PIPA Member Profile | George Kafantaris

Mar 2023Karen Millers

George Kafantaris was one of the first QPIA®’s in the country and now heads up CBS Proeprty Group – a specialist property management service”


| CAN YOU PLEASE TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS?
I am the Director of CBS Property Group, a property management service that supports tenants and investors in Southeast Queensland and Gladstone.

The business consists of myself and a team of 17 that includes 12 dedicated property managers. We manage over 1500 properties and support a range of domestic and international clients.

Our continual growth and success are owed to the professional, prompt, and transparent property management service our clients have grown to love.

Being focused solely on property management means we are able to serve all stakeholders better, whether that means providing a better-quality experience for tenants, creating greater yields for landlords or developing opportunities for our referral partners.

The human connection is important to us. As well as serving our clients, we are motivated to establish strong partnerships, so we can elevate the status of the entire property investment industry.


| HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A PROPERTY INVESTMENT PROFESSIONAL AND WHAT WAS YOUR PATHWAY INTO THE PROFESSION?
It was personal experience that drew me to property management.

I built my original career as a Chartered Accountant, working in organisations including PricewaterhouseCoopers and making my way to director level.

While I was developing this career, I was a frustrated property investor. I noticed there was a lack of coherence and collaboration amongst service providers, which was wasting my time and money (and I like to keep track of money).

Eventually, I left accounting to join the real estate industry. I achieved my full licence in 2003 and my initial foray into the industry was as a buyer’s agent. It was an honour to be named Buyer’s Agent of the Year four times in a row by the readers of Your Investment Property Magazine.

As a buyer’s agent, it’s natural to liaise with investors. I saw the same frustration I was experiencing around the lack of holistic services. It was also clear that property managers were treated as a lesser “side business” of sales-focused agencies, which made it difficult for them to do a good job.

There was no denying the need for a specialist service that streamlines the property investing experience and takes additional steps to ensure investors maximise their returns.This led me to explore property management more seriously and I have never looked back.


| WHAT ARE SOME OF THE REASONS WHY YOU JOINED PIPA?
The rules and best practices of property investing are constantly evolving.

I joined PIPA in 2009 because even though there were far fewer regulations, I could see the direction
the industry was headed in. Back then, almost anyone could tell people how to invest, where to invest, and what type of property to invest in but I knew certifications and credibility markers would be important before too long.

PIPA was ahead of the curve and that impressed me. The founders genuinely wanted to help safeguard investors against poor advice and creating the stringent guidelines that PIPA members must adhere to has helped to serve this purpose.


| YOU RECENTLY RENEWED YOUR PIPA MEMBERSHIP. CAN YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN SOME OF THE REASONS WHY?
Even though property management is growing as a niche, I believe that there is still a lack of transparency.

First and foremost, clients ask, “What are your fees?”. While fees are important, they shouldn’t be the deciding factor. After all, fees can be significantly offset by:

* Minimising vacancy
* Achieving the highest possible rent
* Ensuring rental arrears are as close to zero as possible
* More regular distribution of rent (so it can sit in the investor’s account, not the agency’s)
* Preventative maintenance
* Quality tenant selection
* Strategies that increase the value of the property

Low fees can sometimes end up costing investors more. I want CBS Property’s clients to have better visibility when it comes to achieving long-term results.

While we take the time to work through such items as their insurance and quantity surveying with them and keep detailed and accurate records on their behalf, we also connect them with other providers such as brokers and accountants, if required. These professionals provide additional support by reducing holding costs and identifying other ways to save money.

As a PIPA member, I know I can rapidly connect CBS with quality providers who have the right skills and can be trusted.


| YOU WERE ONE OF THE FIRST QPIA®’S IN AUSTRALIA. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO COMPLETE THE TRAINING IN 2009 AND WHY SHOULD EXISTING AND NEW ENTRANTS IN THE INDUSTRY DO SO THEMSELVES?
I think I was amongst the first 10 to complete the QIPA qualifications. I took the course because I wanted to prove to my clients that I can provide more value and a higher level of service.

The qualification helps reverse the sometimes-negative image of the property management industry. This reputation has been created by operators who are only interested in the quick bucks that come from an over-inflated portfolio and not enough hands-on deck. It’s a house-of-cards approach that never lasts for long.

Demonstrating a QIPA qualification gives peace of mind to clients. I recommend it to all industry professionals who have trust as one of their key values.


| YOU HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN PROPERTY INVESTMENT FOR A LONG TIME NOW, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MAJOR CHANGES YOU HAVE SEEN DURING YOUR CAREER?
This year is my 20th year in the property industry. Over the last two decades, I have gone from phone
calls and faxes to emails, apps, and instant messaging.

Technology is a double-edged sword. It has levelled the playing field with regard to information, but it
has also upped the pressure when it comes to delivering responses. These days, even a 24-hour wait is too long, and it is up to providers to find ways to mitigate this.

Sometimes the human connection becomes lost; you can realise you have been dealing with someone for weeks but not actually spoken to them. As a result, there can be a lot of burn-out in the industry.

However, I have also witnessed how the use of AI and digital platforms have opened the door to an ever-increasing level of professionalism for those who are genuinely serious about doing the best for their clients.


| WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOUR BUSINESS IN THE NEXT 12 MONTHS AND BEYOND?
After the stress of the pandemic, it’s good to feel excited about the future again.

CBS Property Group believes that property management should never be purely transactional. My team and I will continue to appreciate the fact that we are being trusted with our clients’ dreams.

Business as usual for us means maintaining the human connection, remaining humble, and always asking, “What else can we do for you?”

In terms of growing towards what’s next, our focus is on being crystal clear about why we do what we do and working with referral partners who trust us to proactively and efficiently manage dozens or even hundreds of their clients’ properties.

Originally Published: PIPA Adviser Issue #27

https://www.pipa.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/PIPA-Adviser27.pdf

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