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Podcast Transcript

Kayleigh Kilgore is the licensee and Director of the Good Property Company. We chat about the whole property management spectrum from start to finish and Kayleigh shares some great tips on how to develop a solid relationship with both your tenant and property manager.

Mike Mortlock: Welcome to Geared for Growth. This week, we’re chatting with Kayleigh Kilgore who is the licencing director of the Good Property Company which is a property management firm based in Newcastle. We chat about all things property management and the particular things that investors should know if they’re buying a property that they’re wanting to market, how to set up a good relationship with the tenant, and buying properties with the tenant in place. All about routine inspections, the cut price providers, and what some of the exclusions are right the way through to the tribunal. Here’s Kayleigh. Kayleigh Kilgore, welcome to Geared for Growth.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Thank you.

Mike Mortlock: It’s a pleasure to have you in. Now, we just want to kick things off with who are you and what do you do?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yes. My name is Kayleigh, as you mentioned. I’m a property manager and a mortgage broker.

Mike Mortlock: Excellent. Now, how did you get into the industry back in the day?

Kayleigh Kilgore: I got back into, originally, the finance industry, it would be seven years ago now. That was due to my parent’s family business. They have a mortgage broking business, and I’d always grown up in school being around mortgages and seeing them doing that. I left school and went, “That’s the last thing I want to do,” went to Uni and did my own thing for a few years. Then, I was looking for some part-time work and mum said, “Hey, we’ve got some admins.
Do you want to come give it a go?” I think she always knew what was going to happen. I thought, “Yes, easy money and some pretty flexible hours. I’ll try it out.” I actually started learning more about what they do as opposed to just seeing the long hours and how stressed they were. When I started actually learning more about it, that’s when I got really interested and was like, “Oh, I like this. I could see myself doing this.”

Mike Mortlock: You were sucked in from there on.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Sucked in from then on. No turning back.

Mike Mortlock: Now, to give us an insight into the real Kayleigh, perhaps, if that’s how this works, the posters on the bedroom wall as a youngster if you were allowed Blu Tack, that’s a common thing.

Kayleigh Kilgore: I definitely wasn’t allowed Blu Tack. Nothing. No, allowed nothing on our walls. However, if I was, I would’ve been a diehard Spice Girls fan.

Mike Mortlock: Spice Girls.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah, and Backstreet Boys.

Mike Mortlock: Right.

Kayleigh Kilgore: . Very cool.

Mike Mortlock: Backstreet’s back.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yep.

Mike Mortlock: You’re showing your age there. Most people would say things like Queen. We’ve had Spandau Ballet. You’ve brought it up a little bit in the timeline.

Kayleigh Kilgore: I like that.

Mike Mortlock: You obviously started in the finance industry, and you’ve moved into property management. You’re the licencing director of the Good Property Company. You’ve been over seven years in finance and property.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yep.

Mike Mortlock: How did you, then, merge into property from the finance field?

Kayleigh Kilgore: I was originally started in my finance background in Sydney, and we had clients in Newcastle as well. We were commuting between both offices and finding that a little bit ineffective in the fact that we no sooner get back to Sydney and I’d realise my Newcastle client needed an appointment. I decided to move away from the family office in Sydney and start up the office in Newcastle.
From then, we were approached, as well, by good friends of ours who were running the Good Property Company, and they asked us if we’d like to take that over. From then, we saw the perfect sync between, obviously, mortgages, in helping people buy investment. Let’s roll that on in regards to also looking after their properties as well. That was three years ago, this month, since we went into that stage as well.

Mike Mortlock: Well, congratulations.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Thank you.

Mike Mortlock: It’s not an uncommon thing. A lot of big real estate agencies have their mortgage arm, but they’re of a different name. Things like Mortgage Choice are run by … Actually, I don’t even know who they’re run by, Ray White or someone like that. Anyway, there’s a number of different ones, so there is a good synergy. Now, we’ve interviewed a few property managers, and I thought it would be good to dig a little bit deeper behind the scenes, so getting into the nuances of the whole process. How does it typically start? I guess the beginning is your listing presentation to the landlord, is that right?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah, absolutely. Whether it’s a mortgage client that I’ve dealt with, who I’ve helped them buy an investment property in that area, when we’ve actually got to the stage where they’ve exchanged on the property and we’re at loan documents, I’ll start having that conversation with them about, obviously, settlements coming up.
“We know you’re going to rent this out. Let’s look at the stages in regards to what you need to do in renting it out, and can we also have that chat about whether we can have the opportunity to look after that for you as well?”
Generally, because we’ve got a good relationship with them already and we’ve started that relationship that can be quite seamless. A lot of people, as well, do their due diligence and shop around. You can’t blame them for that as well. It’s just having that conversation explaining, as well, to them how we do things a bit differently and what we can do for them. That’s one client I’d be dealing with.
Another one is just someone who’s been recommended our details. So, absolutely, we have a chat about their property, try and get in front of them if we can. We do have a lot of interstate clients and overseas clients as well. Just trying to put time aside as to going, “Do you want to do this on an email, or can we set up a Skype phone call? Trying to see what’s going to work best for them, so we can explain to them how we can help their property and also find out more about their property as well.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah. Is that pitch a little bit like a real estate agent that’s looking to get a listing for sales? Is it a similar sort of thing?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Well, I’ve never actually been a sales agent, but been in sales agent’s pitches. I guess it would be similar. I would probably say my approach to things isn’t as salesy, if that makes sense?

Mike Mortlock: Yeah.

Kayleigh Kilgore: I have a warmer approach, and I’m more about creating relationships with people. I’ll probably say it’s not as intense. More or not just saying, obviously with sales, you’re looking at a lot of pricing and what they’re looking to achieve. I think with property management it’s more about the ongoing relationship and how you’re going to work with them over a period of time, so that would be the main difference.

Mike Mortlock: I suppose the rental appraisal is definitely a part of what they’re going to get each week.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Absolutely.

Mike Mortlock: From the sales side, that price is a real sticking point. Whereas you’re focusing a bit more on, “Hey, we’re going to be chatting to each other for 12 months, 10 years, or whatever it is.”

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah. I don’t think the rental appraisal isn’t the do or die in that listing as well.

Mike Mortlock: Right.

