This week we introduce Francesca Vickery, Head of Property Management, who takes the lead when it comes to delivering our fully managed property solutions.
Here she offers a unique insight into what it takes to become a Townends Property Manager – demonstrating what the lettings team do (and how well they do it) as they manage your most valuable commercial assets.
How long have you worked with Townends?
I have worked with Townends since 2013 – the very beginning of my property career.
How has your role changed over time?
I was eager to progress and liked the field of Lettings and Property Management from the beginning. I like to think I showed interest and initiative, so it was not long before I was invited to join an intensive skills development programme.
The Townends team is a happy one, but we work hard to be as good as we are. I knew that if I wanted to do well, I had to put the work in. The good thing is that at Townends’ on-the-job training is obligatory and positively encouraged – we aim to learn something useful every day.
With regular specialist training, it was not long before I was promoted from Trainee Property Manager, and over a seven-year period I gained practical experience and learned what I needed to become the company’s Head of Property Management. This is something I am really proud of and thankful for.
My career success is the result of my own line managers’ efforts also. They always encouraged and dedicated time and effort to developing their team members. We needed to know what we were doing at all times and offer great customer service at all times.
My development experience mirrors how I manage my own team today. As a team leader myself, I know how important it is to develop and mentor talented staff in the same way. Our ultimate goal is to make sure that the landlords we serve get the best possible service.
Equally important to me, as Department Head, is to make sure that the staff that serve our landlord clients are skilled, well informed and know how to get a good job done on time and to the satisfaction of the client.
I work with a fantastic bunch of people, and greatly enjoy helping my team grow and develop in much the same way I did.
Day to day, what does your role involve?
I am responsible for developing, leading and optimising the output of my regional team of Property Managers. In short, I have to make sure that we deliver an exceptional service to our clients.
Constantly monitoring our service output is key. We have to be 100% competent, well-trained and ready to offer expert advice regarding management and live compliance issues whenever needed. It’s no small task.
Because training is a big part of what we do, learning programmes are created and modified as things change. These range from classroom sessions to 1-1 coaching. At Townends, we pride ourselves on being ahead of the game, so I personally train and coach my team on the latest systems and processes we have in place.
We are also very KPI focused. By measuring performance, we efficiently and strategically deliver the very best lettings services in the market. We work with landlords to make their letting experience a smooth and profitable one.
Across our portfolio, we manage multiple different property types throughout London and Surrey, always ensuring they remain safe, comfortable and compliant.
Property Managers service hundreds of landlords in our area. Townends’ Fully Managed and Fully Managed Plus services continue to grow in popularity as new and existing landlords realise how much easier life is with an efficient and dedicated lettings partner on board.
What in-house expertise do you have?
Every member of the team is an expert in their field. My Property Managers understand every aspect of the letting process. From talking tenants through basic repairs that they may be responsible for, to organising repairs and replacements where required, we offer the human touch in all negotiations. We work to achieve the best outcomes for the property owner, regardless of the challenge.
How important is the relationship with your clients?
We take the time and build direct relationships with our landlords. This enables us to assess and review their properties while we get to know their tenants. By doing this we gain a full understanding of the status quo so that we can deal with issues with the minimum disruption when challenges arise.
What do you most enjoy about your work?
I personally love the satisfaction of a job well done – knowing that we are truly taking care of our clients. I particularly like being able to resolve client challenges. With property ownership comes issues that can be stressful. This is particularly true if you are a landlord and the property in question is a rental one. In this scenario, you are concerned not just for your tenant’s welfare but also for the security of your investment.
The best bit is knowing that my team and I can help relieve this burden – it is good to know that our job helps to make people’s lives easier.
How do the systems and process Townends have in place assist you in supporting landlords and tenants?
We are constantly reviewing our processes and thinking ‘is there a better way to do this?’ We have an excellent property management system that allows the team to structure and schedule what they need to do and when they need to do it.
We employ an ever-evolving system of development and service improvement, and we adapt and adjust our services to meet the exact needs of the Accidental, Planned or Portfolio Landlord.
A benefit of working for Townends is that they put their landlords first and are always looking to invest in new technologies to ensure properties and tenancies are safe and compliant.
A great example of this would be the investment made into our Fixflo software – this has brought so many great benefits to our landlords and their tenants. Due to the detailed nature of the reporting, we are often able to resolve issues on the first contractor visit, minimising cost, hassle and time.
We also have the benefit of INEX Property Solutions – our partner brand and maintenance company. Our close relationship with INEX means landlords benefit from easy access to professional contractors who service electrical, gas safety and general maintenance requirements.
What is the best bit of advice you have been given?
Working in property management is all about the people. Employ the right people to work well within your team and make sure all your property managers are approachable, solutions-driven and calm – they need to know how to solve problems quickly and efficiently.
Our people are at the heart of our business. Happy, empowered and motivated staff will always deliver the best service. I strive to build the best possible team in order to deliver high quality property management.
What are your top three attributes that allow you to succeed in your role?
Being approachable, solutions focused and calm.
What is your favourite thing about working for Townends?
I love the company’s passion for being the best, and how deeply my team cares about their landlords and tenants. Together, we are truly committed to our business.
Why should a landlord use your services?
Townends employs property experts, each trained extensively over a five-year period. Their in-depth understanding of the lettings market, logistics of maintenance, and compliance and regulatory considerations is second to none. We invest in people and dedicate extensive time and effort. The result? Excellently trained staff.
You can be assured that Townends’ property management and lettings services are the best in the market. You need great people for a great outcome, and our Fully Managed and Fully Managed Plus property management services offer you the peace of mind and financial efficiency you need.