Adding another layer to your agency

March/April 2018 Edition

Increasing your sources of revenue by adding additional services and offerings can help you to grow your business. Ruth Smyth from Rockend explains how moving into strata management can help your agency reap returns.

By Ruth Smyth

You’ve set yourself and your business some solid goals and targets for the year. What do you need to do to achieve them? Whether you’ve just opened your agency and only have a handful of properties under management or you’re an industry veteran, it’s crucial to always be thinking of ways to gain a competitive edge and grow.

You see, revenue fluctuates for every real estate agency according to what’s happening in the market. And, if recent years have taught us anything, it’s that agencies need to embrace change in order to survive and thrive.

Entering the world of strata management

Selling, property management and strata management all work together. They’re all part of the property lifecycle.

Think about it. Real estate is about building relationships with people in your community, so that when they’re ready to buy or sell you can provide them with a service that’s tailored to their individual needs.

Where a salesperson in your agency sells a property, there’s an opportunity to provide further services to both the buyer and the seller. The seller may be looking for their next property, so you can certainly help them there. And the buyer may have purchased the property as an investment, which presents the opportunity to offer property management services.

But what if the property is in a strata scheme? Consider the people who own properties in strata schemes. They know and have built a rapport with their strata manager. If your agency provides strata management services, you have the opportunity to offer services beyond selling and property management.

What’s changed?

As in all other areas of real estate, technology and client needs are changing the face of strata management. Owners want information at their fingertips 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They don’t really want to attend meetings in person. They want to be able to pre-vote on resolutions. And they want the peace of mind of knowing that their strata manager knows how to improve their asset. 

Real estate agents are in an ideal position to provide this service as they’ve been doing it for years.

Also, the strata industry is booming! Just look up. Our skylines are awash with cranes and residential developments are rising on every corner. There’s never been a better time to embrace this opportunity.

The difference

Strata revenue comes from levies paid by owners from which a management fee is deducted. Owners agree on what they want to contribute throughout the year to keep their building in tip-top shape. They engage the strata manager to look after this, to provide maintenance, contracting, reports and insurance. Every day brings something new – just like property management – however there’s consistency that comes from repeatable functions for meetings, contracted works, insurance renewals and budgeting.

Instead of looking after one unit or townhouse, strata managers look after every unit in the complex. The benefit? You’ll have the opportunity to engage with an entire complex of people at different stages in the property life cycle that will need your services.

The upside is that the majority of agencies already have a technology supplier that can provide the systems they need for strata management.

Benefits of adding strata management services

There are many benefits to adding strata management services to your agency’s offering. Increased revenue, professionalism, access to a new group of potential vendors and tenants, a business arm that you can sell in the future – the list goes on!

Owners must feel heard and understood, the building must be well maintained and information must be shared regularly and clearly from the client’s point of view. To ensure this is a successful venture, it’s non-negotiable that the person you entrust to run your strata department must have:
a valid strata licence
exceptional negotiation abilities
strong people management skills 
excellent verbal and written communication skills
sound accounting knowledge
access to strata management software.

With major real estate groups already making a play in strata management, and even more individuals and groups reviewing it, and given the recent developments in technology married with the growth in numbers of strata schemes, now is the time to consider strata management for your agency.

- Ruth Smyth is a Strata Industry Specialist at Rockend.
Key considerations
  • Choose your managements wisely. People can be harder to manage than the property. Remember to always do your due diligence before committing to a management.
  • Flexibility is a must. If a strata scheme wants meetings in the evening or on a weekend, you’ll need to provide that service.

  • Build relationships. Time out of the office in strata management is minimal when compared to property management and sales.Sometimes the building you manage will have an on-site building or facilities manager who will work with your team. If not, the committee members are your eyes and ears about potential issues and situations. In either case, building relationships is key.

  • Use technology to your advantage. Check if your software provider has a strata management option. You’ll want to ensure it manages finances, insurance, meetings, maintenance and provides access to what your clients need 24/7 via a portal.