Interview with Jo-Anne Oliveri: What Causes Your Property Owners To Leave Property Managers And How Can You Retain Them?

Jo-Anne Oliveri, CIPS, TRC, Founder and Managing Director of property management business solutions company ireviloution and author of Find Your Property Manager NOW: Hire the right agent and make more money is an international real estate identity who has trained over 500 agencies and thousands of agency owners and property managers worldwide. With over 20 years’ real estate experience, she is seen as a leading authority on all things property management and regarded as a prominent industry trainer. We chatted with Jo-Anne about what causes your property owners to leave, and how you can retain them.

How can property managers compete against agents offering lower fees?

Property owners are focusing on fees because that’s what property managers are focusing on. To change this, we need to have a mindset shift in the industry where property managers understand the value they provide. Once they see this, property owners will see it too.

How can you make property owners see your value? Remind property owners of their property’s income and growth capital value in comparison to market averages. Do the calculations in front of them to demonstrate how much they have earned in comparison to how much saving they get from cheaper fees. The numbers are powerful. Don’t forget to include calculations for money saved by mitigating vacancy periods. The evidence will soon be clear-cheaper fees are more than likely costing them thousands of dollars, and your higher fees mean you provide more value as a property manager.

Why do property owners only want to deal with the same property manager?

This is another case of the property management industry making property owners believe they can only rely on one agent, rather than an agency. That’s because PM business owners and their teams don’t see the value in operational systems.

The language property managers use is always about them and the way “they” do things, rather than the agency. Take McDonald’s, for example- the brand is known for consistency. A 14-year-old can be easily trained to deliver what the brand promises because of the consistent systems the company has in place. Likewise, if we want our clients to value the agency managing their properties, the business must be built on systems made up of three elements- Processes + Resources + Training.

Why do property owners think we don’t communicate with them, and how can PMs improve this?

Property management agencies lose clients and managements because property owners feel like they never hear from their property manager or only hear from them if there’s ‘bad news’ to share. That’s because the industry is normally reactive rather than proactive when it comes to communication. To change this, our communication with property owners must be ‘by design’.

Communication by design is purposeful and goal-driven. For example, your monthly newsletter should be educational (i.e. provide information about owning a rental property and working with the agency), empowering (i.e. provide information about property investment), enthusiast (i.e. provide information about the growth and returns gained from investment property), and enabling (i.e. provide information that helps property owners understand how to get the most out of their investment).

Why do property owners refuse to do maintenance on their property?

It’s simply because property owners don’t see the value in doing maintenance. As property managers, it is our responsibility to help our clients understand why maintenance is important and what value it can add to their investment property.

Other factors impacting the completion of maintenance are lack of processes and follow-up. If the agency has no systems in place, there will be no maintenance follow-up. If a property owner refuses to do maintenance, they are usually in breach of their contract with both the agency and tenant. And, I’m sure that most times the property owner is completely unaware of this. Property managers must communicate these responsibilities to their clients, and inform them of the impacts no maintenance has on their investment property.

What do you think property managers could do better to retain their clients?

Deliver on promises. Support your clients in achieving their property investment goals. Work to a system so that when team members are on leave, clients can rely on any team member to provide the same consistent service. Undertake continual training and upskilling to improve your knowledge and skills. Deal in facts; never have an opinion. If your clients feel like they are being cared for and see the value in your services, they will stay with your agency, and hopefully even refer clients to you!

What are your tips for property managers to provide a memorable customer experience?

Work for an agency that has systems in place for ensuring service consistency. Embrace being accountable. Value the brand you work for and your clients will value you. Be relentless in your pursuit of remarkable. Reinvest 10% of your annual earnings into personal development and professional training. Set your career goals high and take action. There are no shortcuts to success, just lessons to learn. #RaiseTheBar and the customer experience you provide will be memorable!

If you’re looking to become qualified in the real estate industry or upskill your real estate qualifications, call Validum Institute TODAY on (07) 3193 5270 to find out more about our fresh new blended approach to learning.

We’d love to know how Jo’s tips help you provide a better service and retain your clients. Email me your thoughts at