Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Real Estate ... faster than a speeding bullet!

I can't stand complaints.

Sometimes we receive complaints at Prudential Real Estate. Yes, we are not perfect, I know.  However, we treat complaints very seriously and work hard to resolve issues as quickly as they occur.  Fortunately, we don't get a lot of complaints, but even one or two is far too many.

So, what do people complain about?

Almost all unhappy customers are frustrated with a lack of communication. I wasn't told. I didn't know. No one called me back. I was not expecting (something).  No one told me.

There's no excuse for not keeping people informed but, I guess, it happens occasionally.

About 18 months ago we came across a technology solution that solved almost all our communications problems with prospective tenants.

As the largest single provider of residential rental accommodation in Sydney's south-west we were inundated with phone calls from people wanting to make inquiries about available properties - hundreds every day.  In fact, at that time we had two full-time staff taking calls and answering questions. Most simply wanted to book an appointment to view a property.

As the rental market heated up a few years ago and the number of incoming calls grew steadily every day some people were waiting hours for a call-back. You can imagine how people were feeling.

And then came the solution.

I had a call from a friend who had previously owned a real estate business in Brisbane. He had devised a simple technology solution that allowed prospective tenants the opportunity to book their own appointments to view rental properties online. As soon as they booked they received an acknowledgement by SMS and email.  On the day of the inspection they received another SMS to remind them.

Once we put this idea into place our phone calls dropped by 90% almost overnight. Suddenly our prospective tenants were being updated instantly on something that may have previously caused a headache - and at lightning speed. It seemed most people were happy to book their own appointment and bypass the agent until they arrived at the open house.

Within a few months our customer feedback comments reflected how happy everyone felt about this new idea. Prospective tenants could book an appointment to see one of our rental properties at any time without having to contact us. The new system provided a register of all those expected at the open house, so we knew what to expect. At the open house we were able to provide information about the property and lots more to every attendee.  If the open house was cancelled we could send an SMS to everyone with a single button press on our computer. Everyone was a winner.

At Prudential Real Estate, we are constantly on the lookout for solutions that improve our customer's experience.  Buying, selling or renting property can be very stressful and our job is to make everything go as smoothly as possible.

Monday, 10 February 2014

How to get rich...seriously!

I remember once hearing the best advice about getting wealthy a young man could ever hope to stumble across.

It was, "spend less than you earn and invest the rest"

The problem was I was not listening.  Maybe you were the same as me in your twenties, too busy chasing a good time to worry about the future (read: girls, nightclubs, cars etc)

It sounds like simple advice but it's not easy.  It takes a single-minded determination to impose simple disciplines such as this on yourself and your family.  But if you can manage it the world of wealth creation will open up for you.

Here's how to start. The little bit left over each week should go into a separate bank account that you never touch - unless you are going to invest the funds elsewhere, of course.

Over time your nest egg will grow.  And interest will accumulate.  And you can begin to imagine how you might invest your pile of saved dollars.

So, what do other successful investors do with their money.  If you bothered to read every book that has ever been written on the subject as well as the biography of every person who has ever gone from nothing to something, you will find a familiar theme. Most invested in rental properties. They started with one and went from there.

I know what you are thinking ...but what would you expect from a real estate agent?

Buying an investment property, however, is not as straight forward as your think.

Every Sunday the papers publish full-page advertisements announcing another series of seminars which will reveal "little-known property investment secrets" that will seemingly propel you to instant millionairdom, detail the scandalous traps awaiting the unwary first-time investor and, for a modest fee (often in the thousands), provide you with a workbook, 6-week correspondence course and online support to assist you with your journey to fabulous wealth and prosperity. Amazing!

I'm sure the only person making money out of these seminars are the promoters. But are their students, the ones who pay thousands to learn these crafty secrets, making anything?  Maybe some do. Most simply give up in frustration and write-off the costs to experience.

Is there an easier way. Yes!

It's a little old fashioned and perhaps not very glamorous.  There are no flashing lights, unbelievable claims or courses to pay for.

Actually, it's really very simple.

Ask your local real estate agent. Most have many years experience in their local area. They know which properties to buy and which to avoid. And they are motivated to help you like they would a member of their own family. Because they want you to be happy with your purchase and leave the rental management with them.  This is how your local real estate agent makes money - by giving the type of good advice that ensures you stay with them for the long term.

Buying an investment property can be quite easy.  All you need is an agent whose advice you can depend upon. An agent who understands the value of long-term relationships where both parties benefit.

Prudential Real Estate, after 26 years in your local area, is one of those agents.