Archive for February, 2011
The sheer devastation this latest round of earthquakes have left, leaves me with my hand over my mouth in horror and tears in my eyes. Needless to say, I have nothing to write about property management this week.
Our hearts go out to all those affected by the Christchurch earthquakes. I am again humbled by the sheer expression of humanity that extreme crisis brings out in people. To watch, as people covered in blood, reach out and help others in need, is moving beyond words. And all I can do from here in the North is pray. Pray and give. I don’t have skills to offer the ground teams, and the civil defence crews are like a well oiled machine anyway. They don’t need me. And they don’t need clothes, or blankets or food. What they need is money.
Please read this excerpt from the Red Cross… It explains why they need cash and not items
Unsolicited or unwanted aid especially containers can clog up ports and logistics chains creating delays and distracting relief staff and resources from more important or relevant tasks. This is widely known as the “second disaster”. Commonly organisations especially Red Cross or NGOs that are mandated to coordinate and deliver relief are left with large quantities of goods that aren’t required, sometimes at great cost.
Years of experience have taught the Red Cross the types of emergency aid that may be required during a disaster or conflict. These items which can include tarpaulins, blankets, kitchen sets, jerry cans etc. are available in warehouses in large quantities throughout the world. Across the Pacific region there are over 80 pre positioned shipping containers stocked with such standardized items and they are brand new. In Auckland New Zealand Red Cross has stored enough emergency relief items for 5000 people.
When disaster relief organisations such as the Red Cross ask for cash to support their disaster activities it is not because they are being greedy it is because buying or sourcing goods locally or utilising standardized internationally recognised relief items is by far the preferred and proven option.
Cash is more easily collected , transferred, distributed and accounted for.
Would you like to make an online donation? – if so click here Click Here
…and please donate generously. Remember, it could have been any of us.
February 23 2011 | Uncategorized | No Comments »
Eat your heart out people…. I am freshly back from the Mission Estate Concert featuring Sting! Oh yeah baby! Six of us ladies (all from Allens) did the annual GERT – ummm… that translates into the “Great Estrogen Road Trip” down to Napier. So while we were there we did the tourist thing, the wineries, the coffee shops, the shops, oh lets be honest… any shop! And because we at Allens Real Estate are so passionate about exceptional customer service, we always note what sort of service we receive.
What I particularly like about the bunch of woman I do this annual pilgrimage with is that they are not backwards in coming forwards. When we get great service we always acknowledge it. In fact, Anne from Seleni was nearly strapped to the roof-rack (along with some wine barrels and a ginger cat) on our return home because we would love her to work and sell real estate up here with us. (Hmmm… perhaps she declined our offer because of the mode of transportation offered?) Turns out she get job offers almost every other day. Why? Well, that is what I want to explore here.
The quality of service we encountered on our trip, I think, would come under the following two questions, or attitudes, assistants operate from: “What’s in it for me?” or “How may I be of service to you?”
The assistants in the camp of “What’s in it for me?” would never get a job here. They are the ones that don’t greet you or even make eye contact. They spend more time talking to a colleague or friend than you the customer. They watch the clock and are thinking about their lunch break or their cell phone or anything other than you. These assistants see you as a moving wallet, if that. And to be honest, or maybe I’m cynical, but it seems there are an awful lot of assistants out there that live in this camp!
Ahhh… but the Customer Service Professionals (like Anne) live in the camp of “How may I be of service to you?” They greet you like you have just made their day by simply walking in. They are adept at reading body language and gently and kindly work towards making you as comfortable as possible. Because they want you to be comfortable. They want you to feel safe with them. Safe enough to chat, to laugh, to relax. And when you relax, you talk, you ask, you listen, you interact and you find yourself walking out with far more than you ever considered you would be moments earlier when you were parking the car! You also walk away with a light heart and a warm glow after spending some time simply connecting with another human being. You feel informed, valued and heard. Yes, these professionals see you as a fellow human being worth spending their time on. They want to know you, and they want to know: how they can be of service to you. These people do get employed by Allens Real Estate.
So remember: Any time Anne, any time.
February 16 2011 | Customer Service | 2 Comments »
I had a delightful talk with a young couple the other day. The father of the young man insisted that if they were going to move to Auckland and enter the world of “flatting” then they needed to be educated to protect themselves. Now what a great dad that is!
I thought what we spoke about may be of interest to other fledglings about to fly the coop.
We talked about the importance of basic communication skills and plain good manners. Turn up on time, say please and thank you, meet the eyes of the property manager. (You may be amazed at how many young people are not versed in manners.) Be forthcoming about your life, what you do with your spare time. PMs want to know that you work hard, or study lots, or play sports. It goes towards building a better picture of who you are. Present yourself nicely. Brush your hair. Iron your clothes; wear deodorant (*duh*!) Watch your language, crack a few tasteful jokes. Consider it an interview and be on your best behaviour. We look for “accountability” and “reliability”. Get references from the parents you have done babysitting for. If you go to church, get one from the minister. Principals can contribute here as well. Any previous employer… you get the idea.
Tenancies come under a structure called the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 and there are requirements that must be met. Ie. You cannot “Cause or permit any interference with the reasonable peace, comfort, or privacy” of other tenants or any other person “residing in the neighbourhood”
So this includes one of those “thud-thud” boy racer cars that shake the glasses of the shelves. It means turning the car stereo down as well as the house one. It means no loud parties. And understand that sitting outside at night means your voice carries, as does your conversation and the fights. Alcohol does blur your judgement and bad decisions are made. How you handle your first legally binding contract on a tenancy will make or break your renting future. Take it seriously. We can check your tenancy history in New Zealand and Australia! So flying to Aussie to get away from a bad tenancy isn’t going to solve the problem. They can and do check here too!
Really it comes down to the fact that if you are old enough to sign a legal contract and be held to it, then that means you are an adult. Act like one. Or better yet, be one.
Hmmm… I must save this article for when my teenager leaves home!
February 07 2011 | Tenants | 1 Comment »
Does anyone else get that deep sense of satisfaction when you need to find something in the office, a file say, and it is exactly where it should be, every time? When you need to pick up a tenant pack that another property manager manages, to find, oh say the bond refund form, and it is not only there, but all the vacate processes on the checklist are ticked off?
No sorting through masses of paper on a desk holding up the client while they wait for you to find something. Nope, a simple, well it should be here… ahhh, yes! It is here. And you can tell at a glance, where the process is up to. Beautiful.
I really take my hat off to the previous managers of Allens Property Management for all their hard work in setting up a very good procedure system. It is the epitome of working smarter, not harder! It makes the art of property management seemless. Well – it wins the paper war anyway!
The only glitch with our procedures and checklists can be the humans that implement it! But that is merely a training issue.
As I sit at my desk looking out my window searching for inspiration I don’t see blue sky or even grey clouds. With my internal office the vista from my window is row upon row of folders, filed alphabetically and clearly labelled. Those many shelves represent to me not only the 90 odd million dollars worth of stock we service, but also all the owners we work with, the tenants we find homes for and manage through as they move from here to there. They represent the contractors that we count on and trust every day. And as I gaze upon them, I become very still for a moment. This is, without a shadow of a doubt, big business. It is a big job. Every day we are challenged. Every day we rise to those challenges. Every family settled is a feather in our cap, every problem resolved is proof that we know what we are doing. We thrive on the gratitude and acknowledgement from others because it is such a big job. And because we thrive on it we hand it out just as liberally.
So I sit here, proud of what has been created here, proud of my department and what we have accomplished and I say, Bring it on!
February 03 2011 | Management | 3 Comments »