Kayleigh Kilgore: I think it’s very much changed from that. Obviously, we’ve got the knowledge in regards to what we believe the property could be rented for, but the landlord might also have different ideas and want to chat to you about that.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Also, they might go, “Well, this is what you’ve appraised it at. We’d like you to start lower or higher due to different reasons.” They’re not always really talking about that price. It is more about what we’re going to do for them in the long run.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah, okay. Say we’ve got someone onboard, I guess the next step is marketing. How do you approach that, and how does that differ from sales? Obviously, we’ve seen the sales doing a lot of videos. They’ve got the signboards that are becoming more and more back-lit, and internally lit, and LED, and animated, and that sort of thing. What’s the difference with the marketing, and how does that kick off?

Kayleigh Kilgore: I guess the main, as you said, sales have got a much bigger budget to do all those fancy things and to do more print media as well and to have a lot more design around that. Whereas rentals, it’s a shorter timeframe.

Mike Mortlock: Yup.

Kayleigh Kilgore: We do have a smaller budget in regard to play with, and we just need a really quick turnover. For a sales campaign, you might be having a three to four-week lead up. For a rental campaign, you might have two hours from meeting the client, to them wanting it online, and getting it advertising. It’s working with the client as well going, “Alright, how long do we have?” Also, having a chat to them about obviously looking at your online channels, looking at signboards, and just seeing as to what we, obviously, recommend for their area, and their property, and also what they’re happy with.

Mike Mortlock: When you say online channels, obviously, there’s the real and the domains.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yep.

Mike Mortlock: Is there anything more technical than that? Are you doing any Facebook or anything like that? Is that happening in the industry?

Kayleigh Kilgore: It is happening. Obviously, the main channels, as you said, are real estate domain. We use a few different channels as well through Newcastle University. We’ve got few other smaller websites that we tap into just ’cause the more you can be on, obviously, the larger website you can get.

Mike Mortlock: Sure.

Kayleigh Kilgore: We do put some of our properties on Facebook, but I don’t see a big return. I don’t see a lot of success through that. Obviously, a lot of our landlords like it, because they can share it, and they can send it out to their friends. We’ll send them the links, but very rarely do I see a listing of property because we listed on Facebook.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah. I guess the market will determine whether it stays that way or whether it will change. I guess people at the moment aren’t looking for property through Facebook.

Kayleigh Kilgore: It is interesting. We’re always tracking where the tenant inquiries are coming from, so which websites are actually getting the traction. It does change, so it’s always being on top of that and monitoring that so we know we can get the best exposure for our landlords.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah, okay. Say we’re running through a marketing campaign, and this is maybe a story that investors will relate to. We might be trying for something a little bit above market rent, and we’re not getting the inquiries. How do you manage that from a marketing perspective and maybe even from an expectation perspective from the landlord?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah, well I always like to have the chat with the landlords when it comes to pricing early on. I do say I guess it’s up to their objectives. Some landlords will like to go bang on market price, because they need a tenant in there quicker. Obviously, by having it within the exact right range you’ll get a tenant faster. Over the whole, you’ll minimise that loss of rent at the start of the period. Some landlords, their objective is to get a higher rent to begin with, ’cause they want to keep increasing it over time.
They’re not worried about losing two to three weeks right from the start. So, it’s having that chat at the start with them and saying, “Okay, we believe we can get it rented faster if we list at this price. If your objective is to have a higher rental income for a longer period of time, we’ll try that, but you’re going to lose a few weeks rent at the start.” So, just managing expectations from there as well and seeing what’s important to them.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah, okay. I guess if we’re sitting banging market rent range, we’re going to have a greater amount of inquiries and then perhaps better people. I mean I’ve chatted to some property managers that say the people that say, “Oh, we’ll give you an extra $10 or $20 a week,” there’s often a reason for that. I think we even had a little bit of doctor bashing. Doctors tend to fly under the radar. It’s like, “Oh, we found a tenant for your place. It’s a doctor,” and they go, “Oh, thank God. They’ll look after the place.” Not always the case, right?

Kayleigh Kilgore: No. They’re very busy people. They have very little time at home to do any of the maintenance of the house, right? Then again, that’s stereotypical. We’ve had some great ones, but yes, I would not say that one particular industry or one particular professional is better than the other.

Mike Mortlock: Okay. Let’s talk about the tenant selection process. How does that work? Let’s say you’ve got a hypothetical property. You’ve got 10 different types of people. You’ve got couples, you got singles, you got young, you got elderly, whatever other categories you like. How do you select that tenant, and how involved is the owner in the end tenant that you place into the property?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah, absolutely. For us, our office rules, we have to meet the tenants. That’s a personal preference. We have to meet the tenants. We have to have a quick interview with the tenants as they hand in their application or at the property before they hand in their application.

Mike Mortlock: Is that common in the industry?

Kayleigh Kilgore: I’d probably say no.

Mike Mortlock: Okay.

Kayleigh Kilgore: For us, we’ve always heard it’s the best way to actually get to know your tenant, is if they’re going to be the right fit. You can look on paper at someone and go, “This person’s fantastic.” After talking to them and just finding out a bit more information, you might find out they’ve got 10 dogs and all these other things they haven’t listed on paper.
I find it’s really important to actually get to know the tenant, so we actually know who’s going to be living in your landlord’s property. That’s an absolute prerequisite for us. Sure, we might miss out on tenants, because some tenants you can’t meet.
I find in the long run, it still works. It’s always worked out better for us. It’s minimised our the amount of times we’ve had to go to tribunal. It minimises our rental arrears as well. You’re also building up relationships with these people, so they trust you and you trust them. In regards to how much selection the landlord has in the end, again, it’s different per landlord. I have some overseas landlords who want to know nothing. They go, “Kayleigh, we trust you. Get the best tenant. You just do it all.” I have some other landlords who want to know everything.

Mike Mortlock: Right.

Kayleigh Kilgore: They’ll say, “We want to be involved in the whole process.” Obviously, there’s privacy, but I can give them as much information as I can give them. I can say, “There’s three applications. These are the credentials of each. This person has a dog. This person has a cat. This person has no animals,” whatever it’s going to be. “From meeting with them and from looking at their application, this is the one that I would, perhaps, think looks the best. However, there’s still options for you. It’s up to you, at the end of the day, who you place in your property, but this is just the information that I have based on meeting these people.”

Mike Mortlock: Yeah, okay. Stereotypically, is there any type of person or family situation that they’re pretty bankable, in general, or are we stereotyping too hard?

Kayleigh Kilgore: I think it’s very property dependent.

