Benefits to Being a Boutique Property Management Firm
How working with a small shop can go a long way in taking care of your asset
Like most industries, when you think of real estate we almost automatically think of the giants that have a national, or atleast city wide foothold. When it comes to brokerages in NYC specifically we think of Douglas Elliman and Compass, and when it comes to development we think of RXR or Extell, among others. The same is very true when we think of property management. Companies such as Orsid and Halstead have essentially monopolized the industry, making it very difficult for smaller companies to penetrate and establish a position amongst these property manager moguls. Don’t get us wrong, we do not necessarily blame you. When you have an asset, especially a condo/co-op with board members deciding on the behalf of hundreds of other tenants, you want to make the right decision and work with companies that have had massive historical success in local markets. We get it… they are easier to trust… we guess. However, we are here to explain to you the benefits of working on the other side of the spectrum with a boutique property management firm… because yes, there are benefits! In our efforts to shine a light on these benefits, we will give some insight into what we are doing at Lexiti Realty in order to gain traction in the industry and implement new and efficient ways of doing business in an otherwise archaic industry. Yes we are boutique and we are proud! Here are some benefits:
Real estate in general tends to fall short when it comes to adapting to technology and incorporating more efficient ways of doing business. The orthodox way of handling property management for years has been either face-to-face interaction or done via sending notification letters to remind tenants to send their monthly rental checks, etc. This method, although consistent, is very time consuming, redundant, and requires storing of all documentation passed from party to party (landlord, manager, tenant, contractor… the list goes on and on). Quite frankly, this day in age this method is still widely used and is severely out of date. The difficulty large property management firms face is breaking their old methods to adapt to newer more technical methods that go a great distance in speeding up the whole management process. As these companies that have been around forever continue to grow, it only becomes more difficult for them to change to modern techniques, thus leaving them to trust what has worked for them historically, leaving them behind on technological advances. Typically, the larger the company, the longer the phone calls and the more burdensome it becomes to solve issues. The beauty of boutique firms like us is that we are able to adapt quickly to the rapidly changing environment around us. Because we do not have hundreds of clients it is much easier for us to make operational changes that will benefit our entire business, allowing us to pick up technologies such as Sitecompli and YardiBreeze. Both of these interfaces enable us to go completely digital in all aspects of our business. From real time building violation notifications to online lease applications and rent payment reminders, our clients are able to solve all of their building related issues from the comfort of their own home and within just a few hours.
A great comfort of working with a boutique property management firm is knowing the people you contact will solve the issues that are presented first-hand. First off, we answer the phone guaranteed. We do not have any extensive voicemail or navigation to reach the appropriate lines as we only have one line and answer the moment you call. Newer/smaller companies such as us do not even have a landline. Our clients are essentially connected directly to our cell phones which enable us to take immediate action to any issue that arises because… well, we answer the phone. Major companies not only have 15 minute waiting times to speak to a representative, but the representative you do end up talking to has no direct relationship to you or your building and thus helps you through a distant perspective and by asking for your ‘account number’, which can be very frustrating. At Lexiti, we not only know you by your first and last name, but everyone in the office has been to your building and has probably met you at some point in the relationship. This allows us to have a relaxed and frank conversation with you and one that is truly constructive because we have a first hand understanding of your building and perhaps even your individual apartment space.
Similar to being hands-on, we are also quick to take action. If you have an issue with sending an online check through one of the platforms we use, we will walk you step by step through the process right then and there so the issue is addressed. As we mentioned above, larger companies have divisions. The representative on the phone hands your issue/inquiry off to a different department who then notifies a field worker to add your building to the long list of ‘runs’ they must make throughout that day. Thus, you are almost re-telling the issue to the field worker who eventually makes it to you (hours after you’d like probably), almost as if you are explaining the issue for the first time. Again, this is very frustrating. Boutique firms have your best interest in mind (next section) and thus operate to serve your interests directly. Forcing you to wait is bad business… and we do not like bad business as we have much less financial cushion as some of these large firms who can afford inefficiencies. From answering the phone, to addressing problems first hand, to using tech to respond faster, we are efficient and client focused.
Inherently, being boutique means we have less clients. We see this as an advantage, and you should too. Because we do not yet have hundreds, perhaps even thousands of clients, we never spread ourselves too thin. As explained above, our focus is always on you, whether that means using your first name when speaking to you on the phone or handling your issues directly, you are our top priority. Our CEO knows landlords on a personal basis and has met each and every condo/co-op board member we work with. We personally screen all of our supers and building workers to ensure they are the perfect fit for your building. And if we have multiple smaller buildings in the same areas we try to have the same super who knows the area well to focus on both. We also have personal connections to third party contractors and services that we reach out to and clearly define problems too so when they show up to the location that needs assistance they know exactly what needs to be done. Boutique firms don’t chew more than they can swallow and thus are able to form quality relationships with clients and efficiently answer to all of their needs.
Not all boutique firms are the same obviously. We can only really give you our perspective, however, all boutique firms have the ability to be hands-on, easily incorporate more efficient resources to their operation, and get to know you on a personal level. Inherently through running a smaller operation these themes exist and they provide an advantage larger firms simply cannot. Everything is trade-offs. Sometimes larger companies are necessary to handle the capacity that your building requires, this is something we cannot deny. However, if you are looking to be more than just another client with an account number, boutique firms can go a long way in providing you comfort and efficiency.