In an earlier post, "Know Everybody", I wrote about the importance of managers engaging their residents, site team, and contractors. The same benefits that accrue to site managers accrue to asset managers as well.
One of the best aspects of asset managing a national portfolio was the ability to succeed in different markets, to work with different management teams, and to develop stabilization and repositioning strategies. I learned how to schedule capital projects in relation to leasing seasons (more of a thing in the Midwest than in Florida), tailor advertising and outreach to different market segments, and receive the wisdom of experienced operators in their core markets.
At MMA, we brought together our 3rd party property management firms for a two-day summit. We discussed the common challenges of running affordable properties, attracting residents, competing against properties with better amenities or more convenient locations. Most importantly, however, we exchanged ideas -- both successful and those in need of further refinement. Throughout my career, I've placed great value on learning from others and using their knowledge to refine my own ideas. Asking questions, sharing prior experiences, and then continuing the discussion long after the site visit is over are key to successful management.
A throwaway idea in Arkansas turned into a modest program in Kansas City, which then became a blockbuster in Indianapolis. I worked with managers at three firms and three properties to test, revise, and adjust, and then roll out initiatives that reduced my time to stabilize and attract the most desired residents across my portfolio. Those ideas have propagated in the legacy portfolio but also at management companies across the country. They don't have to be original, just better executed than your competitive set.