Mike Mortlock: Right, okay.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah which is hard. Obviously, if you’ve got a small apartment, you don’t want to put a family and a dog in there. It is looking per property and going, “Alright, for this property, who’s going to be the best fit for there?” So, I guess, stereotypically, no, there’s not. Again, we’ve placed fantastic tenants who I thought these people have no problems with. A month later, something happens and their family and everything goes downhill, so you just don’t know at the end of the day.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah. Jumping to the other side of the fence, ’cause we’re picking on poor tenants.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah.

Mike Mortlock: This is pretty much a property investor show. Often, many of our property investor clients are renting, because there’s obviously the option with rentvesting.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Absolutely.

Mike Mortlock: You might want to live in a place that they think is a terrible investment. Have you got any tips for tenants in helping them to secure a place if they find something that they fall in love with?

Kayleigh Kilgore: In regard to renting it?

Mike Mortlock: I guess just in regards to impressing you and after placing them in it.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah. Okay. Be organised. That’s my biggest thing. I love an organised application. Turn up on time to the inspection and be presentable. Try and engage with the person who’s showing you through as much ’cause, again, it’s about building that relationship half. If we know them and, “Oh, that person really stuck out at the inspection,” as opposed to the other person who nipped in and out and avoided eye contact, it’s, again, who you trust and who you know.
Applications, it’s just being organised. Weak applications, it’s got half of it filled out, half of it signed, half of it we’ve got one payslip for one person but not the other. Those things are just frustrating, ’cause we have to do more work to chase you up. If I’ve got a half done application and I’ve got a perfect application with a cover letter and all your supporting documents, it’s pretty obvious who I’m going to lean to. That’s a main thing for me.

Mike Mortlock: Sounds like a bit of a no brainer, but it’s amazing how often that isn’t done.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Oh, I’d say most of the time.

Mike Mortlock: We see the same thing for job applications.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah.

Mike Mortlock: There’s spelling mistakes on resumes. That kind of thing.

Kayleigh Kilgore: I’m not worried about spelling mistakes. For job applications, I might be. For tenant applications, I’m not. Yeah, just have everything we ask for. It would be nice.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah. Also, I think that’s great advice. I mean I’ve been to a couple of rental inspections before, and you don’t really see people engaging with property managers. They tend to be viewed as the enemy. If you can get in a charmed one, you’re off to a good start.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Absolutely.

Mike Mortlock: What are some of the issues around placing the tenant in the property? I’m guessing that there’s timing. They might have another property, and they can’t move in straightaway.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yep.

Mike Mortlock: Are there negotiations on the length of the lease at that stage? Are there headaches with getting someone into the property once you’ve selected them?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah. A lot of the time, if tenants are already renting, they do have to give notice in their own property before they can move in. That’s something, again, you have to talk to the landlord about and say … Sometimes it can be, “We’ve got this fantastic tenant who we know they look great. These are our top leaders, but they have to give three weeks’ notice at their current property.”

Mike Mortlock: Yeah.

Kayleigh Kilgore: They might want a 12-month lease. So, you might go, “Alright, we’re going to lose a couple of weeks rent here. Maybe we can negotiate with the tenants. They can have a week of having both properties to do the seamless move, hand over, and being able to move.”

Mike Mortlock: Yeah.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Again, towards the landlord and going, “What’s your preference? We can get these tenants in in three weeks, and they’re the front runners. We believe we’ll have no problems with them, or we can maybe take another application. They might not be solid, but they can move in straightaway.” So, what’s the landlord’s preferences? Do they need the money right now, or are they prepared to wait a little bit longer to have greater tenants?

Mike Mortlock: Yeah, so it’s balancing that, I guess.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah, and it’s different for every landlord’s objectives.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah. We’ve bashed PMs, I think, even on this podcast before about rent collectors. I think I was stirring up Pat, actually. These are things that are part of the property management role.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah.

Mike Mortlock: You’re not really invoicing for. Until someone’s in there, you’re not, essentially, getting paid.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Absolutely.

Mike Mortlock: There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that investors don’t really know about.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yep.

Mike Mortlock: What about tips for a landlord in starting off a relationship with the tenant? Maybe they don’t have a direct relationship, but it makes sense to me that the tenant has a positive view of the landlord. Is that all about the Christmas bottle of wine, a hamper? How do we have a happy tenant and have them not having the view that this is a moneyed landlord with 15 properties and, “They’re just trying to fleece me into the ground?”

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s a big problem within the industry. Tenants are seen as second class citizens, or they’re treated not very nicely. I think, for us, it’s really important to make sure they don’t feel like that. At the end of the day, they’re paying your bills, and they’re paying your rent. We want them to feel respected, and we want them to feel like they are an important part of the situation, ’cause they 100% are. For us, it’s about treating them with as much respect and trying to work with them in regards to what they’re needs are. I think a big thing when you’re moving into a property is having the property actually clean for them.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah, okay.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Having them be able to move into the property and get the keys and go, “Okay, we can move in.” Not go, “Oh, we’ve got to actually spend a day cleaning before we can move in.” It’s things like that. Some landlords just aren’t aware of those small things that will go a long way. They might go, “Oh, the property’s ready.” I’ll go out there and go, “Ugh, it’s not very clean at all. Would you mind if we get a cleaner in just to freshen it up for the tenants?” Also, you’ve got to look at how you present the property is how you get the property back as well.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Just having respect for the tenants upfront and going, “Would you put your feet in their shoes, and go, “What would you want as a tenant?” Some of my owners, they love to do things like have the bottle of wine, at the start of a new tenancy, and little note waiting for them. I think that’s fantastic. I do think that starts a really great relationship.
Some of my owners, they’re overseas, so those things aren’t possible, and they’re not really worried about doing that. Again, it’s just working with the tenants and going, “Alright, what are they looking for?” Maybe it was that they didn’t want that dog, and you’re okay with it but not sure. It’s just trying to have an understanding of what they need and what you can offer them as well.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah, okay. That makes sense. I guess a clean place has implications for the routine inspections and how it’s handed at the end of the tenancy as well, right?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Absolutely.

Mike Mortlock: That’s a nice situation when you’re buying a property that was maybe a principal place of residence for someone, and then you’re putting a brand new tenant into an empty, vacant, clean place. What about if you’re buying an investment with a tenant in place? How do you manage the transition of moving in there and having a good relationship with the new tenant who’s probably a little bit afraid about what your intentions are and selling the property?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah.

