Meet Susan, Owner and Principal Licensee
Susan Henley: My Journey into Property Management from London to Australia
Hi, I’m Susan Henley and I’m the owner and Principal Licensee of Palm Property Management. This is my story:
My career in Real Estate began with one of three interviews for my first permanent job in London. I interviewed for positions in three very different industries – real estate, recruitment, and education. It’s pretty incredible how the decisions you make at that early stage of life have such an influence on the rest of your life.
To my surprise, when I got offered all three positions, I had a choice to make which I took very seriously. What did I want to do with my life? Which industry would turn out to be the best match for my skills, interests, and strengths? Here I was, with three doors to choose from. Three career paths to walk down. Not knowing where any of them would take me, but knowing that whichever one I took, I would most likely be walking away from the other two.
My First Property Management Job
I ended up taking the property management position because the owner of the company Giovanni Nico, was very kind and supportive, and it just seemed like a terrific company to work for. It turned out to be a great choice, and I worked there until I left the UK to move to Australia. During my employment with them, and with Giovanni’s complete support, I embarked on a university degree. I chose to do this while working full time and spent four long years juggling my job and an ever-increasing workload of university assignments, presentations, examinations and all the craziness that comes with being a student. In the end, it paid off, I left with a University of London Honours degree that has stood me in good stead for the rest of my career.
During these first years, I fell in love with the real estate industry and came to learn that I cared very much for the properties and people I was responsible for. I recognized how important each property is to the investor, and that my role wasn’t just to collect rent and process papers. My job was also to preserve and prolong the well-being of the property itself.
Moving to Australia to Start My Family
I met Scott (my husband) in 2008 – we were both on the same tour group in South America – what are the odds! I visited Australia in 2009 and fell in love with everything Australian. I decided to move here soon after. We married in 2010 and we now have two young kids, Samantha (5) and Oliver (2).
We live in Mooloolaba and consider ourselves extremely lucky to be able to call this beautiful part of the world home.
My Property Management Career
Spending almost two decades in Property Management dealing with people’s homes and livelihoods, it would be safe for me to say that have shared with my clients (Investors and Tenants) all stages of life. The joys of birth and marriage, the pain of separation and bereavement and everything in between.
I have also witnessed a vast array of Investment Property events. From minor maintenance matters to burnt down houses, collapsed roofs and major storm damage. From dealing with building defects and lodging lengthy but successful insurance claims to winning tribunal cases (saving my client $7,500.00 at the last case I attended).
However, there is one event that stands out for me – where the care I showed resulted in saving the tenant from horrific injury or possible death.
A tenant called late one afternoon, telling us that water was trickling in through the light fixture in his back bedroom, right above their bed.
For me, alarm bells went off immediately. I organized an electrician and plumber to attend within the hour. I also dropped everything I was doing and visited the property to inspect the situation myself – as is my habit in matters of this urgency.
When I arrived, the ceiling was bowing slightly. The hot water system in the roof cavity was leaking until the plumber was able to turn off the water supply. I knew that the issue has been handled by the electrician and plumber and that the tenants were on their way to getting a replacement hot water system. However, the bowing ceiling concerned me greatly. I advised the tenant that they did not have permission to enter the bedroom and emailed them the same instruction within minutes of leaving their home (therefore covering liability for the investor).
At around 9:30 pm that night, a large part of the bedroom ceiling collapsed.
Had I not gone down to assess the situation firsthand and had just left the electrician and plumber on schedule to attend, the tenant would have unknowingly used the room as their bedroom and could have been very badly injured or even killed, as the collapsed section of ceiling was directly above the bed they slept in.
Had the tenant still chosen to sleep in the bed after I instructed them verbally not to do so but not put anything in writing to them, the liability claim against the investor that followed would have been the result of my negligence as an agent.
Everyone and Everything Matters – Investors, Tenants, and the Property
CARE – that is what defines my career. No matter what’s going on at a property, be it mould, pests, plumbing, electrical, appliances, water leaks, yard issues, or anything else – it affects the tenant living there in a very personal way. And it affects the investor because part of their livelihood and future financial stability is intertwined with this property.
I want both parties to have the most enjoyable and rewarding experience possible. The story above encapsulates the reasons why I CARE, because smaller versions of that story play out all the time that requires that same level of care each time. Issues occur. Often with no one at fault. But still, someone must be relied upon and trusted to take care of it when it does.
As the owner of Palm Property Management, that ‘someone’ is me, and I love it. I want my clients to experience a version of property management, unlike anything they’ve found elsewhere. A service that is responsive, proactive, and aware of what’s going on at the property. A person who cares about the property as if it were their own.
If you would like to hear more about working with me, Susan Henley, and Palm Property Management, simply click the button below and contact us to discuss your property needs today.
New investors who have never rented out property before are especially welcome!