Mary-Anne is the Director of Omokoroa Property Management. She has spent over 20 years working in real estate, and is an experienced investor and landlord. At one point, Mary-Anne and her husband owned 16 rental properties spread across Auckland, Hamilton, and the Bay of Plenty. Read on to learn more about Mary-Anne and her business.
#1. Tell us about you and your background.
I started Omokoroa Property Management (OPM) in 2020 after moving down from Auckland. We have been involved in property investment for over 20 years and love the industry. In 2009, I was employed as Company Accountant and Manager of the Property Management Division for a large Ray White office in Auckland, until we moved here. We have lived here for over 4 years, and the first year we moved here, I travelled weekly back to Auckland to our Ray White office.
Those involved in this business say they have a “passion” for the industry, and this is true for us. When we moved down here, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I love property management, and a local real estate agent, who has now become a friend, and has known me and my background since 2015 said, Ōmokoroa needs a good property management company. There was a major short fall in this area, hence, I started the business.
#2. Tell us about your business.
We offer a few services, which include free rental appraisals. We can place tenants for landlords who wish to manage their own property (called a “Casual” service), or the full management service where we totally manage the tenancy and property. As part of our management service, we pay for the Healthy Homes Inspection and Report to take this stress off the owners.
We use the best software available in the industry, and we help the business community by sponsoring local schools, sporting groups and the boat club.
#3. What makes your business unique?
Firstly, we are a strong family business with good values. Both my daughter and daughter-in-law are involved in the business, we have an amazing team with excellent strengths.
It is important to note, the industry is not yet regulated, but needs to be. Many property managers hold no qualifications, nor do their businesses run a trust account to protect both owners and tenant’s funds. We are proactive, as everyone in our business is qualified. I hold my Real Estate License and the “girls” have their Level 4 Certificates in Property Management. But I have taken it a step further, we are members of REINZ (Real Estate Institute of New Zealand), and we are the only independent property management company in the entire Bay of Plenty who is affiliated to REINZ.
We are the only property management company based in Ōmokoroa, everyone else has to come in from town. We manage properties from Katikati to Papamoa. This is easy for us, as the girls live in town and work on their town properties before coming to Ōmokoroa daily. On average, we are no more than 15 mins to each of our properties. We have a huge presence in Ōmokoroa itself, as daily we have two cars on the streets, whereas all the other companies are on the peninsula three monthly for their inspections.
#4. How is your business different now from when you first started?
We will be finally moving out of our home office, which has taken up a few of our rooms when we move to the new office. We have grown out of our home, so will be lovely to have professional offices. If I was to go back to 2010, while the basics are the same, it was such a manual system, and to see the improvements by our various software providers has been outstanding. There was no Healthy Homes compliance, and that has taken a lot of work to get older homes up to standards, as compliance is more stringent than before.
A lot of owners don’t realise that Healthy Homes standards apply to new builds, and they too must comply with this Act, new builds are no exceptions. We had three new builds in a week that failed the Healthy Homes. Understandably, neither the owners nor builders were happy about this. The Healthy Homes Act is higher than the Building Act, and if the home is to be tenanted under the Residential Tenancies Act, all homes must comply. We regularly see with new properties coming onboard where they have been previously managed, they are not compliant, and owners can be charged $7,200, so their interests are not being protected.
#5. What is your greatest success in business/what are you most proud of?
The downside in getting older, is to see businesses who don’t have a stable background, systems, and processes, then this leads to failure. Our business is built around strengths in our systems, get it right, and then a business becomes strong. Get the right people in their roles. Don’t compromise.
#6. What is a significant challenge facing your business/industry right now?
The lack of compliance within the industry, this breeds problems, but this is changing.
#7. What is one common misconception about your industry?
Property Management is easy! Really? Managing your own property should be treated as a business. If you are experienced and understand the importance of working within the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), then they are fine. But the majority don’t and think they can manage it themselves and fall into situations that cost more than it would have been to engage a property manager. Management fees are about $2500 per property per year. When an owner fails to manage their property, they get personally involved with their tenants, they don’t feel comfortable taking the harder stance, which then involves loss of rent, or damage can and does run into thousands of dollars. I have seen it over and over again.
#8. If you could share one piece of advice with the business community, what would that be?
I have several pieces of advice:
- Come to our regular business group meetings. We support each other.
- Don’t make promises you can’t follow through on, as that badly reflects on you and your business.
- We live in a wonderful community. Beaches, walkways, lifestyle, so ensure you do support the local community where you can. If money is an issue, offer time to assist them in their fundraisers. Word of mouth is the best recommendation.
Omokoroa Property Management is the first and the only independent REINZ Accredited Property Management Company in the Bay of Plenty, and the only management company based in Ōmokoroa. They are investors themselves, have a zero arrears tolerance policy, and are an owner operated family business. With experience in Property Management for over 20 years, to put it simply “they walk the talk.” They offer an extremely competitive management fee of 7% plus GST. Plus, they pay for your Healthy Homes Assessment.