Mike Mortlock: I mean we do inspections all the time. The tenant says, “Oh, does this mean they’re selling?” There’s obviously a bit of fear there. How do we manage that?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah. It’s definitely an interesting one and, again, it’s different per situation. However, we’ve got, a lot of the time, during that buying period, the actual purchaser, so the one who’s going to be the new owner, will meet the tenants when they’re going through to do an inspection or the agent introduced them, so it’s going alright. They, sometimes, will have met each other and sometimes they won’t. I think a fear does come into it. We’ll go into the situation and we’ll, either, be the new property manager or we’ve been the property manager the whole way along. However, there’s been a change of owners, and the tenants are aware of that, ’cause they’ve gone through the sale process. So, just trying to make them as comfortable as possible and be on their side about it.
It is daunting for them. Their place where they live, they’ve had people go through it. They’ve had people come in and out not knowing if they’re going to be able to continue living there or how long they’re going to be living there. Obviously, you don’t want to tell them all of their new owner secrets. We just give them as much information to make them feel comfortable about whether they are staying or as much as you can give them. Also, we go out and meet all new tenants.
If we’ve taken over a handover or a new owner’s come on our books ’cause they just bought a property, we like to go out there and meet them to start that relationship off on the right foot. Just make them feel comfortable about the situation, so they don’t have that fear of, “We might be kicked out,” or, “This is a different property manager. I don’t like this person.” So, just trying to make them feel comfortable.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah. Is it a good idea for landlords to meet the tenants? I guess that, maybe, depends on the landlord and the tenant?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah. It’s very situation dependent. Again, it’s up to the landlord. Some landlords love it and they go, “We want to,” and they think it’s really important to gain that respect from the tenants. If that’s what they want to do, absolutely. My only concern about that is that sometimes through that process the tenant will try and bypass the property manager.
A lot of the time, they’ll start contacting the owner for issues that they know aren’t necessarily allowed or taking advantage of the owner. They go, “Oh, the property manager doesn’t know. We can do this.” We’ll get the owner calling us going, “Hey, the tenant’s asking for this. We feel bad, but we don’t want to-

Mike Mortlock: I suppose a landlord can use you to be the bad guy, right?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah, that’s our job.

Mike Mortlock: That’s the prerogative of the landlord?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Well, that’s what they are paying us for, to make sure that the laws are being adhered to and that everything’s running smoothly.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah.

Kayleigh Kilgore: We have found that sometimes when the landlord meets the tenants they try to take advantage of that situation. So, they just try and pass it back onto us. A lot of the time, I don’t think it’s necessary for the owners to meet their tenants. Again, if some owners want to, absolutely. If that’s what they want to do, we can arrange that.

Mike Mortlock: When you’re buying a property that has a tenant in place and has another property manager in place, I would guess to say that the vast majority of people would say, “We’ll just leave the property management company in there, because I don’t want the hassle of doing it.” I can’t help but feel that that’s a bad idea, because you haven’t interviewed them. You haven’t seen what sort of agency they’re like. What do you think about that? If you do want to buy a property that has a PM in place and you want to bring your PM that you know and trust in, how does that work?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah, absolutely. I think a lot of the time it does happen where they just carry on with whoever’s been managing it, because it’s easy. They think, “Oh, it’ll disrupt the tenants less, and we’ll just carry on as is.” At the end of the day, you don’t know what management they’re offering you. You are just carrying on the fees that maybe the previous landlord has. There’s just so much history you don’t know, so I think it’s really important you look into that.
You’re spending a lot of money buying this investment, so maybe a couple of hours of doing a bit of research on who you want to manage it, I think, will go a long way. Also, that manager might have a really good relationship with the tenants as well, but they don’t have a relationship with you. So, how are you going to start up that relationship with the property manager as well as to they understand what your needs are for the property and what your long-term goal are as well. I think it’s very important not just to ignore that situation.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah.

Kayleigh Kilgore: As well, if you are buying a new property and you want a new property management company to take over that can be handled just as seamlessly. It’s a matter of, obviously, the new property manager coming in, advising the tenants what the intentions are, if they’re going to be signing a new lease, or what’ll be happening with the property. Myself, I would go out and meet the tenants and explain the situation. It’s very similar from one manager, even if you’ve got an existing property, one property manager taking over for another. It’s just the seamless process. We’ll go out and say, “These are the new bank account details that you’ll be paying your rent to. These will be your new inspections. This is how we operate, and this is the new lease.” It’s just giving the tenants information and feeding that back to the landlords as well. There’s processes in place to make sure that happens pretty seamlessly.

Mike Mortlock: Do you normally have to wait for that existing lease to expire with the property manager, or can a new property manager take that over?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Absolutely not. No, a new property manager can take that over. It’s different for every agency depending on what your agency agreement is. Generally, it’s 30 or 60 days’ notice you’d have to give your property manager if you’re wanting to move onto a different one. Again, that’s something the actual landlords don’t have to be involved in. They can sign an authority and give it to us, and we would deliver it on their behalf to their old property manager.

Mike Mortlock: Okay. The tenant’s lease might be, say, six months and you’re buying a property in the middle of that. The tenant maintains the rights over that lease, but that lease might go from another PM to yourself?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Absolutely.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah, okay. Interesting. When we’re buying an investment property with a tenant in place, and this is a typical situation, where maybe a rental that the tenant’s maybe been in there for two or three years. They, maybe, have been a great tenant, and the landlord’s been looking after them with rent, or the property manager’s been a bit, maybe, lazy with rental reviews. Let’s say you’re buying a property that the market rent is $400 and they’re renting for $360 or something. How do you manage the tenant getting it up to market value, or do you think that that’s not enough money to jeopardise that relationship?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Again, that’s something we see a lot happening. There’s been a tenant in there for a long period of time, and the previous owner might’ve been very generous, or they’re property manager just hasn’t pushed it. I have to go, “Hey, you’re actually not earning as much as you could be out of this property.” It’s having that new conversation with the new landlords to say, “Well, we believe it’s not quite at market value.” They might, again, met the tenant through the process of buying the property. So, having that chat with them and say, “This is where we think the property should be achieving.”
This tenant might have a great track record, and we know we want to keep them, so we might do it in small increments. Maybe every 6 or 12 months slowly get it up. Some owners might come in and go, “Nope. We’re putting it up, and we’re happy if the tenant goes.” It’s really, again, depending on their objectives and what they’re looking for for their goals. There’s different ways to manage that to make sure it’s done properly as well.
It also could be an excuse to get a bad tenant out. At the end of the day, if the tenant has been performing really badly and they’re not paying their rent, we know when we’re looking at the property we’re not too concerned about ensuring they stay. That could be going, “Alright. Well, let’s do the right procedures to get it back up.” The existing tenant might be not prepared to pay that, so therefore we can start looking for a new one.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah, okay. We’re obviously talking in New South Wales legislation here. We do have some listings in Queensland as well. In talking about New South Wales legislation is there something that stops you from, say, buying a property that’s rented for $350 and putting it up to $400 which might be market? Is there something that stops you from making a huge incremental or anti-incremental increase?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah, absolutely. It’s your lease. It could all come down to whether they’re in a fixed-term lease or they’re in an ongoing lease.

