As high vacancy rates remain an issue in a number of Australian capital cities today, improving communication, securing new managements and sourcing quality applicants to fill vacant properties, are key challenges for property managers, according to new survey data by national rental property website Rent.com.au.
Rent.com.au’s latest survey data shows a core focus by property managers on three fundamental objectives in 2016: Communications with tenants and owners, developing higher quality listings, and, importantly in times of high vacancy rates, tenant retention.
Most respondents (64%) in Rent.com.au’s December property manager survey said they valued good communication as a key focus in 2016, desiring to work more effectively and be capable of supporting their tenant and owners in meeting both short-term and long-term objectives.
Survey respondents also indicated their biggest challenges included, but were not limited to: Implementing new technologies in a busy marketplace, finding quality applicants for vacant properties, sourcing and securing new managements and having renters attend viewings once a timeslot is booked.
Company Founder and CEO Mark Woschnak said improved communication to build on existing relationships and develop new ones would be key in 2016: “Our results show that property managers are aiming to strengthen communication with tenants and owners to establish the best possible level of customer service,” he said.
Property managers reported they would like further training in writing property listings, vendor paid advertising and responding to appraisals. Woschnak said it was clear that the industry wanted to know how to create better-targeted, more successful online listings to fill vacancies quicker and with good tenants.
“The traditional forms of engagement with clients are rapidly changing and it’s becoming evident that property managers have a desire to improve their online marketing and multimedia application in order to boost their enquiry rates,” he said.
Developing strong tenant retention strategies will also be a major driver in 2016, Woschnak said. Rent.com.au’s insights revealed 82% of property managers considered building their rent roll to be ‘very important.’ For the coming year, most respondents said they wished to grow their rent roll by 50% in 2016 (28%), while 26% of respondents envisioned it growing by 11-20%. “Retaining good tenants is of paramount importance to the growth of any agency,” Woschnak said.
He acknowledged the ongoing challenges faced by property management departments on a regular, if not daily basis. “As Australia’s only major rental property website, we get a lot of insight into the property management industry. We know property managers are constantly faced with expected and unexpected challenges which have the potential to slow down or derail even the best of set objectives,” Woschnak said.
“Our vision remains to create the total marketplace of tailored products and services required to make the whole process much easier for renters, property managers, non-agent landlords and the wider industry.”
Key Rent.com.au survey results:
- Most property management departments’ enquiries come in via email (83.33%), followed by phone (11.11%) and walk-ins (5.56%).
- 55.56% of respondents said they do not currently receive VPA for their rental listings.
- Key ways to secure property managements include an agency’s website (45.45%), walk-ins (27.27%) and Rent.com.au’s product RentQuotes. Other methods include word of mouth, referrals and through Google search.
- The majority of property managers (88.89%) indicated floor plans and videos were not presently a priority inclusion, adding the features to 0.25% of their listings. 11.11% said they added them to 26-50% of their listings.
- 72% of property managers add more than six photos to a listing, while the remaining 28% said they add between 3-5 photos.
- Property managers indicated an increase in the number of renters wanting more for less in today’s market, saying renters try hard to negotiate for better prices and want to dictate terms.