Spotlight on Strata profiles strata managers across Australia who are making a difference in the lives of strata communities. Here, we shine the spotlight on Tim Sara, Associate Director of Strata Choice.
Tim Sara and his team of strata managers are getting their lives back.
The Associate Director at Strata Choice credits new technology with reducing meeting commitments and saving each team member up to15 hours per week.
Over the past 35 years, Strata Choice has grown from the kitchen table of company founder Maria Linders to employing more than 100 people in four office locations across Sydney, servicing over 24,000 property owners. It remains a family-owned company with Maria’s sons Daniel and Geoff in senior leadership roles.
Tim joined Strata Choice straight out of high school in 2009. As Associate Director he now manages a team of 13 including strata managers and support staff.
“My main goal in life is always to be consistently learning and strata management keeps me on my toes,” he said.
“From managing disputes among property owners to resolving financial and legal matters and planning building remedial works, it’s a career that presents a broad range of challenges.
“Strata management makes a difference because we’re looking after people’s homes and investments.
“When you have a whole lot of people who don’t know each other living together in the same building, our role as strata managers to remove challenges and create harmony can have a massive impact on their lives.”
Tim was recently a finalist in the Senior Strata Community Manager of the Year category in the Strata Community Association (NSW) 2020 Strata Community Awards.
He said Covid-19 had created a steep learning curve for his team.
“A huge portion of the population being told to work from home put unprecedented strain on buildings and made residents more aware of maintenance requirements,” he said.
“Renovation activity increased, bringing with it the associated administrative processes to approve building works.
“Financial management also became more challenging. Property owners were financially stressed and Strata Choice did a lot of work around the impact of job and investment losses on the payment of levies.
“We established a dedicated page on our website to cater for financial hardship applications and worked with strata committees to establish payment plans. Where people were suffering we did everything we could to support them through a difficult time.”
Tim said the challenge of running committee meetings, Annual General Meetings (AGMs) and voting activity had created a “sink or swim” moment for the strata industry.
“Covid-19 pushed us all into the water at once. It forced us to adapt and created an opportunity to manage AGMs in a way that we had envisioned for a long time but hadn’t really experimented with before.
“Strata Choice had already been using StrataVote for electronic voting and we now also use it to run all of our AGMs.
“It’s been successful because some of the tasks that AGMs deal with tend to be administrative in nature and don’t always need lots of discussion. Previously we might explain every motion during the meeting but now most can be dealt with in advance.
“As a result, we’ve found that we no longer need to run so many AGMs at night. The majority of an AGM can be run entirely through online voting reducing the need for a physical meeting to attend. Property owners can vote at any time, from their comfort of their own homes.
“StrataVote is giving our strata managers their lives back.
“It’s streamlined the entire meeting process, not just in physical attendance at meetings but also in the preparation and follow-up. We can set up meetings, create agendas and prepare minutes with the click of a few buttons.
“Our strata managers are saving 10-15 hours each per week, allowing them to spend more time building quality relationships with our clients, and time at home with their families.”