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The Property Manager Podcast
29 minutes | 2 months ago
Episode 23: Leading the work-life blur ft. Chris Litster
When the pandemic started, many of us thought it would be a much shorter ordeal—guessing that it would last around three months before our lives would get back to normal. It’s been about a year since the original lockdown, and we’re still in it. We all know that property managers are used to handling challenging situations—and this is no different. That said the past year has been hard. Most of all, it’s difficult to maintain balance and a strong culture at work, and many business have felt these pangs at different moments. But there’s still been a lot of growth in the property management industry for those who’ve figured out how to best adapt and lead their teams through it. In the grand finale of Season 3, we welcomed Chris Litster, Senior Vice President of Buildium, Propertyware, and Kigo to explain his leadership approach and what’s worked for his team throughout the pandemic. Subscribe: Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn The following transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity. Could you tell us about your recent article in Fast Company? Chris Litster: We published it because we saw that there were some things going on from our remote-work reality. There were some things that I saw that weren’t working. And there were also some new things that I thought were working that I figured we’d want to talk about them. As a side note, I have the very first edition of Fast Company up in my attic from, God, I think it was ’91 or ’92. And when I had the opportunity to get published in Fast Company, we jumped on it. So it was a bucket list item for me. How has leading teams changed over the past year? Chris Litster: It was funny because at the beginning, we thought we were going to be doing this for three months. And when we first started this, there were these mistakes that I actually made thinking that I had to have the answer all the time. I felt I needed to be the rock. And the reality is—what I ultimately found out—is I was pretending that I was having all the answers (because nobody had all the answers). And when I (myself and our leadership team), finally just said, “nobody has the answers here, so why are we pretending?” We can still be a rock to the employees, but you can also admit, from a vulnerability perspective, that we don’t have all the answers. We’re plowing through all this brand new territory. And that’s okay because that doesn’t mean that you have to forget who you are as a company. There are important actions that you need to take. You need to keep on with tradition. You need to keep on with the rituals of what you’ve done historically as a company. How do you calm people’s fears and communicate stability? Chris Litster: You know, it’s interesting. I think there are many examples in personal life and in the business world and non-business world where people avoid that crucial conversation. That crucial statement of, “I don’t know, we’ll find out.” And I think there’s a fear that by saying, ‘I don’t know,’ we’ll then induce fear in people. And I think the opposite is true. I think when you try to fabricate an answer, I think you actually create fear because people can tell if you’re not genuine. People can tell if you’re fabricating an answer. When the reality of an extended pandemic finally sunk in, where did your mind go? Chris Litster: I don’t know if I remember the exact day, but I remember the feeling, and it wasn’t easy. We thought it was going to be a couple of weeks, maybe a couple of months, but then, all of a sudden, it was like, “we’re going to try for September. We’re going to try for October. And (oh no) the numbers are going up.” Boston was a place where the numbers were dramatically rising and it felt like we were in the thick of it. My middle son last spring was a senior in high school. A turning point happened for me when we were all asking what was going to happen with graduation. And the communication just wasn’t coming out. Until pretty close to the actual graduation date the answer was, “there’s not going to be a true graduation. We’ll figure something out.” But that realization that everything, all the norms for my son in a senior year, were just gone. That then made me start to think, “wow, there’s a lot of things that are just going to be different, that we are going to need to adapt.” And we did adapt and we did change, but that first realization where you had to let go of what pre-COVID norms were, it was pretty hard and emotional. And the good thing is that at Buildium and at RealPage, I was able to show those emotions to my leadership team and just being like, “I need help because this is big. This is bigger than I thought it was.” Not only on the work side, but also on the personal side. I needed that help from folks to allow me to be vulnerable and help pick me up. What has struck you most about how property managers have handled these unpredictable conditions? Chris Litster: I think their ability to adapt quickly has really been just amazing. Everyone, obviously the whole world, has had to adapt on the turn of a dime, but property management really has. Right away they worked to understand how they could change up their processes in a distributed world—in a work-from-home world. Their employees have to work from home as well, but this is a relationship-based business. So how do you maintain that? Here at Buildium, we’ve been talking about the importance of relationships with your residents, with your owners, and with your vendors forever. We’ve always felt that the ability to take advantage of the Buildium platform will not only give you back more time (because you can’t add more time to a day), but it will allow you to free up time, because your operations will be more effective and efficient. Then you can focus on what matters most. And that’s the relationships you have with your residents, your owners and your service providers. Well, COVID forced that so the human side really came through. We saw property managers being creative around how they could get closer, figuratively, with their residents in this work-from-home world. They’ve used Zoom to create [a sense of] community with their residents. They’ve also amped up their adoption of things like resident portals, which helps build on the relationships that they have, but in a more automated manner. We didn’t really know what their mindset was going to be. We were so happily surprised to see [in Buildium’s 2021 Industry Report] that when we asked about their outlook, three out of four property managers said their outlook was one of growth over the next two years. And this is despite the pandemic. Despite all the changes that they needed to put in place. Despite them finding that they didn’t have all the answers. In the face of all that, 75% of them still had an outlook anticipating growth. Just pretty amazing. What are some of the unexpected benefits you’ve seen play out? Chris Litster: There’s a number of them. Because we are now in this whole work from home, living on Zoom and Microsoft Teams all the time, we see a fuller story of all of our colleagues. We’re sitting in offices, we’re sitting in kitchens, we’re sitting in rooms that pets and animals jump on. We hear children in the background. We see children run in. We essentially have a view into someone’s whole life now because that area between work and non-work life has come down. And I truly think we’re richer because of it. Because I can understand some of the realities of having kids home. Parents trying to juggle their jobs. At the same time, unexpected things obviously happen from being impacted directly from COVID. And so that to me is probably one of the better things that has come from COVID. I think I’ve built on my relationships with many of the Buildians throughout our whole employee population because I’ve learned so much about them that historically was just dark to me. I think this more human picture really helps us all to take a step back and appreciate what it is to be a productive person, not only in business and at a company, but also in non-company time. That barrier no longer exists between those two. What are some ways that you’ve helped keep the Buildium culture alive and well? Chris Litster: And it’s really interesting because there has historically been, as part of the hustle, this idea that you have to have the best office. You have to have a ping pong table. You have to have cold brew, or whatever, to make a great culture. And so that all that stuff went away. But that wasn’t our culture. Our culture is the traditions. Our culture is the way that we regard employees. Our culture is the fact that we don’t believe we can be successful without having the most loyal and happy employees. And we want Buildium to be a place where they remember working forever. So it’s much deeper than just the physical things that you provide, it’s those traditions. And those traditions we kept up. Historically, one of those traditions was the company get together in the summer with beach day. We turned that into a virtual week, as well as giving back to the community. One of our big culture items