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While many investors choose to self-manage, hiring a property manager can make any investment experience easier by mitigating problems as they occur. This is especially true in a unique market like Vallejo.

Today, we will be speaking to Doug Brien, CEO of Mynd Property Management. Doug will be discussing with us the reasons for choosing to hire a property manager and how an investor might choose the best one for them.

Alex Osenenko: Boys and girls, Alex with Mynd Property Management. Today’s topic is all about Vallejo real estate investing, how to be successful and what to watch out for. I have a guest to help us unpack some of this complexity within the market and drop knowledge nuggets and wisdom nuggets to help you avoid some of the potential pitfalls and be successful. My guest today is Doug Brien. Doug, how are you today?

Doug Brien: I’m doing great. Thanks for having me, Alex.

Alex Osenenko: That’s awesome. Good to have you, Doug. And so, Doug is CEO of Mynd and that is awesome in itself. It gives him a lot of experience in the background. But, the more relevant aspect of his career was that he previously was a founder and CEO of a company called Waypoint which purchased 750 homes in Vallejo. So, he knows a thing or two. Doug, let’s get in the subject: how to choose the best property management company in Vallejo, how would you go about that.

Doug Brien: Yeah, so look, the most successful people I know in life build teams. People are not passionate about everything. They’re not good at everything. The most successful people know what they’re good at, they know where they add the most value and they know how to build a team. I think this is true and real estate too. So the best real estate investors build a team.

Some people have a ton of experience, interest and time and they should manage themselves. But, for many, they have other things happening in their lives. They have families. They have jobs. They make more money doing those jobs. And so, hiring a property manager makes a ton of sense.

How do you pick the right company to partner with and be a member of your team? I think having experience in an area and being local is important. So, talking to a number of companies and asking them how long they’ve been in the market. And probably even more important are the people that are on the ground managing. How long have they been in the market? How long have they been in property management? So really making sure that they do know the area. This is a big one and this is one where I see a lot of property managers who do not have good answers—at least by my standards. It relates to performance, right? I want my investment to perform. Hopefully, I set realistic expectations in terms of what that performance will be, but I want to be able to talk to a property manager who can give me numbers. I want metrics. I want measurables because I want to understand if they’re going to perform. And so, important questions that they can see. How long does it take a company to turn a unit over and to re-rent it? How much bad debt do they experience? Like evictions. How many evictions have they had in the last year? That speaks to their ability to underwrite. How quickly can they turn a unit? And so, these are very important metrics in terms of the performance of real estate.

And, obviously, any property manager is going to be able to say something to that regard. But what I want to know is, what’s your system of record? I don’t want to hear generic answers like, “it takes us a couple of weeks.” No, how many days does it take you to lease? What’s your average? What’s the high end of that average on the low end of that average and how do you measure it? And then, is that good or bad in the market? I don’t want to hear their opinion. I’d like to see that they have some market data. They actually know what’s happening in the market, they measure and track how they perform and they’re focused on always having good, consistent and improving performance. And again, it’s not that high-level generic answer. I think you want to dig in and say, “hey, what, what software system are you using to measure all this and how do you track it? How are you alerted if, all of a sudden, the property’s been sitting on the market too long? So, I want to understand if they can perform and I want to see how they measure and track that. That’s important.

Alex Osenenko: Wow, that’s one of the most unique answers I’ve gotten to this question. We’ve done this series in multiple cities we manage in just to help investors sort of get their footing in those particular markets. This is one of the most unique answers I’ve had. Go ask for data and question them on the systems they use to procure the data. And that’s how you go about choosing a property manager in Vallejo. Wow.

Doug Brien: I think it’s a really important question and to set expectations upfront. As an investor, my ultimate goal is peace of mind. I’ve got a family. I’ve got a job. I believe in investing in real estate and I want it to perform, but I don’t want to have to worry about it all the time. So if I’m working with a property management company and I know—and look, this is seasonal and markets change—it’s going to take between 7 and 20 days, depending on how aggressive I am with my rents, and as long as they’re leasing in that timeframe, I’m good. I’d love it to be seven days but, frankly, if it’s less than seven days the rent was probably too low.

I want to know what the ranges are. I want to feel comfortable that they’re measuring and tracking on it. And if I know they have that system of record, and that’s how they operate, then I can have peace of mind to not have to worry because they’re doing what they’re getting paid for. They’re performing. Results are important. And so. I’m surprised it’s a unique answer. To me, that’s the most fundamental thing.

Alex Osenenko: Well, I think it’s great to think about it this way. Many investors don’t really know the questions to ask. And we even get phone calls—we’re a property management company—we get phone calls like, “what’s your fee” is the first question. And I think this is refreshing—this particular take on researching and hiring a property management company.

But hey, speaking of fees, we’re going to do our next episode on fees. And if you want to understand better how to win with Vallejo real estate, go to Mynd.co, M-Y-N-D dot CO. Type in Vallejo real estate. Doug and I have done a number of these educational topics. We’re not doing any selling. This is all about just wisdom and experience shared with you.

And look, if you happen to hire mind is a property management company will love you, but if you don’t, that’s fine too. We want you to win. Thank you very much for watching and Doug, thank you for your time.

Doug Brien: Alex, that was only two! I’ve got one more. We wanted three. I don’t want to sell anyone short.

Alex Osenenko: All right, let’s do it.

Doug Brien: Talk to references. Say, “hey, can I have some client references? Who are some clients that you work within this area?” Talk to them and ask them how responsive are they? How reliable are they? Do they produce reasonable market-level results? I wanted to get that one in because I think that’s a really important step in the process of evaluating a property management company.

Alex Osenenko: Wow. References. Again that’s another first. Well, I think this is the time—Doug is this it or is there more?

Doug Brien: That’s it. You asked for three; I’m giving you three.

Alex Osenenko: All right, this is how you pick a real property manager—go through those permutations that Doug just mentioned. Ask for data. Ask for references. What was the third one?

Doug Brien: Performance Data.

Alex Osenenko: Performance Data. Got it. Alright, so go to Mynd.co. Go look for more. Thank you for watching. Doug, thank you for your time.

Doug Brien: All right. Thanks, Alex.

There is a lot that one has to think about when investing in real estate. Choosing to hire a property manager can lift much of that burden from an investor. But simply choosing a property manager is not enough to guarantee success. An investor must also know how to choose the right property manager for them. Doing so means knowing what questions to ask. Asking for references and having an up-front understanding of what fees apply to their services is integral in making sure your property manager is the perfect long-term partner.

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