What makes a successful resident manager

30 August 2021

Almost 30 years ago at the first management rights information seminar at which I presented, one of the first speakers was John Farmer, an older, very experienced management rights operators who later in life became a well-respected and successful management rights salesperson. His recipe for success in management rights was simple – cleanliness and communications. In all that time nothing has changed.

If I look at my firm’s many clients who I know to be highly successful management rights business owners – and here I am talking about clients who have owned and operated multiple management rights, always achieving substantial increases in net profit and asset values – those two elements have been essential to their successes.

The overwhelming majority of owners and occupants of strata complexes – whether they be long term tenants or holiday guests – care about and notice how clean and tidy the complex is. In that context, appearances mean everything. Just getting that part of the business right puts the business on a good trajectory for success and will have owners will largely leaving the manager alone to get on with the business. Getting it wrong encourages disgruntled owners to go looking for other areas where their manager is deficient, leading to disputes about all sorts of issues.

Likewise, good communications with all stakeholders – the committee, the body corporate manager, owners and occupants – are essential. A good communicator will not only offer lots of communication to others but will also encourage lots of communication from others. By doing so a manager not only keeps the stakeholders fully informed of all the great work the manager is doing but also becomes aware of potential problems before they become a problem.

So I find myself at presentations today elaborating on what Mr Farmer told us all those years ago. Some key points I make include these:

  • Management rights are not passive investments. Your caretaking/management role is to provide a service – the principal one being to keep the complex clean, properly maintained with the grounds, lawns and gardens well manicured and attractive – to owners, tenants and guests;
  • Give your owners value for money and strive for excellence – go beyond what they might reasonably expect;
  • Thoroughly understand your agreements and duties – have a detailed checklist and follow it;
  • In short term complexes, be innovative with your marketing and seek professional advice from proven experts in website design and internet marketing;
  • Communicate openly and regularly with your stakeholders – send periodical newsletters, encourage regular walk arounds with your chairman or designated committee representative;
  • Build – as best you can – a strong and professional relationship with your body corporate manager and the committee; and
  • Be and be seen as the driver of improvements and regulatory compliance at your complex.

Whilst there will always be a small minority of complexes where some owners or committee members will still not be satisfied even if you follow all or most of the above, you can be sure that if you do not you will never succeed even in those complexes where the owners are reasonable.