LOS ANGELES-Managing director at CLASS Inc., Danny Soule has had a successful career increasing occupancy in new construction, rehab, repositioned and underperforming assets. His experience and industry knowledge in property management made him a prime candidate for RealShare Apartment‘s property management strategies panel on October 24. The panel includes industry veterans Brad Cribbins, Alliance Residential COO; Keith Dunkin, RealPage VP of business and client services; Scott Morrison, Legacy Partners senior VP of property management; and Laurie Lyons, senior VP of the Lynd Co. Tony Ferrell, portfolio operations manager at the Bascom Group, will lead the group as moderator. GlobeSt.com sat down with Soule for a preview of panel discussions.
GlobeSt.com: Why is it important to hire a property management team?
Danny Soule: There is a number of new product on the market that are changing the way apartment operators are fixing their rent, and I think it is important to have somebody on your team that knows how to correctly implement them on the site level. Additionally, you want to have a team that knows how to leverage the value in an asset, whether it’s the amenities, the location or the bells and whistles within the units themselves, into potentially higher rents. A good property management company will have an onsite team that can squeeze more rent out of an asset than somebody who is untrained and doesn’t know how to sell those features.
GlobeSt.com: We are in the middle of a development boom. When these units begin to come online, how will rents be affected?
Soule: There could be some saturation on the horizon, but what you’re seeing is really a maturation of the industry. In other words, there is older product that needs to be either upgraded or replaced by newer product. But, not all markets are the same. Some markets will be affected more than others. The key driver to all of this is always going to be job growth.
GlobeSt.com: Which markets do you think will be more affected by saturation?
Soule: There are some markets out there that are tough. Washington DC is a rough market, and in the Mid-Atlantic we also see a little bit of saturation.
GlobeSt.com: What are the main factors driving occupancy?
Soule: Millennials. They are the fist generation to be a renter by choice. People want to be with their peers. Good urban infill is leasing up very, very quickly, and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon. It is a generational trend we are seeing.
GlobeSt.com: What are the common issues or problems you see?
Soule: There is a need for a savvy sales team to be at point of sale. If it is a lease up, then it is important have a leasing specialist, a diligent leasing plan and a team. We don’t focus enough, in my opinion, on training site-level people. That is crucial and drives revenue for an asset. It is often neglected. There is so much time and capital put into investment but success lies in the onsite team. People onsite can derail the best deals out there, so it is important to make good hires and invest in training.