203: Property Management How To’s

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It’s time to tackle the inner workings of property management! Today we welcome Matt Hughes, owner of Hughes Realty Group, who has done it all in real estate and has settled in focused solely on property management. Matt is answering all of our burning questions about the logistics of property management including how much he charges, how he finds tenants, how do they schedule repairs and when they check on property conditions. Property management is a piece of the real estate puzzle that many agents are curious about how to get into, so Matt is giving us the down low! We even get to hear about his family’s long history in real estate and how the family business is working out for him now.

Matt has been in and around the Real Estate business his whole life. He grew up watching his grandfather and father run Pine Park Plaza Properties. Matt is married to his highschool sweetheart, Brittany. Together, they have one human daughter, Harlyn and one doggy daughter, Pixie. Matt loves spending time and making memories with his 3 girls every chance he gets. Matt loves business and helping others succeed in business too!

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The following is a rough transcript provided by Otter.ai.

Nobody wants to drive there, Matt. Drive there. He’s going to be the governor someday

I can’t wait for the first alligator to be a server.

How come you can find cocaine in a cereal box? But you can’t find the ketchup in Newbridge? Do you happen to be on Main Street? He’s like, how do you know that? And I called Matt. I’m like, yeah. Hi, y’all welcome to hustle humbly. It’s Alyssa and Katie. And we are two top producing realtors in the Baton Rouge market.

We work for two different companies where we should be competitors. But we have chosen community over competition. The goal of our podcasts is to encourage you to find your own way in business to stop comparing yourself and start embracing your strengths. Hi, Alyssa. Hey, Katie. Welcome, Matt. Hey, that was really good. Hey, this is episode 203. So nearly 200 episodes ago. Wow. It should have been 204. Not it’s 203. This is all I can do. Matt was our very first guest 199

episodes ago,

you would think you’d be able to get better pull people out

there. Right? Should we know more people by now

I know. It’s just you’re so smart. We’re so smart.

And the people have been asking us questions about property management. And apparently you’re an expert.

Oh, necessarily, say an expert. But I have a lot of years of experience. I think that making mistakes and fixing problems and great.

Are you going to share all your mistakes with us? I’ll share your phone for sure. Perfect. That’s gonna be awesome. Well,

when we talk to you, in episode four, we kind of talked about a bunch of different things that you did. But property management was kind of always there. And then when did you just recently start your property management company.

Um, what so we, or maybe you want and then six, I got licensed. And then of course, we had the downturn of the market in 2007 2008. And I got into property management to offset expenses and lifestyle and stuff like that, and really learned the business from there, stepped out of property management in 2015. Got back into it in 2017. And the market was really on the sales market was really, of course everybody knows it was crushing really well. 17 1819. So we were growing, growing a little bit there, but still mainly focusing on sales. COVID really was the tipping point of going this thing’s about to change the market. We’re in a market where usually five to seven years of a downturn, the flood happened in 2016 in Baton Rouge, which kind of offset our, our market and in a different way which homes that sold weren’t supposed to sell that sold and people bought that probably wouldn’t have bought because they could buy a house and read and do do some remodel stuff and things like that. So it kind of pushed our market a little bit further. COVID was great for everybody in sales, but then interest rates start started rise and then 21. But I saw that in COVID. Like I said, my my game plan went into focusing on building systems and models for property management, so that we could grow in the market we are in today. So our phone rings every day on new new people.

Do you also feel like during the part of the market just before COVID And during COVID When the interest rate got so low? So many new investors entered the market?

We had some but most people were selling like so. So if you were if you were you could say that because the market was so tight. You are the not the market market was so flush of sales. We had investors selling their properties because they can make the most amount of money that they’ve seen in that market. So we lost a handful of clientele and stuff during that these from 2000 to 2000 22,020 to 2021. Okay, yeah, that makes sense. Yeah.

And into your family have some like how did you get into it in the first place? How did you even know what to do? Back in 2007

I answered a newspaper ad of a guy that needed somebody to run a portfolio Bruce McMoRan. He owns rental somewhere on Scruggs, one of the largest Baton Rouge real estate brokerages at the time, it started in 1962 he went he went to mainly just portfolio management from rentals and to aid in HOAs. And so he needed someone to come take over a portfolio and headed up and answered a newspaper ad as I was trying to find something to keep my life Since active because I was a buyer’s agent at first and then we talked about on the first episode, give Kayla Johnson another shout out because someone will listen to this and call her about it. So after me and Kayla, after the market kind of shifted, I got into property management with bursts and learn the business from them.

