Property management is one of the toughest jobs in the world of real estate investment. Pleasing and retaining residents, ensuring properties are well-taken care of, and protecting your investments on the day-to-day is an often under-appreciated but critical part of your success.
Property managers keep everything running smoothly, ensuring that an investor’s profit margins remain high as they anticipate problems, address issues, and take preventative measures. It may be easy to imagine property managers as the lazy landlord who collects the check at the end of the month, but there are many moving parts, complicated systems, and more than a little experience at play for the property management team at Memphis Invest.
We sat down with three members of our property management team: Nathan Gray, who is head of both our property management and customer service, Jennifer Stewart, who oversees property management alongside Nathan in our Tennessee offices, and Missy Blazek, who is over property management in our Texas office.
Together, they shared a few insights into the property management experience at Memphis Invest.
Insights Into What Makes the Turnkey Property Management Process Tick
What does a day-in-the-life look like for you?
Jennifer: While we do the same things each month, every day in property management is different.
Starting the month out, we are setting our goals, building up our lease closings, and starting to collect the rent. As we work through the month, we are calling on any late payers, handling and resolving maintenance issues, screening future applicants for residency and building our renewal numbers. As the month comes to an end, we are pushing to meet our numbers and goals while always providing that excellent customer service to the resident.
My personal day to day is always different because as I have worked in property management, I have had the opportunity to work in almost every aspect of the property management team. I like to fill in where needed if people are on vacation or if the workload in one area is more than others. I do focus a lot of my time in the leasing department—managing the future residents and making sure we are putting the right people in the homes and trying to keep our vacancy rates down. I enjoy being able to jump around to different departments as I may be needed.
Missy: I’m early to work, and then it’s hitting the ground running. We review the numbers and the rentals. There are phone calls and meetings and interactions with several other teams at Memphis Invest daily. I oversee a team of seven. We address any issues that arise during the day and it’s my responsibility to make sure that my team has everything they need to do their job and deliver a WOW experience.
Nathan: Huddles, meetings, training sessions, emails, phone calls, property visits, reports, in-person customer interactions: you name it, we do it all!
For Memphis Invest, what is the most important aspect of property management?
Jennifer: The most important aspect of property management is getting the house rented as soon as possible at a rental price that will benefit the owner's investment while at the same time be a fair reflection of market pricing in that area. We also have to make sure we place the best possible resident in each home.
Missy: Our customer service. There’s a big difference between good property management and excellent property management—it comes down to communication, empathy, and respect. And that all ties into unmatched customer service from our teams.
Nathan: People. It's all about the people. If we get that part right, the rest falls into place easily. We even talk about this in our interview process for various positions within our firm. Nothing we do is rocket science. We can teach you everything as long as you are coachable. The people part though, you must be naturally good at.
Why is it important that the property management at Memphis Invest is in-house? How closely do you work with the other Memphis Invest teams?
Jennifer: This is SO important. The day to day, hour by hour communication between departments is crucial to getting the job done. We depend on other departments just as they depend on us and we work closely to make sure things are as perfect as we can get them.
Missy: No one knows our product as well as we do. We work very closely together and interact on a daily basis.
Nathan: We are intertwined completely. Everything they do affects us, and everything we do affects them. If they succeed, we succeed.
What makes excellent property management so important to the success of an investment?
Jennifer: We want to build those long-term relationships. We want people to renew and stay in the house longer than their original lease contract. If we do not provide excellent property management, we will not retain residents.
Missy: Your investment is only as good as your team that is caring for it!
Nathan: Property Management can make or break this whole thing...It is a very tough business, and a lot of things can happen, good and bad. It's how we respond that matters. It's about doing what we say we are going to do. It's about being good at what matters most. It's about relentlessly following up and seeing things through until the very end.
How does the property management team go above and beyond to give residents the WOW experience?
Jennifer: We strive to provide excellent property management by really following our core value—always do the right thing. Memphis Invest serves 4 groups of people: their employees, their vendors, their owners, and their residents. We want to treat the residents the same as we treat the owners, vendors, or employees and provide that ultimate customer service and WOW experience.
For example, once a maintenance issue has been resolved, we reach out to that resident over the phone and confirm that the job is complete and they are satisfied with the work done. I don't know of any other property management company that does this!
Missy: Delivering a WOW experience means not stopping at “done.” For example:
New Residents have moved into their new home! Most would stop here. But why not call or send a survey and see how their move-in went? How was our process for you? What can we do to make the experience even better?
Resident submits a maintenance request and work is dispatched and completed. Great! Our job is done...NO! We call to make sure the vendor was pleasant and treated the home with respect, we make sure the work was completed to their liking, we ask what we can do to improve our process and make this unfortunate situation more pleasant or smooth in the future.
It's knowing that the knowledge we seek and the ability to become great is beyond the “done.”
Nathan: We care. I can name many, but one way in particular. We send out surveys after every new lease closing. And you know what, we do something with them, daily! We read every single one of them aloud. We act on them. If it is negative, we visit the resident that supplied the negative review in person, often with flowers and cookies, and make it right. We thank them for their input because it is what we need to improve. We then train our teams on the feedback provided. We learn from every failure. We care.
What is your advice for property owners regarding property management?
Jennifer: Remember to put yourself in other's shoes—try to look at things from different perspectives. I like to go sit with customer service and listen in on conversations with owners so I can better understand their side of things while at the same time I am directly involved with residents and listening to what they have to say.
Missy: Have faith and trust in the team you've chosen to manage your investment.
Nathan: Learn the ropes. You need to know how it works, so you can then know what to expect. It's not just about collecting rent and sending you a check. There are numerous moving parts, behind the scenes, that you need to have a grasp on to understand what the business entails. This will prepare you and us for success together. If you don't know, just ask!
Learn more about our team, clients, and what it’s like to work and invest with Memphis Invest in our latest Culture Book.