is a bike ride for Multiple Sclerosis, where we’ve had historically upwards of 80 folks ride on a two-day event, 150 miles. Two years ago, before the pandemic, we raised something like $125,000. Last year it became a virtual event. We didn’t know what was going to happen. We still had something like 30 or 35 Buildians. Many on a stationary bike of some sort, or riding outside in their neighborhoods. And we still raised $44,000. What other data or metrics are you using to measure your team’s health in a quantifiable way? Chris Litster: We brought on more Buildians in 2020 than we did in 2019. Every single one of those Buildians, aren’t just culture-fits—they’re culture-adds. They themselves strengthened our culture. And they themselves helped us drive more closely to living into every single one of our values. We have unlimited paid time off here at Buildium. But even as part of that, our vacation time went to pretty much zero at the start of the pandemic. People stopped taking vacation. And, you need to take vacation. You need to put your laptop flap down and shut off and go on vacation. Even if vacation means you go into the next room for a week. Where you don’t go into your home office for a week. So that was another key thing of watching the paid time off. And gradually that started to come up. And then finally we have historically done employee engagement surveys. We didn’t know what the first survey was going to look like when we were in the thick of it. And we take, not only the survey and understand the results of the engagement level, how our employees are feeling, but from that, we also put actions against the numbers. When the pandemic is all over, what are some of the words you might use to describe this time? Chris Litster: So-and-so you’re on mute. Like how many times a day do you say that? Jokingly I say it when I’m in my real life, if you will. When one of my sons will be talking and instead of, so-and-so, you’re on mute, I say, “I wish you’d go on mute.” It’d be interesting to see what happens post-COVID. Are cell phone-based or mobile-based conference calls dead? Will those even exist? Why wouldn’t you just jump on a Zoom? Also, the Brady Bunch grid. I was just on another call with some new Buildians and I referenced the Brady Brunch grid and I saw people look at me. I said “do you know what the Brady Bunch is?” So I definitely aged myself when I talked about living in a Brady Bunch grid world. What were some of your favorite moments in Season 3? Chris Litster: I’ll be diplomatic. We were able to adapt and still have a great series and a great season this year. We’re making light of some things. This has been a tough year for a lot of people personally, professionally, globally, but I think it was really important that we kept this up. And I think it was really important that we are able to showcase, in many of the episodes, the reality of property management in 2020.
43 minutes | 3 months ago
Episode 22: The newfound transparency in user-centric leasing ft. Zumper
Think about the top 10 sites you visit every week. They probably have one thing in common: accurate, authentic, quality information. Tech companies like Google and Amazon have understood the value of data and putting the needs of the user first for years. But as with many things in real estate, we’re still seeing these kinds of trends change slowly in leasing. In this episode, we talk to Anthemos Georgiades, CEO and Founder, and Allison Nesbitt, Director of National Accounts, from rental marketplace Zumper about transparency and speed in leasing—and where they’re seeing the largest leaps kicking off 2021. Subscribe: Soundcloud | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn The following transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity. Why has it taken so long for the real estate industry to give renters more transparency in leasing? Anthemos: I think there are two things we’re seeing. One is just the dollars they’re paying in residential real estate are just enormous. Think about when Uber or Instacart launched. You’re dealing with smaller transactions — a $10 ride or a $40 grocery check. With apartment rentals in the multi-family industry, you’re dealing with a $40,000, $50,000, $60,000, $70,000 annual transaction. That’s a lot. And so, I think when you look at risk aversion, it’s naturally a little higher in our industry than it is in others. So, I think that’s the first reason. The ticket item is so much higher. Tech can’t just snap its fingers and change everything overnight, because things were working before. The second reason is the way companies that came before us approached it. I don’t know if they ever truly tried to understand both sides of the market. A lot of the industry came from the classified sections of newspapers, where they were just used to monetizing landlords who paid to advertise. Then they just brought that online. New companies like Zumper don’t start from that position. We start by asking how we can help our users. The average user on the renter side is a 28-year-old woman pursuing her career. Then on the landlord side, we have both very large multi-family clients and then we have the mom-and-pop landlords. They’re all completely different constituents and they have to be treated differently. And so, I believe the modern technology companies like Zumper have to build product-centric technology with empathy for users, not necessarily empathy for ad dollars out of the gate. And I think those two reasons are why we haven’t seen these dramatic shifts in our industry yet, although they are coming. Tell us how Zumper does things differently compared to other listing sites and syndication. Anthemos: At the peak of leasing season this year, for example, we’ll have 20 million visits a month and 10 million users a month. Because we’re built for the user, 80 percent of those visits will be on mobile. And where Zumper got big very quickly was on mobile. When people think of mobile, apps are the first thing they think of. But a lot of people access us through mobile web. And it’s the last product people develop for. But it’s actually really important to build a great experience on mobile web. Being based in Silicon Valley, it’s an obvious thing to say, but you know what? We all spend all day at our desks. And it’s very easy to forget that just because we spend all day looking at a big screen, that isn’t necessarily where users spend their days looking for apartments. So, our median user is that 28-year-old woman. We call her Jennifer. She is looking on her phone. And I think the previous platforms had not been built for mobile very well. They are still desktop web first, and we are the exact other way around. So, I think first, Zumper is built mobile-first. We’re the largest private player because we’re mobile-heavy. And that was a big differentiator when we launched eight years ago. The second thing that differentiates Zumper is our end-game mission. Zumper’s mission is to make renting an apartment as easy as booking a hotel. With that mission, lead gen and sending quality leads to CRM, whether it’s Buildium or direct CRMs to our clients, is huge. It’s our bread and butter. But that’s not where we’re going to end. We want to end with full-on e-commerce for 12-month-plus apartment rentals, where you tap two buttons and you can close in an on-site tour. And we want to deliver that to both the small mom-and-pop landlords, the mid-market, and also the multi-family. That is a very different vision from the current ILS space. And that’s where Zumper is really focused to bring significantly higher value to our property manager and landlord clients. Where do you think our industry will go? Anthemos: It’s hard to imagine that you’re always going to send an email and it’s going to dump into a CRM, and then you’re going to have to get into an online exchange or get on the phone. There has to be a way to build a better matching mechanism. Like a college application system, where you apply once or prescreen once and then you can fit everything that comes with your qualifications. I think that’s where our industry will go. What does the future of leasing look like? “Hi Alexa, I want to find an apartment in Austin, TX?” Anthemos: We’re halfway there, now. Zumper does a bunch of stuff with Siri, where you can talk to Siri and Siri will find you an apartment through Zumper. I think the ultimate thing we’re building toward is push button, get apartment. There’s no reason our industry shouldn’t work like the hospitality industry in scale. We’re not saying communities should accept people unscreened. They absolutely will be prescreened, but using objecting APIs as a base line to tell communities which renters are safe tenants that they should use, using data. That’s the future. We have to cut the 30 to 45 days to close vacancies and technology is ready to do that. So, now what we need is for our industry to take those leaps of faith. There is a faster way of doing this. The hotel industry has obviously moved toward it, and we will be next. Will that encourage leases to go month-to-month, stay annual, or go longer? Anthemos: I think we see our communities becoming more flexible. I think there’s a huge opportunity to capture people who might want to try cities