You remember how many units he had that you were managing 230

Total Units, but we had a couple of property managers that were running portfolios.

That’s how you got started, like, that’s what you learned? Yeah, what’s

up Trial by Fire jumped into like 114 doors and probably 10 HOAs. Oh, wow.

I don’t even know what question to ask at that point.

How hard is it to run an HOA? That’s my immediate question.

We get asked all the time, we currently have two HOAs that we manage. And it’s not something that we’re really going to grow in that aspect of the business, just because the the timing of it takes so much. And there’s so many little things that you have to make sure that are taken care of. So we’re not really built for that we dipped our toes in it and just kind of tested the market into them. And when I got out of management and 15, I said the first thing I said I’d never get back into HOA because you’re the guy that has to get everything done. And also the guy that no one likes, right? And I’m a high personality, and everyone needs to like me. Yeah. So it didn’t it didn’t fit. But business model of it is really scalable. It’s very profitable. And that’s why there’s so many people that are in it, get it

or more people getting into I feel like there’s a couple of big players locally, like how many would you say locally? I’m not going to hold you to this. But do you hear of the same two or three?

Yeah, we get calls, I get calls all the time, because when I left Reynolds, RSS in 2015, we were managing somewhere around 45 HOAs. And so we we had, we had a model that we we didn’t want the more or less cookie cutter, Hoa stuff, we wanted more of the upper end like malar lakes because lakes, right places like that. And so that’s real Santa Maria, those were our clients, that was our clientele. My vision for HLA was farming to some houses you like, Hey, by the way, there’s too many problems to go from that. Well, it’s time

consuming, right? Nobody wants to work with the one they don’t like, Yeah, send them

a letter because their dog was using the bathroom and someone else’s.

And then you’re like, hey, and have you ever want to sell your house, I

didn’t work for where I wanted to be with it. And so I exited that and said, I’d never get back into it. And we got approached. Lee moss is a really good referral partner of ours. And she referred us one last year that we’ve kind of taken on and trying to work out everything with it. But it’s how’s it going? That’s going every day, isn’t it?

Okay, well, so far listeners that are new, we have lots of new agent listeners, give us like the quick quick description of what you have to do if you run an HOA.

So you’re the point of contact for the for the association, whether there’s 1010 units or 10 houses or 10,000. So you’re you’re you’re paying the bills, you’re making sure vendors are doing what they’re supposed to do, you’re you’re you’re getting all the income that comes in, and things like that, just like regular regular property management. So

for example, I just had a closing a transaction where there’s a board of directors, and that’s just the people that live there that are like the HOA president. But then if you need to get your roof replaced, you would talk to the president who talks to the management company is that kind of

every single one of them is different. Every person that sits in that President seat either leverages the management company a different way than than right. They’re all they’re all run different.

doesn’t live in a neighborhood. You know?

Y’all wouldn’t either. Yeah.

I am in a neighborhood governed by them. For sure. At HOA Yeah. And we have a management company that handles it that it doesn’t do a great job, I would say it’s very bureaucratic, because it’s basically like the they send out a person in a car once a month to drive through and check to make sure you’re not breaking any rules, which could mean you built a fence that you didn’t ask for permission to build your, I don’t know, you put a swingset in your front yard like you did something you did something that you weren’t allowed to do, including parking a car on the street, but you have to get that wrong three times before you actually get fined. Well, if someone just came to visit you, they’re unlikely going to be there the exact same time, you know, a month later when because they come at random you don’t know when the checks are. But then you have to send a letter which costs are are our dues a certain amount of money like the letter cost $6 to send and there’s like a fee and then they send you these, you know, very bureaucratic I could totally understand why someone would want to get into HOA management or if you did, I feel like it would have to be the only thing you did correct,

because it’s hard. But at the end of the day, it’s the management company that handles the money

that not only do they handle the money, they handle all of the communication in my neighborhood. So I know who the president is, I can’t call that person, I could go knock on their door, but they would still tell me you have to go through the management company to get anything done. If you had a complaint, or you wanted to add a fence or something I have to go through though, when we have a portal, like an online portal to like, do all this.

