Demand strong for property management in QT

Demand strong for property management in QT
Full throttle: Paul Hibbett and the team at Harcourts Queenstown Rentals.

Understanding the needs of clients and meeting those needs is an absolute priority for Harcourts’ new business manager for Queenstown rentals, Paul Hibbett, who is excited by the company’s well-established track record for excellent service in the local market.
“That track record has been achieved through having a selective approach and a commitment to quality properties and building good relationships,” Paul says.
“There’s already a good team here and the business is solid, so my role is really just to tweak some systems and processes. Once those are in place, there’ll be no stopping us!”
Harcourts Queenstown Rentals currently manages 500 properties on a long-term basis, along with 42 short term lets.
“We have a holiday homes division as well, managed by Lisa Wilkins, who runs a tight ship and is doing a great job.”
Before taking up the new role in mid-March, Paul managed Bachcare Holiday Homes Central Otago and over four years grew that company’s portfolio from a handful of properties to more than 200.
He credits that success to effective networking, regular client visits and building a strong team and professional culture.
Joining Harcourts property management team in 2019 has put Paul on a steep learning curve, but he’s thrilled to have accepted this latest challenge with all its inherent opportunity.
“It is full throttle here in Queenstown at the moment with lots of new houses being built and we’re only just starting to come down from a market peak of sky high rentals.
“There are a lot of people wanting to rent houses through us because of our solid reputation. Harcourts has won the most trusted brand for the seventh year in a row [Reader’s Digest Most Trusted real estate brand] and I think that really helps, especially for overseas people looking at what’s available here.”

Demand strong for property management in QT
Harcourts Queenstown Rentals currently manages 500 properties in the Southern Lakes on a long-term basis.

Customer service, underpinned by clear expectations, is top of the list for Paul.
If the owner is overseas and can only be contacted by email, then he suggests it is vital that there is an effective decision-making process in place for any issues that may arise. Communication is the key.
We recently held external communications training for our team – the bottom line is we need to make sure we can respond in a timely manner and we also need to make sure we have the right tradespeople on board who we can trust to do a good job for our clients.
Harcourts make a pledge to their owners to have zero rent arrears.
It follows that there is a big emphasis on tenancy education to ensure people know their obligations about paying rent on time when signing a tenancy agreement.
Precondition inspections are carried out to give a clear picture of how the property looks before the tenancy starts and inspections are then routinely conducted every three months.
“We check for mould and condensation and make sure the curtains are clean. If there is any damage we can respond there and then.”
As Paul observes, good property managers understand the obligations of both tenants and landlords and work to establish good relationships from the outset.
“The words ‘fair and reasonable’ come up a lot in rental management.
“It can be a grey area so it’s important for both the landlord and tenant to understand what those words mean to avoid potential conflict going forward.”
Meanwhile, Paul says the majority of their property owners want tenants for a year or more and families tend to be sought after as tenants, in preference to young single people or couples passing through the region.
However, short term lets are starting to trend upwards again, following clarification of council rules on short term accommodation.
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