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Building a rent roll worth owning
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09 August 2023
A seasoned property manager, Emma Blake has been helping investors manage their rental properties and tenants find great homes for over two decades.
But when she found herself doing end-of-month the day after her daughter was born, she thought to herself ‘this isn’t the life that I want’. And so in 2017, the team at Ray White Pittwater Property decided to sell their rent roll.
It’s easy to see why Emma wanted out.
“I was sick of doing all the accounting side of things. You’ve got the constant stress of keeping yourself and your properties compliant, all the while you’ve got piles of admin just to keep the trust account balanced and the business running,” she said.
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I didn’t have time for the really rewarding work like building relationships with customers and growing the business – let alone making sure I had enough time to spend with my family after work

Emma Blake, Principal, Ray White Pittwater Property

Getting back on the horse: you own the rent roll, it doesn’t own you

In 2019, Emma decided to try again – but with a vision of doing things differently. She co-founded Ray White Pittwater Property with the goal to build a profitable rent roll without being taken hostage by it.
“We didn’t like the idea of buying a rent roll, because you also buy the associated problems that come with that,” she said. “So it grew organically from the start.”
But progress was slow. Organic growth yielded better managements, but it was hard to get momentum.
Then she had a breakthrough.

The next big thing in property management technology

While Emma was doing some work with Ray White Batemans Bay, she stumbled on a different kind of property management.
“I was helping coach the property manager there, and she started using Ailo,” said Emma. “It’s a digital-first approach to payments and accounting, with less risk. The landlord can be paid anytime from the click of a button on their phone.”
Instead of only paying into a trust account, renters also had the option to pay through Ailo via direct debit, credit card or debit card. Management fees were deducted automatically, and the remainder went straight to the investor within minutes of the payment clearing.
By minimising the dependency on the trust account – and all the receipting, reconciling, manual disbursements, and end-of-month admin that goes with it – she could see how Ailo was breathing new life into their team.
“I saw what it did for their business, and I thought ‘that’s exactly what I need, too’,” she said.
It was the final piece in the puzzle for building a better rent roll without all the baggage she was trying to avoid.
Finally she could own the rent roll, and not be owned by it.

A rent roll without the headaches

It didn’t take long to see the same benefits unfold in her own business.

“I haven’t had a single tenant in arrears since being on Ailo. The goal was always to be under 4%. Now the goal is 0%”

Emma Blake, Principal, Ray White Pittwater Property
In addition to more consistent cash flow, her clients also love being able to access their funds within minutes of a tenant paying rent and check in on how their property is doing at any time on their app.
“The sooner they get their money, the less it costs them interest which is important for our clients in the current market,” she said.
“The daily questions I used to get from landlords like ‘can you send me a copy of my statement, or ‘has my tenant paid yet’ – they don’t need me to do that anymore. They can just get it off the app.
“Those little things add up to a lot of time back.”
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“We’ve come back to property management in the last 12 months, and it’s been great. I don’t have those headaches anymore,” said Emma. “And that’s only really because of Ailo to be honest.”

The future is bright

Emma is confident she won’t be missing any more time with her family or growth in her business.

If I couldn’t use Ailo anymore I wouldn't have property management. Hand on heart, I would not do property management at all. management at all.

Emma Blake, Principal, Ray White Pittwater Property
We spoke to Emma while she was on her boat with her family enjoying another beautiful sunny day in Pittwater. Her new approach to property management is already giving her back that time to go out and enjoy life outside of work, too.
We love to see it Emma, enjoy the sunshine! ☀️