for short periods of time. But I think the majority of the market is still the 12-month lease. It’s so dominant as a percentage of U.S. leasing, that it is absolutely the core thing. Because there are advantages and network effects to cities and areas, where you build relationships, you build friends. If you have children, they go to school. So, the vast majority of people will still want those 12-month leases. Leasing is happening much faster since the onset of the pandemic. Are you seeing any other trends? Anthemos: Yes. Let me give you an example. We had previously had 3D tours and virtual reality tours on a smattering of listings a year ago, and it’s gone from a smattering to being really essential during the pandemic. And just because in the future, post-vaccine, people will obviously be able to tour things in person, I think the consumer will demand a 3D tour, or at least a video, before even going to see it. So, using modern media, this has been the breakout year. Now, our listings with the most viewings all have a 3D tour, or users can even see it on a VR set, if they have one at home. That is the beginning of the future. The flirting period is over. It is becoming an expectation of every community. Name the top mistake that you see leasing agents making in putting together and promoting their listings. Allison: The top mistake we see is that they do not keep their listings fresh, updated and optimized to their full potential. There are so many tools, like virtual tours and videos, that we recommend property managers use to showcase their properties. We actually launched a webinar on this topic. We recommend showcasing photos of interiors by uploading them first. Because we’re in a global pandemic, the space that people have is going to be important. We see those types of things yielding the highest clickthrough rates and lead rates. In our most recent renter survey, we found that search volume for communities with outdoor spaces and other similar amenities have skyrocketed over the last year. Searches for outdoor space on the Zumper platform grew 143% year-over-year, while searches for balconies increased by 87% and gardens by 86%. Obviously, people are dying to get out of the house while still staying safe. So, take the time to understand your ideal resident profile and your unique selling features. What types of listings and listing elements have had the most success recently? Allison: Definitely properties that are getting creative with virtual touring. In a global pandemic where most people are hesitant to visit communities of interest and most leasing offices cannot have a lot of strangers in and out of the office, being able to check out the community virtually is a must. We have seen many in the industry respond in some incredibly creative ways. There are a ton of resources in the industry to help properties showcase their properties virtually. Matterport, our 3D tour partner, shared that virtual tour leads are 95% more likely to sign a lease. When the pandemic hit, our engineers worked very quickly to enable the ability to upload virtual and 3D tours, we’ve added almost 40,000 virtual tours this last year. We highly recommend that every property manager make it their goal to have a video or virtual tour strategy. And it doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money to achieve your goal. Anytime a unit is made ready, have one of your rock star leasing agents walk the apartment with their iPhone and shoot a tour just like they would be showing the apartment. Just make sure to take the video in landscape view if you’ll be uploading those virtual tours to YouTube or Vimeo for hosting. Many of our clients are building efficiencies in their leasing process by getting creative. Remember to tag your videos with the unit number and floorplan type so you can utilize it for future use. How many times do you have a prospect who wants to lease but wants to see the actual unit? If you have video already recorded, you can show the unit even if it’s not vacant. Build a library of these videos and your future selves will thank you. The same goes for 3D tours and 360 tours. Shoot as much as you can and make sure it lives on all of your advertising platforms, including your property website, social media, Google My Business, other local listings sites, and of course, Zumper. Do you have any other specific data to back that up based on recent renter preferences? Allison: Especially because of the pandemic, 56% of renters say the most important part of their apartment search is photo and video quality. In a recent renter survey, we found that renters will lease without physically seeing their apartment if there are virtual tours for them to explore and everyone stays safe. Renters are actually more trusting of listings that have multiple photos, even better if you can showcase actual vacant units. They want to know exactly what to expect. Floorplan images, 3D Tours and video are a great way to showcase what it’s like to live at your community. Leasing is all about building trust. What do property managers need to do to create those types of next-level listings beyond syndication? Anthemos: It’s a partnership of all three sides of the triangle. You’ve got the communities. You’ve got the search portals that have the audience, like Zumper. And then you have someone in the middle, who have the experts, the hardware that are creating brilliant 3D and videos. Both the communities and the ILSs like Zumper have to take the leap of faith together. Whether we co-invest in the technology, or we figure out a way that it’s a win-win. This is the future. The ILS will benefit because we’ll just have richer media. The community will benefit for all the reasons that Allison explained. And, obviously the Matterports of the world are desperate to work with both sides. So, I think before now it was this luxury, this nice-to-have, and it’s now necessary. So, to make it work on all three sides of the triangle is a leap of faith to come together and power the technology. Zumper has done a lot of work specifically with Matterport and with communities to package something that is a win-win, where Zumper pays for some of it, the communities pay for some of it and we wrap it with our relationships with the communities. And then Matterport has given us something great to work with. Do you have any success stories that you could share for those using Zumper? Allison: At Zumper, we’re laser focused on the health of our listings and delivering high-quality, rent-ready renters directly to properties. We’re constantly optimizing the renter experience. One of the major things we did in 2020 is we started to create more friction for our renters before they could contact a property. We found that properties were getting flooded with leads that maybe weren’t quite as serious or weren’t far enough down their process to be ready to tour and lease. So, we are now requiring more of our renters when they want to reach out to communities of interest. They have to put in their full name, phone number, email address, move-in date and the floorplan they’re interested in. We’re also validating phone numbers, and we don’t allow a prospect to fill out a form without a valid area code. And, since 80% of our traffic originates on a mobile device, there’s always the risk for prospects to get that “fat finger syndrome” and make a mistake when typing. So, we’re prompting prospects to correct their email address if they accidentally type .con vs. .com, for instance. So, we’re just turning the gears a little bit to make sure we’re refining the leads we’re sending through. As I mentioned, we added the ability for our property managers to upload virtual tours, 3D walk-through tours and video to their listings for free. That way, once a renter is ready to reach out to properties, they are highly informed. Requiring rich lead data, providing all the necessary information about a property upfront and allowing renters to schedule or suggest a tour time, has led to great success for our clients. We did a case study with a large multifamily ownership group. In a 6-month period, after making all of these changes, we recorded a 300% increase in lead-to-lease conversion, so we know that it’s working. We are going to continue to double down on lead capture quality in the near future with things like user profiles, in-app messaging and property matching technology. So, we’re just going to continue to double down on lead quality. Because then once the properties call a lead, they have so much information already about that person that the conversation is already three steps ahead. Do you have any other advice for property managers? Allison: My advice would be if you do have a phone number for a prospect, most certainly call them. You’d be surprised how many properties are so used to just emailing a template, oh, but they didn’t respond. Well, give them a reason to respond to you. Have a conversation. Make that personal connection. Invite them into the property or walk them through the apartment via Facetime. There’s a leap that needs to be taken on the property side that make sure that they’re making those personal connections, because that’s what it’s all about. To learn more about Zumper, visit their website.
