Asset Management specialist
NAI Harcourts Gold Coast is a commercial property agency that’s been serving the renowned stretch of the Queensland coast for almost 10 years. Property management accounts for over 80% of the business but the company had previously been using a legacy system to oversee all of this.
Abel Erasmus is an Asset Management Specialist who managed an unlisted property fund in South Africa and has also been involved in software development. His knowledge of both property and technology has helped spur the agency to go digital, and it’s enabling them to do more with less.
For Abel and the team, managing properties right along the Gold Coast inevitably means a lot of time spent on the road getting to and from their sites. He needed property information with him wherever he went, but getting that information wasn’t easy.
“I wanted to take the information with me and our previous server-based system meant you'd have to phone someone back at the office to get information. We needed to go cloud-based because we manage properties all over the Gold Coast. I could drive 150 kilometres a day going to properties and I wanted the information at my fingertips.”
Not only did a server-based system confine their information to the office, but it was also complicated to use and retrieving even basic information was time-consuming.
“I was just amazed at how archaic our previous system was, even though I’m technically savvy. We needed to make it easy for anyone to work the system.”
Abel knew a cloud-based, user-friendly system was what they needed so he reached out to the NAI Harcourts network in Australia to find out what other franchises were using and the success they were seeing.
The Launceston branch had just moved over to Re-Leased so he picked up the phone and reached out to hear about their experience with the platform and if it would work for the Gold Coast team.
“I heard they had implemented it so I phoned them and they just said, ‘You won't go wrong, just do it. We’ve been using it for six months and we’re really, really happy.’”
“So I evaluated the core functionality of it and immediately saw the potential to streamline our processes with Re-Leased.”
NAI Harcourts Gold Coast has now been operating with Re-Leased as their property management system for over a year and they put it to work straight away thanks to its ease of use.
“It’s an easy system to learn and to teach someone, it's really simple. When an owner phones you, you can just bring up their properties and the information is all there. Anyone can use it.”
“In fact, with the newest member of our team, we showed him around the system and he got it in 10 minutes. That makes a huge difference in getting people set up.”
Abel also got his wish for a cloud-based system with all their information now in one place and easily accessible, and that’s driving a new way of working and saving precious time.
“It forced us to go paperless – we now save everything online in Re-Leased.”
“Before, we had to print all the month-end reports and file them and if you do that every month, it’s such a waste of time. Now, there's no more physical filing of reports in the office, so going paperless has been a massive, massive timesaver for us.”
Setting up automated workflows has been another time saver, particularly the automatic transaction matching and arrears follow-up. Being automatically notified of arrears notices to be actioned and quickly sending templated messages to tenants has also helped the team keep on top of any issues.
“Our Contracts and Compliance Department does our arrears and they've set up templates for specific problem customers. They process the arrears first thing every morning, check arrears notices and send them out with one click.”
What’s most exciting for Abel is what this smarter way of working means for the team going forward.
“With our current commercial asset management team and set up, we can grow without adding additional professional staff.”
This is just the start of NAI Harcourts Gold Coast’s digital journey and it’s only set to continue as they look to keep driving efficiencies and delivering a high level of service.
In the current climate, Abel says there’s a great opportunity for property managers to be trusted advisors to their clients and provide greater insight into the market. By leaning on technology to help with this, the payoff is a growing portfolio without growing costs.
“What COVID has shown us is that there are a lot more things to consider with commercial real estate than just rent price and payment date, so we’re seeing a lot of growth potential.”
“Our aim is to use technology to grow our portfolio while simplifying the operational side of things without having to bring more people on. Re-Leased has shown us that it's quite possible to do so.”