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Property Management

Fresh Start – Melanie Hoten Interview

It takes a special kind of person to be a property manager, and Ray White
Damerell Group have found a star performer in Melanie Hoten
The raft of new legislation that’s currently being rolled out relating to landlords’
responsibilities to provide a safer and healthier environment for their tenants
is increasing the workload on property managers around the country, but it’s a
responsibility that Melanie Hoten, Ray White Damerell Group’s latest recruit,
is more than happy to take on.
“I love it. I’m all for it,” she says. “It’s definitely a positive move. It’s a lot more
work for us, but in the long term it will raise the standard of rental properties
across the board.”
Based out of the Ray White’s Stonefields office, Hoten has been taken on to
establish a new property management team from scratch, and she’s relishing
the task.
“It’s a great opportunity to start from the ground up, ensuring that these new
legislations, systems and philosophies are engrained right from the outset,”
she says. “By this time next year, I hope to have another person in the office
and have at least 100 properties between us. Over and above that, though,
it’s about building up a strong business, built on happy clients who are
referring us to their friends and colleagues.”
Hoten lives and breathes property management, having started in the
business straight from school. “It has been my focus and my career; having
strengthened my skill set from being an administrator in my first ever role in
the industry through to being a general manager in my most recent role;
sharing my knowledge and training others to be the best property managers
they can be.”
A Perfect Fit
Her recent change in career came about after a meeting with Gower
Buchanan (Director) and Aaron Haabjoern (CEO) of Damerell Group Property
“Once I’d met with Gower and Aaron, it was a no brainer, because their
visions very much align with mine – that is, to ensure we bring a new
perception into property management, specifically into the customer services
side of the business; that our landlords are treated with the respect that they
deserve and are receiving a quality service, similarly the tenants; and
generally raising the bar in the industry – not just being satisfied with OK.”
The feeling was mutual.

“When we found out Melanie was looking to move into the next phase of her
career, we were super excited to talk to her about having her join us,” says
Buchanan. “Ray White Damerell Group is all about attracting and employing
really great people – and great people make great property managers. A good
property manager not only helps investors generate a solid return on their
investment, but also ensures their tenants have safe, dry warm homes to live
in,” adds Buchanan.
Quality Not Quantity
One of the ways Hoten intends to ensure her landlords and tenants alike are
given the attention they need and are treated well is to cap the number of
properties each of her team members manages, to around a 100. “I’ve learnt
this from experience,” she says. “At one point in my career I was managing
over 300 properties and was doing a less that satisfactory job because of it. It
was something that was well learnt from and from now on it’s going to be
quality rather than quantity.”
Hoten’s mantra is ‘commitment, reliability and follow through’. She says it’s
about communication with property owners and doing the things you say
you’re going to do; it’s about finding solutions and options – that’s why they
hired her.
“It’s a fine balancing act, though, because we’re here as the tenants’
advocate, too,” she says. “It’s our responsibility to ensure our tenants’ rights
are being met. We don’t stand for landlords who aren’t interested in meeting
legislation and what they should be doing. For example, if a landlord refused
to provide a home that meets basic health and safety requirements, then I
would consider not taking them on.”
Her hands-on experience working with tenants, coupled with her expertise
surrounding legislation and compliance, and her knowledge on the
practicalities of owning an investment property puts Hoten in a unique position
– one which Buchanan clearly recognised when he created this new position
for her.
“The good news for our clients – landlords and tenants, alike – is that with
Melanie on board we can now offer an excellent level of service for the
eastern side of Auckland,” says Buchanan. “And if you add to that the support
structure that we already have in place, here in Ponsonby – accountancy,
marketing, compliance and team culture – it all adds up to a significant step
forward for us in the property management side of our business.”