47 minutes | 4 months ago
Episode 21: What’s in your marketing funnel?
Property management marketing is tough work. A lot of times for property management businesses, it can take a backseat to other pressing needs. Getting the nuance just right during trying times also isn’t easy; but, at the end of the day, a solid, realistic marketing strategy for your business is more important than ever. In Episode 20, What’s in Your Marketing Funnel, we talked about how to enhance your owners’ and residents’ journey down the marketing funnel with Alexander Hassoulas, Co-Founder and President of Upkeep Media, a boutique marketing agency for property managers. Subscribe: Soundcloud | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn
32 minutes | 4 months ago
Episode 20: The unexplored side of virtual ft. Amir Frank
Whether we like it or not, the pandemic created the necessity to do business in new ways—and further jolted the adoption of virtual technology. While virtual tours of rentals are nothing new, there’s a whole world of possibilities that have opened up for property managers. And there’s nobody better to explore these trends than Matterport, the leader in creating 3d digital twins for real estate. As our guest for Episode 20 of The Property Manager Podcast, Amir Frank of Matterport walked us through how property managers can use precise, 3D digital models of their properties beyond showing them off to potential residents—along with the underlying trends making all this happen. Spoiler alert: There’s a lot more to it than leasing and virtual tours. Listen to all of the episodes from The Property Manager Podcast.
34 minutes | 5 months ago
Episode 19: What investors want ft. Jesse Fragale
We think of The Property Manager Podcast as a lively conversation about our industry. And conversations are more interesting when they bring together different perspectives. For Episode 19, we added a fresh perspective—that of the real estate investor, an increasingly common type of client for property managers. Jesse Fragale isn’t just any investor. He’s an expert in the field who hosts a popular YouTube series and contributes to BiggerPockets. Jesse tells us what information from property managers he examines most closely, why the value of property managers is rising from investors’ point of view, and—bonus question—his all-time-favorite guitarist.
39 minutes | 5 months ago
Episode 18: Leasing for longevity
Matt Easton is a master when it comes to leasing apartments. The face and founder of Leasing University, Matt advocates an approach that’s all about respecting residents and understanding their needs first—in short, incorporating their voice into your leasing process. We wanted to ask Matt what property managers can do right now to meet residents’ evolving needs so that, even once they can move elsewhere, they’ll want to renew their leases instead. He answers that, and much more, on Episode 18 of The Property Manager Podcast. Listen to all of the episodes from The Property Manager Podcast. The below transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity. Why doesn’t the ‘old way of doing things’ work in leasing? Matt Easton: The industry has really changed and it’s completely different than it was before, and for two reasons. Number one is today’s renter has access to more information than ever before. Literally, just in the last 24 months, there’s a hundred times more information available to a renter online; available to them right on their phones, right on their tablets—wherever they need it, whenever they need it. The second thing that’s really changed is today’s renter has more choices. Now, I may be dating myself here, but, in the past, when people like me were going out and needing a lease, the situation was very limited. We would go to the little kiosk and newspaper stands (I’m really dating myself now). Remember the old for rent guides and magazines? You’d pull those out, right? Or you’d go to the classified section of the newspaper and you were just hoping that there was an apartment that fit your budget that was available because there wasn’t much information. And, secondly, there just weren’t many options. Our culture has shifted. Today, more people are deciding to rent where they live than own a home, right? And investors, owners, operators, builders, are smart. They’ve been building the product pretty consistently and it’s led us to a great place in the industry. Never has it been more exciting to be in multifamily, but what’s lagging is that the old training is still designed for a property manager to be more of a gatekeeper than an information provider. More of a librarian than a true sales consultant, and you can hear that by calling just about any apartment community in the country. They’re going to be asking you all kinds of questions about your budget. You’ll hear them typing away on their keyboard, checking pricing and availability. And they’re never really learning about you and the what’s behind why you’re moving. And it’s not a sales process that’s working when you have a customer base that has choices and information. The concept of being tied down to a home has totally changed. Therefore, we need to pivot as an industry and realize that we’re not just providing temporary housing for somebody that’s in an apartment because they’re a student or because they can’t afford a house. This is the lifestyle for many, many Americans and those numbers are continuing to grow. How would you explain what’s going on with the rental and housing markets? Matt Easton: From where I sit, I think we’re at a precipice where we have been building product for close to a decade, but for the latter half of this decade new construction has been gangbusters. Don’t believe it? Go try and buy an apartment community. There’s been very little product, forcing people to build, but we’re now hitting this point (especially with the little dips we’ve had in the economy lately) that the industry is going to have to make a choice of whether or not they want to go one way or the other. And the two choices they have are: “Hey, we can start to really focus in on our sales process and our resident experience or we can buy into this race to the bottom.” And, unfortunately, a lot of folks and a lot of markets have been doing this race to the bottom and operating under the thought process, “I just need to get my lease occupied. I just need to get this building occupied. Let’s come up with a rent special, let’s come up with a discount. Let’s come up with something just to fill the building.” What we’re seeing happen is although you may get some short-term occupancy, you haven’t really solved the problem, and you’re then creating this tsunami of potential non-lease renewals when all of those leases come due. Because if you don’t make a connection with that renter, discovering what’s going on in their life, what’s important to them, what’s valuable to them, all you’re doing then is selling them on a promotion. And when it becomes renewal time, you better double down on that promotion or else they’re going to continue to move. So there’s going to be one class of operator that’s going to really make a connection with their residents. They’re going to keep that connection and they’re going to hold that resident. And then there’s going to be a whole bunch of people that are basically going to be racing to the bottom, fighting over these transient renters that are going to just move from place to place, to place taking the best deal on each lease they sign. Tony: I think that, you are seeing a lot of property managers try to figure out how to balance that equation with renters. Here’s a stat for you from our 2021 State of the Property Management Industry Report. In 2019, just 16% of property managers said that attracting and retaining great residents was one of their top three priorities. Well guess what? Over the past year, that whole number jumped by an unprecedented 29 points. So 45% of property managers are now saying residents are in their top three priorities! That’s a huge shift. And I think that’s a direct indicator of what’s going on right now in the rental market. And again, the importance of focusing on