey, thanks for tuning in to today’s podcast. If you enjoyed listening make sure you give us a five start rating, hit subscribe so you’ll be first in line to get it in your inbox every week on a Tuesday. Whilst you’re at it, open up your favorite social media app, be that Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and YouTube and connect with Axon property group. This is where you’ll see us everyday sharing the secrets of creating multi million dollar property portfolios and performing to the highest levels of your life. You’ll get exclusive behind the scenes access to what it really takes to build a life that you love. You’ll also discover how to secure your financial future as an ADF member or veteran and I assure you your future self will love you for it. Thanks again for listening and that…

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