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The Innovator strikes again

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Andrew Reece from InspectRealEstate is the definition of an innovator. Never happy to stand still and reap the rewards from his labours, Andrew has always been on the look out for creative business solutions and ways to grow his business.

Spotting a gap in the property managing business, he recently became a software developer. He developed InspectRealEstate software - a customised, agent-branded, online booking system that allows prospective tenants or buyers to automatically book inspections.

In one week alone in November 2013, 247 agents and a staggering 20,083 prospective tenants registered for or booked an inspection of a property through InspectRealEstate.com.au. He did something different; he believed in his vision and created something that people needed but didn’t realise they did.

Throughout his career in real estate, Andrew has always been committed to innovation and growth and engaging and building relationships with his customers. Just take a look at his Facebook page to see how he is harnessing the power of social media to drive traffic to InspectRealEstate!

Not content with conventions, Andrew has always run his own race and understood that a leader has to engage with his staff and customers. His career is dotted with examples of how his innovative approach has allowed his business to grow.

The Andrew Reece way

How to spot good property manager

When Andrew started out in Brisbane with his property management business, he realised that fantastic property managers shared many characteristics. He says, “The successful people all came from the country. They were smart, had got into university and had been accepted but then found that it wasn’t good for them. They had worked in hospitability so they didn’t mind working late hours, Saturdays and dealing with all sorts of stuff.”

The clincher for Andrew was if they’d worked with McDonald’s. He says, “They got a job with me straightaway. They understood systems and procedures and customer service - and property management is all about those things.”

Andrew explains, “So when they came in on the initial interview, I would meet them and I would say, ‘Come with us. It’s a four-year journey, okay? Rather than you going to university here, I will teach you everything that I know about real estate and you’ll end up, after that four years, with the ability to go and open your own office, or you can stay working with us’. And they signed up.”

Andrew always offered a career, not just a job and it worked.

Talent can be unearthed at property inspections

Andrew is always on the lookout for great talent and he has found that property inspections can throw up some outstanding future property managers. He says, “I’ve always had the view that you don’t recruit when you need someone; that’s too late. Part of being in real estate means constantly looking and recruiting for good people. Our first ever employee was Reggae and he walked in off the street looking for a property to rent. I just got talking to him at the property and he ended up working for us for nine years! And we had Matt Wilson, I showed him a unit block and I was shoving on my shoes on the stairs as we went up and I was talking to him. He’d just arrived from New Zealand, looking for a new career change. He was the right style of person and again, a fantastic property manager.”

Magical mystery interview process

Again a devotee of practice rather than theory, when Andrew recruited, he liked to put people on the spot as part of the interview process so that a candidate’s mask would drop and his or her true character was revealed. Andrew explains, “Our office was on two levels. As soon as they walked in the door, we would show how our reception functions. We’d then show them our key cabinet which had spots for 3,000 keys. We had 1,700 hanging on there. And we’d say, ‘This is your job: to help us get another 1,300 properties under management’! Some candidates would blanch; others would rise to the challenge.”

Andrew continues, “I’d look them in the eye and I’d say, ‘Oh, so when you come to join prorentals, how many new managements from your current employer can you bring to us?’. And that answer would determine whether or not they went to go upstairs or whether they just went out the back door.”

Andrew is also quite famous for his non-standard interview questions. He’d ask questions such as:

  1. Have you ever been a tenant before?
  2. Have you been a property owner? Tell me about how that was.
  3. How did you go when you were looking for a property?
  4. Have you done weekend work before?
  5. Are you looking for a career?

He explains, “I’d ask them about their driving history because they have to be in a car all the time driving around. I also would ask them about how they would deal with being in a vacant property alone. I’d always tell them to carry the keys between their fingers, so that if you were ever attacked then – boop – you can then poke the key into the person who’s going to give you a hard time. By role-playing that in the interview, they’re all of a sudden thinking, ‘Cripes, property management could be spooky’, okay?”

The proof was in the pudding and Andrew’s method allowed the cream to rise to the top!

InspectRealEstate (IRE) is a customised, agent-branded, online booking system that allows prospective tenants (or buyers) to automatically book inspections online for properties. It’s simple and easy for everyone to use, whether you are an agent, a tenant, a buyer or a property owner. IRE is currently being used by more than 200 industry leaders across Australia.

For more information and to see an example of how real estate leaders can use social media to build relationships with their customers please see:

http://inspectrealestate.com.au/
https://www.facebook.com/inspectrealestate

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