residents and really getting to know them, really making sure that your prescreening is strong and automated, yet still human. Again, not an easy thing to do, but a huge focus. What are the changes you think property managers should be making to their leasing process? Matt Easton: A lot of people listening to the podcast may be saying to themselves, “Oh yeah, yeah, we have a process.” But when boards of real estate investment trusts (REITs) call me in and I ask, “Hey, do you guys have a process?” They also say, “Yep.” And I say, “Okay, what exactly? Tell me the exact words that your people say when they answer the phone?” They then say, “I’m not sure.” “What exactly do they say to close the lease?” “Do you want the apartment, right?” When it comes to real estate, there’s an objection, and there’s a complaint. There’s no perfect apartment for anybody. So how do your people know what’s really an objection that needs to be addressed or handled and what’s simply a complaint? When I talk to boards of REITs, they typically can’t answer those questions. If you don’t know exactly what your people should say, when they should say it, and why they’re doing the things that they do, well, then you don’t have a sales process. What you have are good intentions, but you can’t manage good intentions. That’s where when we have terrific technology—and I know Buildium is world-class in providing that technology— we can truly get the most out of our technology when we also have a people process behind everything. How would you break down the most important steps of the leasing process? Matt Easton: There’s five steps to a leasing process, okay? It’s really simple, but then you get into the intricacies of how these things flow. First, you’ve got to greet the prospect. A lot of property management companies out there still don’t even answer the phone. Step two is where the wheels completely fall off in the industry. I have to determine your wants and needs. Most property managers out there, most leasing agents, have no clue how to determine a prospect’s wants and needs beyond, “Hey, what’s your budget?” Worst question you could ever ask. Third, I can then select an apartment and build value in that apartment. Leaving me with the last two: I’m going to make a proposal and then I’m going to close the lease. So greet the prospect, determine their wants and needs, select a home and build value and then make a proposal and close. Those are the five steps. Once you understand those, and you understand the flow of how to move through those and what makes it easy and what makes your job more difficult, then leasing becomes a streamlined process that’s fun, enjoyable, and anybody can do it. What are the right questions that property managers should be asking during pre-screening? This is something where my philosophy really tends to differ from a lot of folks in the industry because the industry is typically still attached to that old-world sales skill. Even the term “pre-screening”…I’m not personally a huge fan of that and I’ll tell you why. There are so many terrific technology companies out there. There are so many terrific marketing opportunities out there. Today’s renter has more access to information than ever before. Our data shows that on average, 80% of the people calling your property are qualified to live there. By nature of going to apartments.com or what have you. There’s a million choices out there, but wherever they come to you from, that technology is pretty sophisticated, right? It’s going to serve them up an apartment that already works Here’s another thing. Whether your renters tell you or not, most of them already know the price, right? It’s readily available online. Unfortunately, most people try and pre-screen in terms of, “I need to make sure that this person is qualified to live here.” Now, if you have an pandemic where most of the people that you’re talking to are not qualified to live there, that’s not something that you change your sales process with. That’s a discussion that you have with your marketing provider or your marketing team, right? That’s a totally separate discussion. That’s saying, “Hey, we’re attracting the wrong leads.” But for the most part, what our data shows is most communities are getting the right leads. And if they’re working with a solid marketing company, they’re getting enough of them. Where they’re not focusing on their pre-screening is simple things like the big four. What’s most important to you? Why is that important to you? Here’s a big one that nobody asks: What do you want to see first when you get here? Why do you want to see that first? Right? Especially when you get somebody who’s price, price, price. Well, why is that important to you? If you really get a smart alec they might say, “Because I’m broke and money’s important.” Fantastic. When you ask them, “What do you want to see first when you get home?” They might say,”I’d like to see the dog park. I just got this pug named baby Yoda. There’s nothing that’s too good for baby Yoda.” When you ask them what they want to see first, and most importantly why, they take their armor off and start to share with you what’s really important. Imagine if you went to a doctor because your heart was pounding out of your chest. And the first thing the doctor said to you was, “Heart hurts? Got it. So what’s your budget?” I realize we’re not going to drop dead, but it’s still Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, right? Oxygen, water, food, shelter. We’re number four on the list here. We need to start treating our prospects with the dignity and respect that this decision deserves, rather than just trying to prescreen them and put them into a box that we’re not even sure is the right box for them. Could you share a story of how you’ve seen these types of tweaks make a difference? One that pops into my head was a property in the place called Alton, Illinois. Very large community. I think they were under 400 units. I was brought in for a live event and the team there was working their tail off. I knew the instant that I saw these people that the problem was not that they were the wrong people. The problem was not the property itself. It was more of affordable type property. It was a good product, right? It’s not the people, it’s not the product. They were at 67% occupancy. 67%, right?! That’s a scary situation to be in. When you get down that low it affects everybody, right? Everybody is now wondering, will this be my last day at work today? Is somebody else going to come in and take over this community? It’s not a good, happy place to be. All we simply did was helped give them a process. I had them writing their goals down every day. Most importantly, I had them running to answer every call. Huge, right? They knew the right things to say when they answered. They found out what was most important to that resident. When they showed them the property, they focused on what was most important to that resident. They had a sheet so they could say, “Hey, do you mind before I show you the apartment, can I recap my understanding of what’s going on here?” We gave them a system to where they’re now treating a prospect so special and literally going through checklists with them. They went by changing nothing, same marketing campaign, same property. Didn’t put any vinyl plank in there. Didn’t change the countertops. Didn’t do anything to the property. Didn’t fire any of those wonderful people that were working there because they were rock stars. They just needed a process. In 30 days, they went from 67% occupancy to 89% occupancy. When you have the right sales process, you don’t have to be pushy or manipulative. You don’t have to be high pressure because your prospects are going to let you know, “Wow, this is a great fit for me. I’m in.” Or not. And if it’s not a fit, now you can trust your process and think, “No problem. It’s not a fit for them, but I’m sure somebody else is going to be calling me in five minutes. I’m going to take the next person through the exact same process.” It makes things easy for us. It makes things easy for the residents. It makes things easy for the prospects. Everybody has an easy time.