Mike Mortlock: Okay.

Kayleigh Kilgore: There’s different billings around that. You can’t put up their rent midway through a lease.

Mike Mortlock: Right.

Kayleigh Kilgore: You might buy property, and they’re on a 12-month lease, and the tenants have elected to stay. Well, therefore, you’re going to have to ride that 12 months out.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah, okay.

Kayleigh Kilgore: It’s really going to come down to your lease documents and what the previous property management has arranged.

Mike Mortlock: Yup, okay. What about the day-to-day stuff? How do you manage things like maintenance calls from tenants?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah, that’s obviously a big part of our job as well. We do get a lot of calls in regard to the maintenance because, generally, it’s a lot easier to talk through an issue than to put it into words, and it might be urgent as well. A tenant is going to call you before they spend time pulling out the computer or they’re finally writing an email. For us, obviously, we ask … We’ve got a 24-hour number. We want to be involved in all maintenance. We want to know what’s happening with our properties, so we’re very alert in regards to that.
We always say, “Give us a call. If it’s extremely urgent, we will get onto it straightaway.” Whether I’m out on the road, I’ll pull over and call the right Trades Person. We’ll do whatever we need to do to protect the property and to ensure the tenant’s safe as well. We do ask tenants, after calling us, to write us a quick email, as well, in regards to what the maintenance issue is just so we’ve got a track record in writing as well. We’ve got that written communication between both of us.
We can understand what’s going on. If it’s a non-urgent as well. A tenant might just call and say, “Hey, this is a problem, but it’s not urgent.” Just saying it’s happened, and it can be fixed next week or the week after. I’ll say, “No problem. Send me an email.” I’ll speak to the owner, or I’ll action it as soon as I get back to the office. If it’s urgent, I’ll get it sorted as soon as I can.

Mike Mortlock: Is that the hardest part of your role, managing the maintenance requests?

Kayleigh Kilgore: It’s a very big organisational part of the role. It can be really hard, but if you organise it well and you set yourself the right reminders that you are to make sure that everything’s followed up, it’s not too hard. Again, it’s just trying to coordinate the right people. You’re coordinating the repair with the tenant, the tradesperson, and also trying to keep the owner engaged as well and let them know what’s happening, if they want to know. Also, ensuring that you’re not just … We’re very strict with our trades and who we use, because you don’t want to call a tradesperson to get out there and then find out two weeks later they never went.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah.

Kayleigh Kilgore: It’s setting yourself reminders and constantly following up to make sure what you implemented actually happened just to make sure the problem’s fixed, the tenant’s happy, the owner’s happy, and the tradesperson did their job.

Mike Mortlock: Speaking of the Tradies, it’s bloody impossible to find a good tradie. I don’t think it matters where you are in Australia. Property managers must maintain good connections with tradies.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Absolutely.

Mike Mortlock: How likely is it, say for me out of the blue, to ring up a property management and say, “I need a plumber. I’m not a client of yours, but you must have a good one, right?” I’ve always thought if you need a tradie, a property manager’s probably the best person to call.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Property managers know a lot of people.

Mike Mortlock: Are you going to be withholding them, though, because you’re thinking, “Well, this guy needs to be doing my work?”

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah. It’s a hard one, ’cause there’s also a lifecycle of tradies as well, I believe, in property management. Some of them, at the start, they love it, and they get really busy. All of a sudden, they’re too busy and go, “Oh, I can do bigger and better jobs than your small tap that needs fixed or your small power point that needs fixed.” I guess you’ve got to have a really good relationship with your trades to keep them. Also, from speaking to tradespeople as well, they have advised me they often don’t get treated very nicely by property managements.

Mike Mortlock: Right. Okay.

Kayleigh Kilgore: So, they feel like they’re the bottom of the ladder in regard to that. There will be a property manager. They’ll go, “Yeah, I worked for them, but I’m not doing that anymore, because they didn’t treat me very nice.”

Mike Mortlock: Yeah.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Obviously, maintaining that positive relationship. If you called me and said, “Who’s your plumber,” I would recommend my plumber, ’cause I like him and I know you would treat him nicely. It would depend who it is as to whether I think, “Yeah, I want to put my plumber through this situation,” or, “Maybe I don’t want to pass his details on.” Yeah, obviously, they’re out there looking. If they’re out there looking for business and I think they’d do a good job, I’d love to pass their details on and help them out.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah, good. We’ll take that offer, ’cause I need a few people. What about routine inspections? How often should these be done? How do you manage the process? How is it done well, and how are property managers mucking it up and getting into trouble?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah. That’s a real interesting thing. We’ve picked up a lot of managements through bad routine bad routine inspections being done by other agencies. I think it’s something that is quite important to the owner and the landlord and, again, having a chat with the landlord about what their objectives are. Again, some of my overseas one go, “I know you’re doing them and that’s great, but I don’t want to see them.” They just trust that I’ll do them. They’re just a very hands-off people.
Where some of my other landlords, they’ll go, “We want to see everything, and we want to know everything.” It’s about, those ones, giving them as much information as possible. We go out and we take our iPads with us, and it’s all reporting on an app. We’ve got every single room we’ve got to go through. We’ve got to do a sweep from floor to ceiling walls, checking everything, and then also taking photos of any damage, and also taking photos of how they property’s being maintained as well. We give it through a PDF report. We’ll go through and we’ll spend between 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the property, out there making sure there’s nothing wrong. We obviously advise our tenants when we’re coming out. We say, “If you’re not going to be there and you’ve got any maintenance issues or any problems, leave us a little note on your kitchen bench, and we’ll pick that up.” Otherwise, we’ll go out and have a chat to the tenants if they are there and say, “What’s going on? Is there anything you’re concerned about?”
Just taking as much notes as possible as well and going through. Obviously, we’ve got tabs we’ve got to go through on our app to say, “Is it clean? Is it working? Did you test the fences, etc.?” As well, just writing as much notes. It’s just common sense as well. Looking around about how the property is being maintained.
There might be something you pick up. You might go, “Oh, there’s a bit of mould in the corner of that ceiling.” The tenant hasn’t even noticed as well, ’cause then they’re not worried about it. So, they haven’t reported it. You might go, “Is there something bigger going on?” So, you’ve just got to be really thorough and put everything else to the side and whilst you’re in that inspection, you’re doing that inspection really well. That’s where a small crack or something that you ignore can become a much bigger problem if you didn’t get onto it.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah, and that makes sense. I guess property managers and landlords would say, “Oh, that we never hear from the tenant. That’s great. They’re never complaining. They’re paying their rent,” or whatever. If there is a bit of creeping mould, or a friend of mine had something that he described as creeping death, that’s indicative that there may be a huge problem that would be a very expensive thing.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Absolutely.