Look, it’s funny, because like, I wasn’t even thinking about HOAs. For this episode, I was just thinking about managing,

I’m ready to move the

rental, like as a person who has to deal with an HOA, that’s why I was like, no more. But I think about

I get calls all the time about, hey, how do I find this person? Or who manages this? Because I used to have that database just in your head. That changes going through using the Secretary of State finding out who they are moving that way. But yes, I that was once part of a big, big chunk of our portfolio, a very strong profitability,

volume manage more individual units, single

family or some multifamily and we’re we’re bridging into some commercial

do is it all properties that other people own? Or do you manage some of your own property?

No, I manage all every everyone else’s. I sold mine to get 10,020 Oh,

you’re like you were one of the ones? Okay. All right. That makes sense. Okay, so do you know how many units you’re managing? Now?

We have somewhere and we represent somewhere around 100 or so clients and landlords?

How big is your team? Like how many people are involved in that in your so

I have Megan who is director of operations. For me, she kind of oversees the day to day.

She’s great. She’s She’s great. Okay.

And then Derek, Derek is in the trenches. He’s, he’s really running the day to day pm side of it. Okay.

The stuff that like, it’s so tedious, right, like collecting

rent, and putting tenants in place taking complaints scheduling,

repair repairs.

Okay, great.

So time can start very time.

Some software’s that we use. Okay, good. Question. I want to get

your system

before you get there. Tell me what you what the I guess the market charges for property management, if you want to share what you charge for property management? Like how many if someone was like an agent who made these businesses slowing and they want to add in property management as like a side hustle or a supplemental part of their income? How many units do you feel like you’d need to make that, you know, impactful? Financially,

I mean, the traditional market has always been 10%. of gross rents. This typically, is where most management companies charge. What we found when we were building our systems was people thought that you got all these different things are pieces of management, style our system in that 10%. And some sometimes, I guess, really not a part of what this management is. So we hired a consultant to come in, kind of deep dive into our market and help us come up with a different pricing strategy to stand out. So we will we have a three tier we have a three tiered system, okay. First first level is the most economical level. Second, we offer pet assurances we offer eviction assurances, and things like that to where we’re not necessarily collecting pet deposits that pay a pet fee. The tenant does. And so because typically, it was it was with as if we’re looking at what a pet deposit is, could be 250 $350, you price yourself out of the market. Anytime you get up over that, if you have a dog that is causing damage to a house, it’s $5,350 goes nowhere, out the window fast. So I personally guarantee through our business that I will give $1,000 In our pet assurance package, in addition to the deposit. So $1,000 gets a little bit further. We use we use a software. The dog goes through an application process. And so they have to go in and if it’s had any issues, it will be in this database. Really do they pay to have their dog dog certified through our system. Oh, interesting. So So yeah, there’s a bunch of different things that make us stand out than just someone that’s wanting to do a side hustle.

Okay, and you like, do you like individual owners? Do you have owners that have many We

have we have a mixture. Yeah, doesn’t matter like, okay, like we are we have a, we have owners that just have one and they’re like, I just need to rent this out, I don’t have time to mess with it. And then I have investors that are like, add to their portfolio

all the time.

I feel like from a profitable standpoint, doing it as a side hustle would not be easy, because you really have to have protocols, systems liability, like all of these things in place. And it’s not worth having all of those things for just two or three property and most

brokerages. It’s the most litigious part of it’s the most litigious part of having a real estate license, because there’s so many people that do it that don’t really have the bearings to actually fulfill it. Okay, there’s a lot of brokerages that you could go interview and they won’t take on any of your management stuff. They don’t want to be they don’t want to have property management in their arm. Because it is a it is you have to have so many checks and balances in place because of whether it’s fair housing or whether it’s what different different things that go through, let’s do

a little dive into the fair housing. How like, give us some, what are some of the things you have to do to make sure you’re complying with fair housing when your property managing

main thing is, treat everyone equal? And don’t let your owner get involved in any decision making?