33 minutes | 6 months ago
Episode 17: Behind the numbers of the 2021 Industry Report
Welcome to Season 3 of The Property Manager Podcast! This go-round, we’ll be welcoming property managers like you, subject matter experts, influencers making noise in the space, and those at the top companies that impact your world. In the debut episode, Behind the Numbers of the 2021 Industry Report, we feature Robin Young, Senior Researcher at Buildium, as she reveals quantitative, in-depth research that puts the impact of COVID-19 into context, including: How PMs have changed their strategies in a COVID-19 world Why PMs are more essential than ever to both residents and owners What PMs have to say about the state of the industry (they didn’t hold back) Listen to all of the episodes from The Property Manager Podcast. Tell us about the 2021 State of the Property Management Industry Report. Robin: This year marks the sixth annual Industry Report, and the fourth year that I’ve worked on it. Every year, the Industry Report gets bigger and better as we find new ways of analyzing what the last year has meant for property managers’ business growth. And this year, with the pandemic and recession driving so much of what happened in the rental market, the report focuses on how property managers have shifted the way they do business in response to COVID-19. I know that I say this every year, but more than ever, this year’s report is packed with data and insights that I truly believe will help property managers craft a successful strategy for 2021. What was the experience like for you writing this year’s report? Robin: I’ve never enjoyed working on the report as much as I did this year—and that was for two main reasons. First: It was fascinating seeing how property managers’ strategies changed throughout 2020. We used survey data that we collected at three different points: May 2019, as a baseline for what things looked like before COVID-19 hit; May 2020, to see how the first wave of the pandemic had impacted property managers; and August 2020, to see how things had developed six months into the pandemic. This investigative part of my job—looking for patterns in the data that reveal trends hidden just under the surface—is my favorite part of what I do. Second: We like to use open responses to let property managers share their perspective directly with us in a way that multiple choice questions just can’t capture. We use this as a gut check for our analyses—making sure that we interpret the trends we discover in the data in a way that reflects what property managers are actually thinking and feeling. But because this year has been such an emotional rollercoaster, this round of open responses from property managers, renters, and rental owners will stay with me for a long time. Everyone was so candid about their hopes and fears—it really allowed us to create a report that captures the impact that COVID-19 has had on the rental market. Which stats stood out to you the most? Robin: There’s one stat that we’ve been shouting from the rooftops because of what it might mean for the future of the rental market: More than three-quarters of property managers anticipate portfolio and revenue growth in the next two years. This was a finding that surprised us back in May, when we looked at the survey data from property managers after the first wave of the crisis; and stayed steady through the summer until August, when we looked at our second batch of results. Even with six months of experience in a COVID-19 market under their belts, property managers are still expecting to grow their businesses in the years to come. And it’s not cheerful optimism that’s driving this—it’s the work that property managers have put into adjusting their strategies to succeed in a completely different environment than they’d planned on at the beginning of the year. So, all in all, 79% of property managers anticipate revenue growth in the next 2 years, and 77% expect to grow their portfolios—which is lower than they expected a year ago, but is a lot higher than we were expecting to see after this whirlwind of a year. On a macro level, how are most property managers’ businesses faring during the pandemic? Robin: After the shock of the initial shutdown in the spring, for the most part, property managers adjusted their strategies and got back to work, making whatever changes were necessary to protect their teams, their residents, and their clients. When we asked property managers in May which parts of their business had been most impacted by COVID-19, two-thirds told us that they were finding it harder to collect rents and run their businesses profitably, and almost half said they were having more trouble filling vacancies. But by August, those numbers had fallen. Collections and profitability were still areas of concern, but less than half said they were actively struggling. And the effects of COVID-19 weren’t uniformly negative for property managers. Property managers told us that their clients are seeing the value of their services more clearly than ever during COVID-19; and they’re also seeing residents renew their leases at a higher rate than in a normal year. They’re still worried about their residents’ ability to continue to pay rent now that many provisions of the CARES Act have expired; and they’re worried about how they’ll enforce rent collection with eviction off the table for the rest of the year. Profitability will continue to be a challenge in a low rent growth environment. But property managers report that both they and their clients are still interested in growing their rental portfolios in the years to come; and that the efficiency, effectiveness, and morale of their teams has held steady in the months since many began working from home. So, overall, property managers’ businesses seem to be doing all right, and in many cases, growing—after all, as many respondents told us, people will always need a place to live. Which steps have property managers taken to continue to run their businesses smoothly? Robin: So, we all know that the work of property management isn’t getting done in the way that it was at the beginning of the year. Back in January, most property managers would have told you that this is a face-to-face business and always will be. But as of August, 69% of property managers were on teams where at least one person was working remotely; and 60% had closed their office to visitors, either temporarily or permanently. With so much work being done remotely, there was widespread adoption of property management software and digital communications, as well as tools for document sharing, videoconferencing, property accounting, and project management. As of August, far more property managers said that working remotely had had a positive effect on their team’s efficiency, effectiveness, and morale than negative. An additional 25% of property managers have adopted a zero-touch leasing process in 2020. A majority of property managers were already making use of online rental listings, rental applications, and lease signing; but in 2020, they started to experiment with tools like virtual showings, 3D video tours, and self-service showings, which renters told us they really appreciated. Though property management has typically been slower to adopt technology than the rest of the real estate industry, the pandemic has sped up their adoption of tools that are making digital interactions and transactions just as effective as in-person. As a result, property managers, their residents, and their clients are all realizing at the same time that the benefits of doing business online far outweigh the challenges, which is really exciting for our corner of the industry. How have property managers’ relationships developed with their owners? Robin: The events of 2020 have had a really interesting effect in this area. We found that 44% of property managers believe that their clients view their services as more valuable now than ever before. We think this is because property managers are providing invaluable help to rental property owners in 3 main areas this year: Collecting rents and working out payment plans with residents; navigating a constantly changing regulatory landscape; and keeping owners up-to-date on the performance of their properties and local market in these uncertain times. With a full two-thirds of rental owners reaching out to property managers for help because they don’t live near their properties, you can imagine how helpful it is to have a professional partner in these areas right now. Property managers have been communicating with their clients more often than before, sending out regular updates on local market conditions, regulatory changes, and property updates. Owners have appreciated this uptick in communications, and would like to continue to be in the loop about changing conditions that affect their properties even when things have calmed down. Which services have gained popularity to accommodate owners’ needs? Robin: So, as you might expect, the services that owners most want their property manager to provide reflect the processes that have become more taxing and complex during COVID-19—things