Mike Mortlock: You might have an easy-going tenant, but you need a good property manager to do that inspection to say, “The tenant doesn’t really care, ’cause they’ve named the mould Albert.”

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah, they made friends with it.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah. “I think it might actually mean that there’s a leak or something that’s going to cost you a fortune down the track.”

Kayleigh Kilgore: Absolutely. Some tenants are so lovely, they don’t want to complain. They think, “Oh, we just won’t bother the agent, or we’ll just fix it ourselves.” There’s just some really great tenants out there who think the best thing. It’s actually a lot more beneficial if we can give the owner a head’s up that the gate at the front isn’t broken, but the tenant has to fix it every second day.
So, it’s pretty close to being broken. If we can give the owner a head’s up, “Hey, this is going to go in the next couple of months,” they can start going, “Alright, we’ll put money aside, so we’ve got the money to fix it.” Just the little things like that that the tenants might not pick up on. If you can run your eye over that or see if any of that’s happening, I think it’s always best to feed that information back.

Mike Mortlock: Is it common for routine inspections to be outsourced either to, maybe, junior members of the property management team or even other companies that do that on behalf of property managers?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah, it’s definitely something I’m hearing more and more of at the moment. It’s a bit of a conversation in the industry, I guess, that it’s being outsourced especially. I guess that comes down to how you feel about it and what your company policy is around inspections. At the moment, it’s not something I’m comfortable with, ’cause I believe that to manage someone’s property I need to be out there. I need to be seeing it.
It’s another excuse to go and interact with the tenants, and have a chat, and see how they’re going. From a conversation at inspection, you might hear that, oh, they’re looking to buy a house soon, so they might be looking to move out. Just trying to know as much about the property. You want to be out there and seeing and understanding what’s going on. So, it’s not something that we’re looking at at the moment, but it’s something I’ve seen a lot of agencies having implemented.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah. I guess there’s no reason why it can’t be a good thing. These people may be so specialised that they’re better than the average property manager or even better than the best property managers.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah.

Mike Mortlock: It’s that problem of you’re taking on that liability of what they’ve seen onsite. Again, those conversations that might be important to you where the tenant’s remarks like, “Oh, I’ve been looking at a place in wherever,” they think, “Ohh, we’re here for the routine inspection, so that doesn’t fit in with us.”

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah.

Mike Mortlock: Is that the biggest concern?

Kayleigh Kilgore: I guess it’s picking your strengths as well. If you’ve got a property manager who’s really good in the office and is super organised with your maintenance and everything else, but you know when you send them out to a property they’re not thorough enough to check everything, don’t send that one out to the property, obviously. Pick your strengths within your team and go, “Alright, I’m better at this. I’m going to do that part.
You’re really good at inspections, ’cause you pick up on all the weird mould and the weird things that are happening.” So, picking your strengths within your team. I think it’s really important not just to send the junior out who may not care about the property or may not know the property just ’cause it’s a job that you’ve got to tick off. It’s finding who’s going to be the best person to go do that job.

Mike Mortlock: Send the mould whisperer.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah, pretty much.

Mike Mortlock: Are there any common disputes or gripes that tenants or even landlords have that end in a big escalation? Is there anything typically that you think, I’m going to flag that, because often those things explode?” I guess late rent is.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah, I was going to say rental arrears comes to mind pretty quickly. Again, we’re very strict on that, ’cause you just have to be onto that stuff as it creeps behind. As soon as it’s a week late, a half a week late. You know when you’re getting your rent every week if they’re not paying it.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Just having that really friendly conversation with them. Say, “Hey, did you know you missed your rent,” or, “Did you know it just might not have come out of your account?” So, communicating with both sides and not just yelling down the phone at them and going, “Where’s your rent?” Trying to understand what their situation might be, so they’ll hopefully come through with the rent as well.
Those things you really need to get onto quickly ’cause, obviously, as your rental arrears builds up, it’s harder for the tenant to get back on top of. The owner is, therefore, not making any money and that could escalate pretty quickly in regards to needing to get them out of the property. You’ve got four weeks bond, so if they’re not coming back corresponding and looking at paying it, they’re rent, you don’t have too much money to play with in regards to getting on top of that.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah, that’s not a lot of leverage, is it?

Kayleigh Kilgore: No.

Mike Mortlock: Especially if there are actually some repairs that need to be done or even cleaning.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Absolutely. That’s a big-

Mike Mortlock: That can dwindle really quickly.

Kayleigh Kilgore: If you’re ending that relationship with a tenant on a bad note, they know they haven’t paid their rent and they’re avoiding you, then guaranteed they haven’t cleaned the property fairly well. They haven’t cared too much about the whole situation, so you’re going to need more than that as well. That’s, obviously, our main thing that we’re looking at. Again, there’s repairs as well. We look at some properties that need repairs. It’s understanding what is urgent and what needs to be done.
What’s maybe a want as opposed to a need as well. The landlords do need to make money out of their properties, and they don’t always have money to splash on every single thing in the property. It’s prioritising that and making sure the tenants understand that as well. They might go, “Uh, we really wanted a new washing line. We’ve wanted it for months.” They’re getting frustrated about it, but the washing line’s fine. It’s just not very pretty.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah. Right.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Having open communication both ways as to why or why not they might not be getting their requests just to ensure we’re maintaining a positive relationship.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah. Okay, so let’s say something has gone to the dogs. We’re talking tribunal. How does that work? What’s the role of the PM? How do you get paid?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yep.

