With a career spanning decades, our Director of Property Management, Paula Matlock, is highly esteemed in the real estate industry. Delivering unparalleled service to our clients as well as successfully managing the growth and development of the property management department, Paula is integral to the success of Marshall White. Paula recently took some time out of her busy schedule to give us an insight on the changes she has witnessed in the industry, her own career journey and what home means to her.
Can you give a summary of your experience in real estate and property management?
I started working in real estate in 1985 and since then I’ve worked in multiple facets of the industry, from managing departments to consulting, through to a brief stint in sales. I followed James Tostevin from a previous company to Marshall White in 2004 and in 2007 took over the reins of Property Management.
Describe your current role with Marshall White.
My role as director of the property management (PM) department has me overseeing the growth and development of our 32 people strong team, with a management portfolio of 2,200 properties.
What are some of the innovations you have seen or been involved in during your career with Marshall White?
Technology has instigated many changes over the years. As a company that places a high value on delivering personalised customer service we have been hesitant to introduce any technologies that may impede the human element of our business. Since embracing it as a tool to assist our client experience rather than replace it, it has allowed us to improve our efficiencies and provide more time to focus on our client facing activities.
In particular over the last couple of years the PM department has worked hard to eliminate the use of paper and are almost completely paperless. I am very proud of this as I am forever conscious of the little things we can do to protect and sustain our environment.
What are your personal thoughts on the 2018 property market for owners and renters? Trends or anything interesting you’ve observed?
The investment market has slowed somewhat recently with a greater number of apartments being purchased by owner occupiers rather than investors. This has affected the MWOne area of our PM department. The profile of property we look after in MW is quite different – these are mostly properties that have been the client’s own home and they have moved interstate, overseas, upgraded or downsized. There is a more personal attachment to these properties, so the management requirement is different. We also see properties purchased with the view to the owner intending to occupy in the future. Quite often in this instance we see the owner as a renter of one of our properties while renting out another.
How do you empower or inspire your team members to strive for success in their roles?
I have never been a micro manager, rather I’ve endeavoured to be there to support and encourage team members to grow and be the best they can in their roles. I help them see opportunities to advance into other areas or develop new skills.
What’s one piece of advice you wish you’d been given early in your career?
I wish I realised earlier that I didn’t need to be everything to everyone. I was hard on myself if I felt I had let one of my team members down by not recognising their needs. I spread myself too thin and therefore was not providing the team with the support they needed. I then restructured and developed teams within the team. They became supportive of each other and natural leaders came to the surface.
What challenges have you experienced that helped you progress in your career the most?
Having a voice in a male dominated world! Not being afraid to speak up and defend my views and my team.
What sort of value does a PM add to an owner? Why are they essential?
A good PM has in depth knowledge of the legislation and the market, as well as the ability to negotiate on behalf of owner without emotion, while working towards a win win situation for all parties.
What sets Marshall White property managers apart from the rest?
The PM’s at MW are experienced in all facets of PM while specialising in their geographical area. They are career PMs who love to excel and deliver a customer and client experience second to none, therefore providing our clients with ease of mind.
What does the idea of home mean to you? What makes a good home? What do you look for? What are your tips for making a property feel like a home?
I love homes that are full of the personality of the family. You can feel it as soon as you walk in. They are not presenting a sterile environment but one that is full of warmth.
Tell us a little bit about your own home and the area that you live in and what makes it special to you? What are your favourite local cafes or stores?
Our home has changed somewhat in the last couple of years. While the house remains the same we have had our two oldest boys move out and my husband moved to LA, leaving just four of us and Freddie the Pugalier. It’s so much quieter than its hay day when all seven of us were at home (and throw in a girlfriend or two). We live in an area of Kew that is on the edge of Abbotsford, Richmond and Hawthorn West. We love it for the convenience to the 109 and 48 tram to school, the MCG, Victoria Street restaurants and the city. My husband and I also love to exercise so having The Boulevard for cycling and The Yarra for walking and running on our doorstep is just perfect.