For a decade and a half, Ray White Carrum Downs has been servicing south-east Melbourne with the sort of local-minded, family-oriented ethos that makes an agency a real part of the community. From their central location amidst the local shopping centre, the team, headed by founder and director David Carroll and trust accountant and administrator Margaret Dillon, have built a business based on honesty, reliability, and quality service.And for the last seven of those 15 years, senior property manager Ebony Jurgens has been a core part of the team. In her time at the agency, she’s seen office renovations, changes in staff, been on three rounds of maternity leave, and demonstrated her experience in handling a range of different responsibilities: from training, trust accounting, and tech work to managing VCAT disputes.Ebony entered real estate in 2009, beginning her career in the Melbourne CBD as a receptionist and office and commercial management assistant. She later made the shift to Leasing Agent, before eventually settling into the role of Property Manager. And while the agencies she’s worked for and the number of properties she’s managed have differed over the years, it’s fair to say she’s seen her share of what this dynamic industry has to offer.So when Ray White Carrum Downs made the move from Gateway to Console Cloud earlier this year, we were keen to find out what she thought.
Ray White Carrum Downs decided to make the move to Console Cloud due to a list of factors that will be very familiar to many users of server-based software. They wanted to save on digital storage space, reduce the frequency and impact of server crashes, and make working from home—or anywhere else—simple and frictionless.They’d seen the software before and had talked about making a move in the future. But increasing issues with their server’s stability and the cost of storing an ever-growing amount of data meant the move would have to happen sooner rather than later.Fortunately, with a well-established, secure, and straightforward migration pathway from Gateway to Console Cloud, once the decision was made, things went quickly and smoothly.As with any migration, there was an adjustment period, but Ebony did all the right things to ensure she and the Ray White Carrum Downs team hit the ground running. She took full advantage of all the training modules and videos on offer to prepare herself for the transition, and she had plenty of questions for the service team who carefully managed the migration.“There were hiccups, but nothing I saw as major,” says Ebony. “I’m not afraid to ask if I don’t understand something. The service team was always lovely and polite and helpful in working out the new processes.”
Now, having used Console Cloud since 2019, Ebony couldn’t be happier about the savings the office is making—and not just on server-induced headaches.“The workflows are streamlined and have made things much easier and faster, which has been great,” she says. Console Cloud gives me the spare time I can use for other tasks, like keeping the portfolio as up to date as possible.”Ebony’s busy schedule has also benefited from Console Cloud’s dashboard, which shows her exactly what she has on that day, week, and month, aiding her in managing her time more effectively.And with an owner’s portal that offers landlords self-serve access to statements, Ebony and the Ray White Carrum Downs team can focus more on providing higher-value services instead of simply relaying information.On a more personal note, Console Cloud has also provided an important extra measure of safety for Ebony during the COVID-19 outbreak.“I love the integration with Forms Live and DocuSign. I have an immune disorder, so I’ve been avoiding contact with people and DocuSign has made everything so much easier. Most people prefer it now too.”
The switch to Console Cloud has also helped Ray White Carrum Downs deal with the unfortunate but often inevitable challenges of being in property management. When the agency found themselves dealing with a difficult tenant who ceased to pay rent after her flatmate moved out, the software’s focus on transparency of information proved to be an effective asset in Ebony’s arsenal at tribunal.“The timelines were our saviour,” says Ebony. “They gave us a detailed chronology, not only of every missed payment but each failed attempt to reach out to the tenant and come to some sort of mutually beneficial solution.” Ultimately, this contributed to the agency being granted possession.“I was able to use the arrears timeline to show it was not until she resided alone that rent stopped coming in, and the communications timeline to show we made every effort to work with her,” says Ebony.Fortunately, tenants in arrears are the exception rather than the rule for Ray White Carrum Downs, particularly since the agency has also adopted use of Console Pay. This optional add-on allows tenants to pay rent via direct debit, ensuring the right amount always gets paid on time. Not only does this mean that Ray White Carrum Downs can offer their tenants a simple set-and-forget payment system, but it also provides an extra layer of income security for landlords.
Ultimately for Ebony, good property management software should make it easy to access all the information and notes property managers need in one place, allowing them to complete tasks quickly and easily.
“I wanted a program that helps me, my colleagues, and my peers work smarter and not harder, and with less stress. With the implementation of Console Cloud, I can see that.”