Yeah. So for instance, if you’re taking applications on a unit, and you have to, like vet the tenants, and then how much of that information, can you share with the owner? None. You just tell them who you see the name when they sign? Yes.

But you main thing is to keep them out, we have a scoring system that we looked at their their rental history, credit history, how fast they fill out the application, oh, how fast they get us the document, oh, their credit score. And so then it gives us a score built on our the data that we built. And so they’ll either qualify as a regular tenant or they’ll qualifies, hey, you qualify, but you need to give us a double deposit.

Oh, that’s interesting. And do you partner with the owner of the property to decide what score they are comfortable with? Or you choose? Like your tenants are? completely out of it. Okay, so how do you what software is it that scores them? You created it?

That’s amazing.

Yeah, me, Megan. And Derek just kind of sat down. And we were looking at how we would score this, what’s the best way to do it to keep it as an equal playing field possible. Because in our market, today, we’ll get an application on, let’s say, one house might get an application six applications at once. And so then you’re, traditionally you’re going through them one at a time, but you might be looking at number one. And then number six actually is the best qualified person, but you don’t get to them. So we wanted to create a system to where we can screenshot them and look at the best score possible. Just like a multiple offer situation. Okay,

that makes sense. Yeah. Do you then give tenants like a time like, hey, we have an application and everyone has to get theirs in 24 hours? And you’re like, do you do you give a time like as if you had an offer in? No,

not necessarily depends on the situation, how they come in, because they come from different different ways, will acknowledge everyone that we have multiple offers or multiple locations, and then if they want to pull at that point, we’ll refund their application at that point, but if they want to go through the process, they’re gonna pay the application fee.

Okay. Do you use any software that is available on the market that you didn’t create?

Like, yeah, I mean, so we use from the beginning at folio is our financial software. So it’s, it’s where our tenant portals are, it’s where our owner portals are, it’s where we pay our bills. It’s where I do our checks and balances where our cash flow of our owners, that’s where tenants will put in maintenance requests that we can link to the property to where they’re all in, that’s the monthly, okay, make sense? We use a software called tenant Turner. And so tenant Turner basically is a portal that that connects to at folio that the tenant can go and schedule the appointment and go through the application process from that. We’re looking and we’ve been testing the market on self shoeboxes, okay, I was gonna ask, how’s it going? I like it a lot. We it’s because whether it’s sales or tenants schedules are always so hard that tenant wants to see just like we talked a minute ago about your person need to see it and they could they couldn’t get there for an hour and a half. Well, that person didn’t leave. And the getting that tenant to come back was was extremely difficult and reengaged them so we in a couple of markets, especially in our outer ascension Livingston where we have a struggle like hey, my office is on industrial black. So if we’re, and we have a property in Jefferson here We can get there in five minutes. But yeah, most of the time, that’s if it’s if we need to get there. But we’ll block out appointments somewhere in some gated communities, that doesn’t work. But for the most part, it’s not that but then it just keeps them. So if they don’t, so intendant Turner, even if we were scheduling, we’re gonna meet face to face. It’s sends them a message, and it says, Hey, we’re going, we have an appointment in an hour with them. And so it reminds them because they’re not putting it in a calendar right most of the time.

So is the self showings happening? Like y’all are using it now. So what happens when they get there to the property,

so it sends them a code, they have to be in the geo service of it, they got to upload their driver’s license to get to be able to get to it through an app. Okay, so then it’ll send them a code, they’ll open up the code, and then not the close the close the close it up, and then we send somebody to check to go to coke to go back and walk through it.

Make sure everything’s good. Okay,

when you’re basically a person from your office has to go even if they weren’t at the showing, they’ve got to go that day. Yep. Okay, that makes sense. Oh, how’s that going?

Yeah, it’s, it’s going? Well, I mean, of course, if you have, let’s just say you have six vacancies, I think we have four or five right now, if you have four or five vacancies, and you have Derrick, who’s trying to schedule all these showings, he’s out in the field majority of the time, and you have so many things in the office that need to be Yeah. And also, that’s the case it’s becoming a more reliable source to be able to one get the tenant in the property when the tenant wants to see it. And leverages Derek’s time a little bit.

So it’s just the three of you, you, Megan, and Derek. Yeah.

