We know experience matters. We’ve been managing properties for clients since we opened for business in 1994. That we have been managing some of the properties in our portfolio and working for some of the same clients for over 20 years speaks volumes about both our experience and our performance. We’ve seen a lot and learned a lot over the years and we bring all of the hard earned insight we have gained to work every day for the benefit of our clients. Below are a few examples of what we do.
North Towne Villas
127 & 133 Mel Simon Drive
We represented the prior owners in the sale of North Towne Villas. The buyers were an investment syndicate based out of the Detroit area. The new owners did not have a management presence in the Toledo, Ohio area and felt that third party management was the best solution. We were asked to propose for the business and were awarded the assignment.
The property is a B class, market rate, 145 unit garden style apartment community comprised of 9, two story buildings built in 1988. It is among the newest communities in the submarket and at the high end of the rent range in the submarket. The site is sprawling with extensive landscaped areas and parking fields.
We were engaged shortly before closing and afforded limited access to the property prior to the closing. The prior owners took the entire on-site staff with them at the sale requiring us to build a new staff from the ground up. The loss of the former staff’s property knowledge combined with the scant information provided to the new owners by the prior owner through the sale and hand off provided a few post-closing surprises. The on-boarding of the property was rather abrupt and a bit more challenging than we or the client anticipated. The first several months of the assignment entailed assembling the proper staff, establishing a reliable baseline understanding of the property condition and maintenance procedures and dialing in the appropriate rental structure. It was also necessary to clean up leasing files and roll all tenants up to current long term leases and current rental rates. Fortunately we were able to draw on the resources of entire property management team to work through the challenges in a relatively short period of time and put the property on track toward the performance our client expected.
Campus View Apartments
1700 Secor Road
Campus View is a 78-unit student housing community located immediately adjacent to the University of Toledo campus. The property was built in 1973 and, from that point until we assumed the management responsibilities at the property it was managed by the developer/owner. The owners were a husband and wife who also owned and operated three other properties located in Bowling Green, Ohio. The couple was divorcing and the wife was taking sole ownership of Campus View. She chose to engage a third party manager to operate the property.
The property had a long history of high occupancy. It had been consistently well maintained and had an ideal location. In recent years several new, purpose built student housing communities had been built in the area around the UT campus. The property, though a bit dated and lacking the amenities of many of the newer properties and with smaller units than virtually all of the newer properties, retained a competitive niche with a particular appeal to graduate students, foreign students and faculty who preferred the quieter environment that the property offers.
Operationally the property was a bit of a challenge due to its smaller scale. The owners had in the past shared staff and resources between their four properties. Part of our success with the property is based on our ability to share our leasing, management and maintenance staff to scale properly for the property’s needs. We were also able to bring some more contemporary best practices to the operation to modernize and streamline. We were also able to improve connectivity and engagement with residents and make leasing and management more accessible to students by leveraging the web, social media and other digital tools.
Cedar Run Apartments
2629 Navarre Avenue, Oregon, Ohio 43616
We have managed this property for the current owners since 2001. We were originally asked to take over the management of this 42 unit property by the out-of-town owners after they had suffered some embezzlement by the prior third party manager. Given their prior experience, the owners insisted on a particularly rigorous accounting controls regime.
We were able to establish a satisfactory control system and a fee structure to support the extraordinary staff time that it entailed. We have maintained the system throughout the years that the client has been with us.
The owners are provided with professional third party management, consistently high occupancy and peace of mind that their money is secure. They have also benefited from the operational stability that our long term relationship lends to the property.
902 Gribbin Lane, Toledo, Ohio 43612
We took over the management of this 87 unit property in January, 2015 for First Eleven LLC, an ownership group based in Australia. Since they had purchased the distressed property several years prior they had cycled through a series of third party property managers in their attempt to get the property turned around and stabilized. The property continued to struggle and underperform through the management changes. In particular, our immediate predecessor as manager seemed to have reversed the meager gains that had been achieved at the property previous to their engagement. When we were brought on as manager occupancy had fallen to 65%, 31 units were down and uninhabitable and the property was in physical disarray. Further, financial reports had not been completed in six months. The owners were extremely frustrated with the prior manager’s performance and the turn of events at their property in the preceding six to twelve months, all made worse by their distance from the property.
In the initial 45 days of the assignment we poured time and resources into assessing the condition and needs of the property. We dedicated a senior property manager to the project and she spent most of the first 45 days personally on site. Beyond the needs assessment, the initial focus was on tenant engagement to stem the flow of tenants leaving the property due to frustrations with management responsiveness and the property’s condition. We also interviewed the on-site staff to determine which if any should stay with the property. We hired a new on-site leasing manager and began training. An operating budget was produced and the monthly financial report was issued on time at the end of the first month. Finally, a plan and budget was developed for getting vacant units rent ready in time for the spring leasing season.
By the end of the second month on the assignment operations at the property were materially improved and the chaos that we inherited was subsiding. The tenant exodus had abated and we were receiving positive feedback from tenants for the improved attention to their needs and the condition and cleanliness of the property. Much remains to be done to get the property to the level that the client desires but they were very quickly made comfortable that the foundation was being laid for the achievement of their goals as is evidenced by the quote below sent with a bouquet of flowers near the end of our second month on the job.
Vanderbilt Place Apartments
5739 Dorr Street, Toledo, Ohio 43615
This 47 unit Class C property is owned by an out of town investor. At the time we assumed the management of the property it was in distress. Occupancy was low and the low quality of the remaining tenants meant that many were delinquent and the behavior of many of them made it difficult to attract new tenants. The building was accumulating vacant units that were not rent ready and many of the units could be described as needing heavy turns. The owner wanted us to stabilize the situation. He was willing to make capital investments in the property to improve its performance but wanted money to be spent judiciously.
We developed a leasing and capital plan along with an operating budget. We tackled the issue of the problem tenants head on. Many were evicted. We instituted property rules and regulations to stem bad tenant behavior and reduce conflicts between tenants. We focused on getting units rent ready and the common areas of the building cleaned up. Mindful of the owner’s limited resources, we found ways to move the process along at a reasonably fast pace while paying for it largely out of property cash flow. We responded quickly to new tenant inquires and to tenant maintenance requests.
At twelve months into the assignment the property was stabilized and performing successfully. Occupancy was up dramatically and on par with the submarket. Most importantly to the owner, the cash calls had ceased and the now positive cash flow allows us to continue to address capital projects at the property.
“Thank you for your support & professionalism. Kind Regards, Paul and Brad, First Eleven.”