like rent and fee collection; maintenance and repairs; evictions; property inspections; and leasing properties and marketing vacancies. Beyond those popular services—which a majority of property managers already provide—we’ve seen a huge increase in demand over the last year for services like financial reporting; construction and renovation; accounting, bookkeeping, and tax preparation; cleaning; and purchasing, selling, and brokering property sales. We also saw an uptick in owners requesting that their property manager handle rental processes online—from standard offerings like online payments and communications, to technologies that saw major gains in 2020, like virtual showings and property inspections. This is another sign that both owners and renters will be on board with property managers’ use of ‘zero touch’ processes, even once the pandemic subsides. Rental owners want their property managers to do more for them than ever before—and this is a vote of confidence in property managers that gives them a golden opportunity to expand their services in 2020 and beyond. How has property managers’ relationship with residents changed during COVID-19? Robin: We’ve seen a huge shift in how property managers are spending their time in 2020, as so many of the pressing issues they’re faced with on a daily basis revolve around residents and their homes. They’ve been devoting extra energy to keeping units full, rents paid, and residents safe. But property managers told us that the #1 role they’re playing in 2020 is that of a mediator between residents and owners, doing their best to juggle their conflicting responsibilities to keep residents in their homes, and sustain their clients’ and their own businesses during this crisis. Their skills as problem-solvers and negotiators have really come in handy—for example, as they’ve worked out payment plans that both residents and owners are willing to agree to. It’s been an exhausting time for property managers—particularly during the flood of uncertainty and anxiety that we all felt back in the early months of the pandemic—but feeling like a source of stability, comfort, and knowledge during this period has been gratifying, too. They’ve always felt like the glue that holds this entire ecosystem together; but in 2020, their owners and residents are realizing that, too. Which technologies are property managers using to serve residents better and keep them safe? Robin: So, overall, property managers who had been slower to adopt technologies like electronic payments and digital communications have realized the benefits of bringing these standard rental processes online in 2020. With employees working remotely and residents trying to limit in-person interactions, these offerings have made a definitive shift from “good idea” to “necessity” in 2020. And residents have told us how much they appreciate being able to get in touch with their property manager using whatever method they prefer, whether it’s via text, FaceTime, email, or resident portal. As I mentioned earlier, one area where property managers have been focusing a lot of attention is leasing. They’ve added new technologies to bring their leasing process online from end to end—moving beyond standard offerings like digital lease signing and online rental listings, to emerging technologies like 3D videos, virtual tours, and self-service showings coordination. One technology that’s not seeing widespread adoption just yet, but that there’s a clear need for in 2020—particularly in larger communities—is amenity booking tools. This capability might help property managers decrease risk while reopening amenities and common spaces; so we wouldn’t be surprised at all to see an uptick in use over the coming months. Every year, you gather a lot of open responses and that allows you to really hear what’s going on in property managers’ words. What were your favorite quotes? Robin: As I mentioned earlier, it’s the combination of quotes and analysis that really bring this report to life—it’s so valuable to get to hear the experiences of property managers, renters, and owners in their own words. There’s one quote that I think of a lot when people ask me to describe how property managers have reacted to the challenges that have arisen in 2020. One property manager said, “No one could have predicted a pandemic, but no one predicts earthquakes, tornadoes, or hurricanes, either, and property managers weather those conditions, too.” This quote sums up the attitude that so many property managers have had toward the pandemic and recession—they feel like, “Yeah, we never expected that THIS would happen, but we deal with unexpected challenges every day—flooded basements, conflicts between neighbors, pandemics—what are you gonna do about it?” That blunt, even-keeled attitude gets me every time. And moreover, what I think it brings up is that the best property managers aren’t just those who avoid disaster—because sometimes, you can’t avoid it. The property managers who succeed in the long run are those who build a business that adapts well to constant change. My favorite quote was this one: “Our level of compassion for our tenants and homeowners has increased during the pandemic. Not only tenants, but our homeowners have lost jobs and income. It has affected all levels of society. Our role has become one of a steady hand, providing reassurance that everything will be OK, even if we are not being paid. It got messy and terrifying for everyone for a while, but providing a source of stability and comfort has been something we have had to step in and do, rather than being 100% staunch on following procedures. This culture will absolutely stay within our company going forward.” This quote perfectly sums up the bind that property managers have been in this year. Every day has been an exercise in balancing business with compassion. Many chose to put their own goals on the back burner in service of their customers’ well-being. Even when things return to whatever we consider “normal,” many property managers are determined to approach their work with an even stronger sense of empathy than they had before, with many believing that they’ll succeed not in spite of their compassionate customer service, but because of it. What’s coming up next in Buildium research? Robin: We’ve just started working on an Associations version of the Industry Report that specifically digs into survey responses from community association managers and board members. Because COVID-19 had a very different impact on HOAs and condos than it did on the rental market, we felt that it was important to create some association-specific content this year. The report will help community association managers to see the challenges and opportunities that their peers around the country have experienced in 2020; and will also give them an idea of what association board members are looking for from a community association manager in this new environment. We expect to release it in early December, so keep your eyes on the Buildium Blog for this and other great research releases!
34 minutes | a year ago
Season 2 Finale: The Future Is What You Make It
In the Season 2 Finale of The Property Manager Podcast: The Future Is What You Make It, we invited CEO of Buildium, Chris Litster and Robin Young, Sr. Researcher, to show a behind-the-scenes look at the 2020 State of the Property Management Report. Coming off of NARPM’s Annual Conference, Chris shared what resonated the most from his keynote presentation with Gail Phillips, CEO of NARPM (National Association of Residential Property Managers). In the second segment, Robin Young, dug into her process for creating this year’s report, what surprised her, and why it’s the only research of its kind on the property management industry. In this episode you’ll hear about: What resonated at NARPM’s Annual Conference The macro trends lifting the industry into a new chapter How property managers can be leaders an era of rapid change A peek into the process and people behind the 2020 Industry Report And more… Subscribe: Soundcloud | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn
34 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 15: Do What You’re Good At (And Crush It)
In Episode 15, Do What You’re Good At (And Crush It), we spoke with Salvatore Friscia of San Diego Premiere Property Management. A longtime customer of Buildium, Salvatore has always demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit, willing to try new approaches when he feels they harness his skillset. A social media pioneer in the industry, he has helped other property managers embrace a social-first approach. Most recently, he pivoted yet again, experimenting with a new business model that offers stripped-down services. We discussed the kind of adaptability needed to embrace the new property management industry amidst the shifts in profitability, regulations, and technology—and what we think the future holds for him (and property managers everywhere). Subscribe: Soundcloud | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn
35 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 14: Where’s Your Sweet Spot?
