Partner and managing director
Raine & Horne Commercial North Sydney (RHCNS) started life as a small department of the local residential agency and has now grown into a thriving commercial property business.
Jay Sheffield, Partner and Managing Director, has helped build the company from the ground up over almost 20 years, providing a hands-on and tailored service to high-net-worth individuals, mum and dad investors and self-managed super funds.
Jay has been able to successfully combine his years of experience and property management skills with new technology and ideas to drive the business's growth.
Starting life as part of a residential agency meant Jay and the team had to make the business work with the legacy systems that were available to them. They were initially using the company’s residential-focused property management software and making adjustments and changes to suit their commercial needs.
Using that software, we found ourselves with so many spreadsheets to send to our property owners. We had tailored spreadsheets with our tenancy schedules and budgets, and we were going in and out of those sheets and then back into the software. We needed all of that in one place within the software.
As more clients and properties came on board, the existing system became difficult to manage. The turning point came when the company implemented a new customer relationship management (CRM) system to simplify interactions with their current and potential clients.
We saw how powerful that system was. By having the right vehicle behind our leasing and sales teams, it attracted staff and helped close deals. That was the push for us to move to a new commercial management software.
RHCNS’s experience with the shortcomings of a residential-focused system compelled them to look for a platform that would support their commercial property management in the way they wanted to work.
At the top of the priority list was having software that could seamlessly bridge the gap between their property and the accounting workflows.
I wanted an even balance between property and accounting. We needed software that could track our day-to-day property matters such repairs, maintenance and arrears. But then it also had to provide good budgeting systems, financial reporting for owners and be able to integrate together.
Re-Leased immediately stood out from other platforms with its user-friendly dashboards and strong focus on creating a connected and holistic property management and trust accounting solution, where the information could flow seamlessly and accurately.
The suite of mobile apps for property managers, landlords and tenants was another drawcard, especially as RHCNS looked for ways to enhance their interactions with clients. Most importantly though, they knew it was a software that staff would be attracted to use.
As soon as we looked at it, we went - this is the software for us going forward.
Over a year and a half since bringing Re-Leased into their tech stack, the team at RHNS sees the benefits right from the start of each day.
I come in and just look at my calendar for the day and see what I need to do. It automatically tells me there’s a lease renewal coming up and I can click into that and see which tenant it is, see their information, and I can action that immediately. We've got templated emails set up in Re-Leased, so we can create it and send it out at the push of a button.
These previously repetitive and tedious tasks of having to check renewal dates and organise follow-ups are now handled by intelligent automation. That alone has saved the company a significant amount of time and it also ensures they haven’t missed important dates.
Bringing together the property and accounting information has enhanced reporting for the overall business and for individual clients who have been impressed with the improved insights.
Our property owners are seeing the new financial summaries and saying it's more detailed, it’s clear, concise and provides great insight into their asset.
The mobile apps connected to Re-Leased have been another tool helping to drive efficiencies and build better relationships with clients.
The Property Manager app is helping staff get immediate and up-to-date access to important data when they’re out on the road or visiting a client at their property.
The Tenant app is being used to streamline communication with tenants, especially around repairs and maintenance by having this all go through one channel.
The Landlord app has been popular with property owners so far, giving them quick insights into their assets, and even attracting new clients.
We secured an owner who was frustrated with having to wait to get property information in the past. The app allowed him to look at his property portfolio immediately and that was a big selling point.
Re-Leased now forms an important part of RHCNS’s connected cloud of digital tools that work together to help the business keep growing.
Alongside the property management system, the company uses Microsoft 365 as their business suite and Microsoft Teams for communication. They have a CRM system and an internal Raine & Horne system for the franchising aspects of the business. All of this is connected in the cloud, ensuring secure and remote access for staff from their laptops and phones.
At the heart of all of this, is an experienced team that’s embracing these tools and, for Jay, that’s the most important piece of the digital transformation puzzle.
The staff have embraced the software and believe in it and trust it will do exactly what they need it to do. That makes them want to wake up, and come to the office and be part of the business. We can now take on more properties because our team knows they can handle the workload.