18 Jun 2020

Life after COVID: What learnings can we take from the last 90 days?

Blackburne Property Management’s Business Development Manager Adrijana Servel,  gives a debrief of how the team has come out the other side of COVID-19.

Perth’s rental market had started to show real signs of recovery in 2020, with rents beginning to increase and the continuance of a low vacancy rate, showing signs of growth for the months to come. The one thing I have said to my clients on countless occasions is even if I had a magic crystal ball to see into the future, I would not have seen nor predicted COVID, it was a pandemic that shook not only the world but the overall economy.

It would be selfish to say that COVID only taught us one thing, because in fact it taught us many. Learning to be grateful and appreciating the little things and teaching ourselves to quickly adapt to an extraordinary situation we have not encountered in over 100 years. We are fortunate enough to be in an evolved world where technology has aided us, the media has updated us and people have supported us, working together to eradicate a pandemic, and teaching us to have respect for one another.

“Coming together as a team to get the job done – albeit remotely”

For our clients, our team has worked exceptionally hard both from home and in the office. We had to quickly adapt to the social distancing requirements, cut back from open homes to one on one private appointments, seeing the overall economy shift and our level of activity soften on the leasing prospect.

The Property Managers have worked hard to be across the new COVID legislation adjoining the RTA (Residential Tenancies Act), educating both our landlords and tenants about the do’s and don’ts, ensuring they were not wrapped up in all the irrelevant media noise and providing them with clear and concise information. We had conducted our routine inspections and some home opens via a video call, had practiced extreme hygiene methods both inside and outside the office and amongst all this had managed to successfully launch our most recent project at Marina East in Ascot.

Adapting not to just survive, but to thrive.”

While this was a once in a lifetime learning curve that we will remember, it will shock you to know the WA residential rental market did not fall the way most predicted it would. Once COVID slowed down we saw a surge in leasing activity, rents had continued to climb, and our vacancy rate had continued to fall. Our retention for existing leases were maintained and our team became stronger and more supportive than before towards one another and our clients. The key component that drove this outcome was the incomparable team work we had demonstrated, always keeping in close communications despite working from home, yet ensuring we could still have a laugh and some fun along the way, regardless of the negativity being expelled into the world.

The biggest lesson we can take from the last 90 days (in my biased opinion) is recognising the human element in all of this. Learning to respect, support and work together through these times, appreciating each other and being grateful for the time we have amongst each other. The human element is one major factor that drives an economy, so share a smile and a “COVID hi5” to show your appreciation and support for one another.

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