In Episode 14: Where’s Your Sweet Spot?, we spoke with Glenn Russell of Coastal Group, Inc out of Virginia Beach to dig into the nuances that come with the naval presence and transience in his market. We also discussed how Glenn successfully reinvented his business over the years through strategic acquisitions with a honed approach appealing to military families. We further got into his tactics and use of property management software to make more money and conserve his most valuable asset: time. Subscribe: Soundcloud | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn
31 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 13: Metrics-Driven, Officeless, and Successful
In Episode 13: Metrics-Driven, Officeless, and Successful, we sat down with Jonathan George, principal broker and owner of Zen Real Estate Group to discuss the benefits and challenges of a remote property management business. From reducing redundancies to improving workflows, George offers insights into available resources and technologies that help his property management team stay connected and organized. Hear how you can apply George’s strategies to your own business model. Subscribe: Soundcloud | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn
33 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 12: The Great Vegas Housing Frenzy
In Episode 12: The Great Vegas Housing Frenzy, we spoke with Briana Parra of The Brazill Team to hear firsthand what’s going on with Las Vegas’s booming real estate market. In a hot market, there are always winners and losers because of the sudden increase in competition. In this episode, Parra reveals ways technology can help property managers weather the influx and come out on top. Plus, she lets us in on significant changes in some key regulations and how they can impact business. Subscribe: Soundcloud | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn
22 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 11: Staying True to Yourself
In Episode 11: Staying True to Yourself, we talked with Bert Miller of Southern Property Management. From collecting rent checks weekly (and not missing a Friday for 16 years!) to standing up for his residents on a regular basis, we could tell straight away that Bert was a goodhearted individual in it for the long haul. We also learned about the transition happening in the small town of Dayton, TN that is motivating him to change his business model from self-managed to handling other people’s properties—and how technology is making it all possible. Subscribe: Soundcloud | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn
31 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 10: Delivering on the Resident Experience
In Episode 10: Delivering on the Resident Experience (As a Property Management Powerhouse), we spoke to David Westveer of the recently-merged property management company, Westward360. A true goliath in the Chicago market, Westward now has over 25,000 units under management (associations and multifamilies). As you might imagine, this size of operation demands an incredible amount of process, technology, and finesse to be able to deliver on the resident experience consistently. Take a listen to find out how David views the industry and also garner some insights that can help you with your business operations—no matter how many units you manage. Subscribe: Soundcloud | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn
55 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 9: How a Focus on SEO Could Be Hurting Your Business
In Episode 9: How a Focus on SEO Could Be Hurting Your Business, we spoke to the fiery Jason Hull of DoorGrow (a marketing agency focused on property managers) about the challenges of SEO in property management and the kind of online marketing that often doesn’t generate cost-effective leads for many small businesses—and why that is. We continued the conversation and traded insights on what you can do about it, along with the necessity of brand in today’s crowded business landscape. Subscribe: Soundcloud | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn
28 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 8: Building a Brand of Financial Independence
To kick it all off, in Episode 8: Building a Property Management Brand of Financial Independence, we interviewed Matt Teifke and Andrew Roberts from TRE Homes out of Austin, Texas. We talked about the thriving Austin market (including the influence of tech companies and where the investment opportunities still exist), as well as their own remarkable brand of property management that helps millennials make smart investment decisions. Subscribe: Soundcloud | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn
30 minutes | 3 years ago
Episode 7: Roll Up Your Sleeves and Get to Work
Today, we’re talking with Mark Liberman, founder and principal of On the Mark Management in Milford, Connecticut. He comes to us with over 25 years of experience; and similar to other property managers, he fell into this business. His first taste of the industry was being a tenant himself in New York City. His apartment building was transitioning into a co-op, and he decided to buy in. After being the president of the board for 10 years, he moved out to Connecticut and that’s when his company, On the Mark, began. 14 years later, On the Mark manages a mixed portfolio of over 1,700 units. Mark shares with us things he’s learned along the way and his advice for those new to the industry. His main mantra is to be quick on your feet and proactive with everything that comes your way. Subscribe: Soundcloud | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn
19 minutes | 3 years ago
Episode 6: The Key to Property Management is Communication
Back in the 90’s, Michael Cohen was practicing psychotherapy and was slowly purchasing real estate on the side. When his side business began to take off and the psychotherapy industry was changing, he decided to fully enter the property management industry and Asset Realty Management was formed. Twenty years later, Michael has learned a few things about the industry and shared his insights about what keeps his business successful. This episode is unique in that we were able to talk with not only Michael, but also Marie Sharpe, an Affiliate Broker, who is also a part of the Asset team and is responsible for leading the company with the day-to-day tasks. We’ll hear from the two of them on what they feel makes Asset Realty stand apart from other companies and what they encourage other property managers to practice themselves. Subscribe: Soundcloud | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn
19 minutes | 3 years ago
Episode 5: Accounting 101
Cynthia Leon is trained in traditional accounting, but found herself quickly learning the ins and outs of property management accounting when she stumbled upon an opportunity with a property management company. That was eight years ago and she now works with two property management companies, including Astound Real Estate in Concord, California. In this episode, we learn that although accounting may seem daunting at times, it’s achievable. Cynthia discusses how she navigated the main differences between traditional and property management accounting, what you should keep in mind when preparing for an audit and what to look for when hiring an accountant for your company. Listen along to hear additional tips and tricks! Subscribe: Soundcloud | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn
27 minutes | 3 years ago
Episode 4: The Value of Relationships & Networking
Melissa Clinton was raised in the real estate industry, but a career in real estate didn’t pique her interest until she decided to move closer to her family. When her mother asked her to help run her company, At Home Properties, everything fell into place. 17 years later, Melissa is a co-owner and broker associate of the company and serves on the Texas Women’s Council of Realtors. In this episode of The Property Manager Podcast, Melissa explains what motivates her and why networking with others in the industry has been so important in her career. You’ll also learn how the At Home Properties team creates lasting relationships with their clients. Listen now to hear Melissa’s story and advice. Subscribe: Soundcloud | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn
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