Recently we were nominated and made the finals of Australian Resident Accommodation Managers Association yearly awards targeting outstanding performers in the Long Stay Manager of the year. We were required to write to the board a little bit about Sailfish Point and what we have achieved in our time as the owners in the managements rights industry.
We were very grateful to make it to the finals that were held at the Tattersalls club in Brisbane on July 23 rd where we came runner up to a great manger in Michael Mitchell who is located at Moda Melton in Nundah.
This process made me aware of what we achieved in such a small time frame at sailfish point.
We originate from Western Qld where I had operated a mechanical workshop and Kathryn had worked for the Local council for almost 10 years. We decided to sell our business and property in the “bush” and move to the city to enjoy some quality of life and start a new challenge in the real-estate industry.
We choose permanent management rights because the balance between lifestyle and work was what we were looking for and the business model ticked all the boxes for us. We purchased Sailfish Point for its location and when looking at the business we could see it had been badly managed and this was something we thought we could fix.
What we knew before we purchased- the current committee was in a legal battle with the old caretakers over their contract which they had let the term expire, however they were able to get a new agreement drawn up and approved by owners with a 20-year term. We could see that the committee was going to be a challenge, but we believed if we excelled in our roles we would be able to gain their support. We also could see from the figures supplied by the old caretakers they did not run a very good business.
After spending some time with the old caretakers we realised the mess they created not only for themselves but also their investors who in trusted them with there investment properties. So we had to over come some pretty big issue when taking over.
The committee relationship
The Body Corporate manager relationship
The Investors & Owners regain their confidence in the business
The complex state was very poorly managed and was in disrepair in many ways
Number 1 & 2 were first on the list. Body corporate is a business and unfortunately owners who nominate for committees are not always the best people for the roles and because of the nature of a committees its really difficult to convince owners who have the skills to get involved.
What we needed to do was take control the current committee which was full of retired owners who had very little to no knowledge of the Body Corporate Legislation and after meeting them on the first day we soon realised they did not want to learn or take any interest in what the legislation sets out.
The first 2 years was probably the toughest we were threatened and had to deal with owners that were intoxicated and used verbal abuse to get their message across this was our first wake up call and made us ask ourselves what we had gotten into. We tried to communicate with our body corporate manager at the time but found this was a major issue as they also were extremely poor at their job and we found not having a good body corporate manager was the root of all the problems.
First we looked at the issue and said 2 things we need a new committee people we can work with and we also need a new body corporate manager as we needed a professional company to step in and sort out the mess that sailfish point had become.
So we got to work carrying out our duties as caretakers and also carrying out work outside our duties to show owners we where here to help and make a difference this took time but we ended up gaining the trust of majority of the owners and also we meet some new owners who we could help elect to the committee.
The journey has been anything but smooth, trying to achieve change is difficult its even more difficult when certain owners in the complex do not see the bigger picture and are only interested in looking after their own agenda.
The work that goes into making changes like this does not happen easy and does not happen with out a lot of work. Work that is not easy to see, many nights have been spent writing emails talking to owners, dealing with owners trying to drive there own agenda by emailing owners incorrect information about our company and the role we were playing in making changes.
The most popular argument from owners was I should not be lobbying owners for change this is 100 percent incorrect we currently own Lot 77. We own property just like the other 98 owners at Sailfish Point. We also invested our entire life savings into this project and I am not going standby and watch on the sidelines. Its just not going to happen.
The current committee which is led by the Chairman Stephen Mortensen has done a fantastic job, a job that is volunteer they get no money or reward for working for sailfish point body corporate. Stephen and Amanda Mortensen at the time spent many hours getting documents ready so meetings that were being run could run smoothly with out there involvement I guarantee Sailfish Point Body Corporate would not be in its current condition.
While all this was going on we also have a real estate business to run the confusing part for many owners that live onsite is management rights involves a real estate company this part of the business has absolutely nothing to do with the body corporate the care taking contract we have is for duties around the complex the real estate side is not apart of the care taking duties and is a separate business that reports to owners who choose to employ our services.
The real-estate side of the business we purchased was not run very well, there where no routine inspections and many of the units were in disrepair. The computer that came with the business I gave back to the manager it would have struggled to run a game of solitaire it was that old. The old caretakers did have a programme called REI master though not used to its potential it had the basic information entered into the software. We made sure we done training on the software and also enabled REI Inspect so we could give our investors professional reports on the state of there units.
Within the first month we had inspected the 42 units in the letting pool and recorded a list of over 400 maintenance jobs that were required. Over the next 6 to 12 months months we managed to repair all these items and report to owners on their properties every 3 months. We also contacted our owners regularly and created a relationship with them one that helped us gain there trust back. This is something that had been fractured by the last managers as they regularly overcharged their owners for items that were not required. We also contacted many of the investors that had gone to outside agents and have been successful in most coming back on board, but we do still struggle to gain the trust of some who were badly burnt by the last manager and may never return.
We have also started selling units in 2017 I was able to gain a full real-estate licence and currently sell units within my own complex and in other complex's close to the area. We have been helped in this area by Easy Agent their software and support is the help we needed to get us looking a professional company and in 2017 we won #1 Sales Person & Onsite Manger of the year awards with Easy Agent.
We have also developed our own website & Facebook profiles www.gkmrealestate.com with information about our company. We have a video made of the complex showcasing the great area we live in for potential investors that enquire.
The complex myself and Kathryn are little bit different from the normal Husband & Wife team in management rights, currently Kathryn works in the gardens and does majority of the mowing and garden work while I do majority of the real-estate side of the business with focus on looking after our investors and selling units in the area.
What I have learned in 3 years, Don’t listen to the loudest voice just because one owner is not happy or does not understand your role that does not reflect the majority, that is done at a AGM and that’s what counts you will never get every owner to love or support your ideas but if you have the right intentions and beliefs then people will see you for who you really are and support you when it matters.