Mike Mortlock: I’m guessing that that’s not part of your standard fee. It might be part of yours, but there’ll be some cheaper fees out there that it’s an add on.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah.

Mike Mortlock: How does that work, and what’s your role when something goes to the tribunal?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah, absolutely. Obviously, we are the main communication between the tenant and the landlord. Despite the situation, we’ll generally know the most about what’s happening. Relaying to the landlord what’s happening whether it’s us making an application on the landlord’s behalf to take the tenants to a tribunal, if we feel that’s necessary, or whether it’s the tenants making an application and us receiving it on behalf of the landlord, as well, to say the tenants are taking you to tribunal.
Communicating what’s happening to the landlord and having a chat to the landlord and saying, “Do you want to be appearing? Do you want to be going to tribunal, or would you prefer us to go on your behalf? What role do you want to play in this?”
Obviously, we can handle the whole situation from start to finish, and keep the landlord engaged, and let them understand what’s going on, or landlords will take the front seat of that spot and go, “No, no. We’ll take over this.” Obviously, it’s an emotional thing for them as well. It’s their property and, despite what it is, they want to be involved. So, just having an understanding of how much they want us to do in that situation. Obviously, because we have managed the property, we’ll know a lot, so we think it’s beneficial for us to be involved depending on the situation. A lot of the time, we will go to tribunal with the landlord, if they’d like to appear, and represent them or assist them in the tribunal.

Mike Mortlock: Yep. How do you get paid? Is that part of your fee? Is that normally … When a landlord is given a lease agreement you see sometimes is letting fees.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yep.

Mike Mortlock: They have a tribunal part of it. Does that typically work a certain way?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yes. We charge an extra fee to go to tribunal.

Mike Mortlock: Yep.

Kayleigh Kilgore: We charge an hourly rate to go to tribunal from leaving the office to returning to the office, ’cause it’s obviously quite a time-consuming thing. With that whole tribunal piece, it’s not just being at tribunal. It’s the leading up to it, the paperwork. We’ve got to provide the notes and everything we’ve got to have ready. That’s not covered under our management fees at all. We don’t charge for the preparation of documents for tribunal which a lot of agencies do, I understand.
We’re happy to do that. If you want us to attend, we will go. I think, as well, sometimes a lot of situations can be settled outside of tribunal, and that’ definitely our recommendation. That’s what we’d prefer. Maybe by having that fee, it sometime is more of an incentive for a landlord to just want to go to tribunal, ’cause it’s a bit exciting. They’ll go, “We’ll get this all sorted in this dramatic scene.” That might not actually have the best result. So-

Mike Mortlock: Yeah. It’s not just like Judge Judy. You’re not going to be famous.

Kayleigh Kilgore: No. No, it’s not too fun in there at all. To be honest, it’s not a situation I enjoy going to.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah. Whether you’re in the right or the wrong, it’s never fun.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah. It’s a situation you’re going into, and you don’t know how it’s going to turn out.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah.

Kayleigh Kilgore: You can have the best documents, but it might still not turn out in your favour. You could be 100% in the right but, again, it might not turn out in your favour. It’s going into an unknown situation, so I do not always think that’s the best resolve.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah.

Kayleigh Kilgore: So, let’s see if we can … By having that fee there, sometimes it can encourage a landlord to look at the other options and negotiating outside of it.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah. We’ve had Hamish the lawyer, on the podcast before, and he has the same advice for building disputes as you do for tenancy disputes.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah.

Mike Mortlock: Settle the mess outside of court.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah.

Mike Mortlock: It’s an expensive and emotionally draining business.

Kayleigh Kilgore: It 100% is. I have not been to tribunal a lot which is something I’m very happy about. The small amount of times I have been, you walk out of there exhausted, ’cause it’s such a hype up and then you’re very … It’s an intense situation.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah.

Kayleigh Kilgore: You’ve just got to be on the ball.

Mike Mortlock: Let’s talk about Newcastle where your office is and even around Australia, PMs are advertising dirt cheap management fees. Typically, there’s exclusions with those. Maybe some people are engaging in a race to the bottom where they’ve got a sales agency and they think, “Well, we’ll just get a rent roll that maybe does a bit better than break even, and we’ll get all the sales.”

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yep.

Mike Mortlock: For the others, it’s a little bit of a cunning ruse where they advertise a particular percentage, and then you have all these fees and things on to. It doesn’t include advertising. It doesn’t include site visits and ridiculous things like that. What are you seeing? What’s typical in the industry, and what should property investors watch out for?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Biggest is looking at your fees and what you’re actually getting for that. When people are comparing us, they’ll come and say, “Oh, well, the agency down the road said they’re one and half percent cheaper.” I’ll say, “That’s no problems at all. Can you advise what they’re actually offering you for that?” Not just going, “Oh, that’s their fee, and the other agency has this fee. They must be doing the same job, or one must be doing a lot better service, ’cause their fees are a lot higher.”
So, looking at what you’re actually getting for your money. Every agency has different views on how many inspections are being completed, whether they’re doing the ingoing. I’ve heard of other agencies putting that back on the owners to do it themselves during their ingoing, so it really is a fee-for-service.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah.

Kayleigh Kilgore: How many inspections you’re getting? Who’s doing your ingoing and outgoing inspections? Are they handling your maintenance, or are they going to pass your maintenance onto you? Are you handling your tradespeople? How often are you actually getting your rent money paid into your bank account? Some people do it fortnightly, some people do it monthly. Some people do it every second month. You’ve got to really look at, “What are our objectives? What do we need out of this property? Who’s going to actually try to meet those?” Not assuming that all property managers do the same, ’cause I believe every property manager offers a very different service.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah. Darren Hunter tells us to be very wary of the cheaper fees.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Absolutely.

Mike Mortlock: That’s, I guess, an endorsement of what the property manager thinks or the principal thinks their service is actually worth.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Absolutely. I think it’s-

Mike Mortlock: Are there ways that property investors can … Is there a checklist or something to say, “I need to make sure that this fee or this service is included?” What are some of the key things that typically are an exclusion on the cheap fees?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Your inspections.

Mike Mortlock: Right, okay.

Kayleigh Kilgore: How often your inspections are.

Mike Mortlock: Right.

Kayleigh Kilgore: You might get a cheaper fee, but you might be getting no inspections for that, or you might be getting an inspection once every 12 months.

Mike Mortlock: Right.

Kayleigh Kilgore: If your tenant moves in and no one goes out there for 12 months …

Mike Mortlock: There’s a lot that can go wrong.

