I had the great fortune of learning the foundations of property management directly from a very sophisticated, successful real estate operator in New York City. But before I get to that, let’s rewind.
Here’s my story.
I was born in the heart of SoHo. A true, native New Yorker. At 5, I moved to Michigan, where my mom’s side of the family lived. Michigan was everything New York City was not: green, spacious, smelled nice, ultra-hospitable. Picture it: NYC street kid suddenly turned suburbia-dweller.
Transplanting from the NYC streets to Michigan at the age of nine was my first real glimpse into understanding how one’s surrounding physical environment shapes our living experience.
Fast forward to college.
I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Organizational Studies and emphases on Economics and Strategy. I had no idea what I wanted to do professionally. What I did know: I was a problem solver, I was task-oriented, and I enjoyed dealing with people.
For three years I traveled non-stop as a Management Consultant and dealt with a host of companies across a diverse set of industries, helping to diagnose problems and implement solutions to improve the at-hand issues.
I knew in my heart I did not feel rewarded by the work for a variety of reasons.
At the same time, circumstances in my former boss’s *third* real estate venture led him to buy out his partners. These partners carried out much of the business’s legwork. To name a few: acquisitions, asset management, property management, and accounting.
In no capacity was I qualified to absorb any of these responsibilities. I had no experience, no industry knowledge, no educational background on the subject whatsoever.
You would be right to think that any sophisticated real estate operation would have backfills in place for this transition. But my boss and his former partners expanded too quickly, far beyond their bandwidth and individual scopes. That, coupled with a confluence of unanticipated events, positioned me to be the best-suited candidate to run his business.
My boss had options, don’t get me wrong, but he saw my hunger to learn the real estate business and realized he had an opportunity to mold a blank slate. He took a risk entrusting me with the responsibility of these assets. I will always be grateful for this.
Into the deep end I delved.
I learned enough to be dangerous on the several fronts that my boss’s former partners oversaw. I quickly realized I had a knack for the property management component. Property management commanded the most time of all these spheres, and it was also the foundation of the prosperity of this business as I will later detail.
Problems to be solved, tasks to be completed, and people to deal with aplenty.
Ironic – at the same time I was grossly under-qualified for my new role, my boss was equally overqualified for his role as he became increasingly involved in the day-to-day. He taught me firsthand what is important to an owner: boosting the bottom line, keeping tenants happy, and maintaining the physical property impeccably.
These three pillars are interwoven. What this means: keeping tenants happy enough to renew their leases minimizes downtime and the necessity to pay brokers fees thereby boosting returns, and in turn, tenants will only do so when they are satisfied with the physical building environment.
I had the privilege every day for three years, oftentimes in the format of a one-on-one setting, to learn firsthand from a master of an industry I grew to love. I will always be thankful for that experience.
Back to property management. The whole point of this blog. In fact, the whole point of this company.
I learned from my former boss the real extent to which property management translates to the bottom line. Ultimately, these buildings were his assets, and he wanted the highest possible returns.
But how does one achieve the highest possible returns through effective property management?
That is the art I was taught because it was so deeply drilled into me during these three years. It is the only way I know how to do this job. A select few lessons learned:
- Don’t just pay the bills, scrutinize them to ensure each is within normal range. If you notice an outlier, proactively engage a vendor in your rolodex to source the issue and cure it.
- Pound the pavement and take stock of building conditions regularly. Know what to look for when inspecting.
- Understand that real money is lost when tenants do not renew. Go the extra mile to make personal connections with tenants, call the good ones if they fail to renew and incentivize them with creative concessions to get them back on board because it makes good business-sense.
- Know that tenant arrears, when not actively addressed, build up and create cash flow issues and litigious situations. Stay on top of delinquencies on an ongoing basis to avoid altogether.
- Recognize the quality of reporting and the metrics that landlords care about and want to see. Big picture, understand how effective property management feeds into boosting these metrics.
- Letting capital projects wait until a dire situation presents will only end up costing more. Think long term.
- Build a rolodex of trusted vendors. This business is all about knowing the right person to tap for a given task, and building a mutual sense of loyalty and accountability.
Bringing it all back.
I started Boost Management because I believe there is an opportunity. Owners and investors deserve a property management service that maximizes their bottom line. Tenants deserve to be happy in their living environment. And finally, achieving superior returns for owners does not need to compromise tenant satisfaction. Actually, quite the opposite.
I look forward to getting to know your stories and providing you with the best service possible.