Kayleigh Kilgore: There’s a lot that can go … You don’t know that tenant.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah.

Kayleigh Kilgore: I think that’s really important is your inspections are a big part of what you’re paying for and a big part of you to record as to how your property’s actually going.

Mike Mortlock: Yep.

Kayleigh Kilgore: That’s a very big thing for us as well. You’ve got to look at you might be paying a little bit more but, in the long run, that could be worth it to ensure your property’s being looked after.

Mike Mortlock: Getting back to Newcastle, obviously, there’s been a lot of interest in Newcastle as a property investment destination. We’ve seen a lot of things happening with the gentrification of the CBD and that sort of thing. What’s the landscape like now? Is there a good demand/supply balance? Are there not enough properties? Are there not enough tenants? Where are we sitting right now?

Kayleigh Kilgore: At the moment, we still see the demand, and we’re still managing to let our properties in a reasonable amount of time and quite quickly, I’ve noticed, recently.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah.

Kayleigh Kilgore: I have a little bit of a concern as to the more and more off-the-plan developments that you see going up around as is to the amount of apartments that will be available within the city. My concern for that period is, again, I think we’ll have a little bit too much supply and not enough demand for those. Again, that might change.
I think it’s going to be interesting in the next couple years as all these off-the-plan developments go up as to how people respond to those. It might encourage people who are living 20 or 30 minutes out to actually, as said, rent vesting and coming to the city and live there. I think it’s going to be a pretty interesting cycle as to what’s ahead.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah. Yeah, so I guess if we’re getting more supply we might see more rents come down a little bit. Maybe some of the stuff that you’re comparing with is very different to this new stuff.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah.

Mike Mortlock: Maybe the sizes are going to be different. People want the high ceilings and the old world charm that you see in some of the other places in Newcastle.

Kayleigh Kilgore: That’s the thing with Newcastle, as well, is it is a small place, therefore I am saying even professionals in the city, some of them have a need to walk to work. So, you’re going to always have people filling those apartments, but some might go, “I can live 5 or 10 minutes out and get a house for the same price I can get an apartment.”

Mike Mortlock: Yeah.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Again, it’s different objectives that we don’t see in many other cities, because we are … It’s actually not that big when you look at it and you’ve got a car.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah.

Kayleigh Kilgore: It’s very interesting to see the trends as to what … That’s what we find as well that a lot of the time people will drive an extra five minutes to have a garden and to be able to have a bit more living space.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah. On the other side, Newcastle’s getting a bit funky, right?

Kayleigh Kilgore: It is.

Mike Mortlock: It’s got a bit of a Melbourne vibe.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah.

Mike Mortlock: We’ve got brew houses. We’ve got wine bars.

Kayleigh Kilgore: We do.

Mike Mortlock: We’ve got a lot of stuff going on. How have you seen the CBD change over the last few years?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Amazing. Since we moved into CBD three years ago, every week there seems to be a new bar, or a new shop, or a new restaurant or something opening.

Mike Mortlock: Yeah.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Especially at night times, it’s just getting busier and busier. It’s really cool to see that vibe around and see people are actually … Although, there’s a lot of discussions going on about people coming to the city because of parking. I still think there are a lot of people in the city and enjoying these venues. I think it’s great.

Mike Mortlock: Yep.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah.

Mike Mortlock: We just need a bit few more Ubers or cab … I don’t want to upset cabbies. That’s a whole other-

Kayleigh Kilgore: That’s a whole other topic.

Mike Mortlock: Right.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah.

Mike Mortlock: You’re obviously still active in the mortgage banks.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah.

Mike Mortlock: Believe it or not, you’ve still got time to dabble in that as well.

Kayleigh Kilgore: I do.

Mike Mortlock: Obviously, we talked about the transition from someone saying, “Can I have some money to buy an investment? Oh, by the way, you manage them as well?”

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah,

Mike Mortlock: “That’s right. Let’s sort that out.” What happening in the mortgage space? We’ve seen a lot of changes with APRA.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Absolutely.

Mike Mortlock: Property investors are getting hammered a little bit. What are some of the key standouts for property investors that you’re seeing from the front lines?

Kayleigh Kilgore: Definitely just a change in climate. We’re looking at, now, that investors are, obviously, getting higher interest rates. They’re being penalised for interest-only loans. There’s a lot more going on. It’s not just the time to go, “Oh, I got that investment loan, and it’s ticking along. Let’s just sit and forget it.”

Mike Mortlock: Yeah.

Kayleigh Kilgore: It’s I’m trying to get in front of my clients as much as possible to review their situation, ’cause things are changing. Their interest rates are changing, and the way their loans are set up are changing. They may or may not be aware of it depending on how much they see it in the news or how often they read their mail. It’s definitely an interesting time, and it’s been great in regards to thinking how to engage their clients again, and having those conversations, and making them aware.
Making them aware, as well, that what they set up, if they set up five years ago or even a couple years ago, they could’ve had a principal interest loan or an interest-only loan, investment or an unoccupied, and your rate would’ve been the same. Explaining to them that it’s changed, their rate will go up, and why that’s changed, and then how that’s affecting it as well. It’s definitely an interesting time in the market.

Mike Mortlock: Awesome. Well, thanks for insights there. Now, I wanted to just let people know if they’re interested in getting in touch with you, Kayleigh.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Yeah.

Mike Mortlock: What’s the best way to do that?

Kayleigh Kilgore: The best way, obviously, we’ve got our office in Hunter Street, Newcastle and just through our website or our Facebook channels or my phone number as well is always available. Yeah, any of those channels. We try to make ourselves very contactable.

Mike Mortlock: Awesome. We appreciate that. Just to finish up, if there’s one piece of advice you could impart to landlords or property investors, what would that be?

Kayleigh Kilgore: So many. Just be aware of what’s happening and don’t sit and forget.

Mike Mortlock: Right.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Your investment property is obviously something that there’s someone living in and it’s not just an asset you put there and forget about. Check in with your property manager just to make sure that your property hasn’t been forgotten. It hasn’t been left off the inspection list. Just be aware of what’s happening to make sure you’re getting your rent. Obviously, you’re not managing it yourself. Your property manager is managing it, but being in touch and having a good relationship with them as well just to ensure that your property is always being looked after.

Mike Mortlock: Awesome. I think that’s great advice. Thanks very much for coming in.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Thank you.

Mike Mortlock: We very much appreciate it.

Kayleigh Kilgore: Thank you.

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