It’s a lot to handle. Yeah. A lot of luck. Okay, so the software is helping with scheduling maintenance repairs, like does it go straight to a vendor? Or are you going to have to be involved? Again, like a request comes in for a leaky faucet? Correct?

Yes, we want to diagnose what that what the one I want Derek to diagnose what the what the problem actually is. Because it could be Hey, go check your breaker, make sure that breaker didn’t flip. Instead of charging our owner a $75 trip fee or $100 trip fee to go hey, man, I was just a breaker, but I got to charge me troubleshoots the trouble troubleshooting as much as you possibly can, if there’s an escalated problem, like an emergency, we’ll we’ll be out there on site. Yeah. But then we’re going through to some owners want to handle their own maintenance, they want to go do it themselves. So we’ll coordinate it with them. Or we’ll send one of our vendors.

Okay, what if you have to send your vendor then you pay it or and they then reimburse you for that amount the owner, you just

withhold it.

So typically, we were running a 30 day business. So rent comes in on the first it’s late on the fifth, I can evict you on the sixth. And so from there, we’ll collect the rent, we cashflow or own or somewhere between the 10th and the 15th depending on timing of the month and the day of the how the how the month falls out. If we have a lingering bill, we’ll either hold that out or we’ll wait to cashflow that owner at the end of the month. So it comes out of their proceeds shows on their cash flow such an expense to the business. Okay.

Just like how much it goes into this. I was surprised actually, when you said that it was like profitable and scalable, because to me, it just seemed I mean, I just know like one house, okay, so an agent wanted to manage one house to make a little extra money. And it’s like 100 bucks a month. Like, that sounds terrible. But if you have the systems in place, and you can manage 100 or 200, or 300 or more, and your systems are working, and you can just keep putting them in. But then at some point, I guess your manpower of Derek would be needing more. That’s it. So someone

has to be available 24 hours a day? No, necessarily.

We don’t do 24 hour maintenance. All right. So even on an emergency call, correct. Well acknowledge the call, like with it via email, so they know that we received it. And then the next day, next business day, unless it’s an emergency over the weekend, we’ll hang out we’ll work that during that period.

A few more questions about your systems before we move on. So if it’s in the night and they have an issue, is it like an email template they get back automatically through your system?

Like if they’re if they know they email us during the no because we want it to be personalized or whatever that whatever the request came into. Okay, so if it’s in the middle of the night and and we don’t see it till the next morning, we’re acknowledging it first thing that export

Okay, I see. I feel like you would have to have a lot of email templates in this because everything needs very similar responses. Yeah, it

just seems like you have ripped additive situations right?

That you just tweak it for sure.

And that’s where I folio jumps in.

Okay? So you at folio, tenant Turner, any other software you feel like you use,

we use lead simple as well, that helps all of our communicate absolutely is not very good tenant tenant communicator, because tenants like to like to communicate via text message. So if it’s outside of a work order or something like that, or and they can call us, of course, but we have automated drips and different things set up in our processes all the way from onboarding a client to tenant renewals. And move out,

okay, yeah.

What is your is it to people tend to renew tight? What’s the term

depends on location a property is a big key on on renewals. But majority of the time, we’ll we’ll have a tenant

for a couple of years, few years, how long are your lease is a year one year? Okay.

So you have a bunch of different types of properties,

I would tell you LSU properties probably are or a year or a year out. We try to we try to start working that renewal sometime in February, April, make sure they’re going to renew because in May, you gotta get a summer. Yeah, people are people are executing their leases for the fall in May. Okay, we need to be able to facilitate that or will be will be a dry drop market there.

That’s a great point. That is, are there any other because we’re in a college town? And that’s why you’re saying that? I mean, there. It’s based on the semester, are there any other parts of town that are cyclical or seasonal, where, you

know, most most seasonal? In Australia, like and investors call me all the time and asked me, Hey, I want to buy the sell sheet property. I mean, you you go both go through? What’s the name of that subdivision? that backs up to where Tiger land is? You go right through that now? And it’s, yeah, it’s not. It’s not a LSU town anymore. All right, right. And so you never know when it’s going to turn as these big multifamily conglomerates come in and build these awesome facilities and have all these amenities for these kids want to go to lazy rivers? Yeah, they don’t want to go stay in they don’t want to go stay in a three bedroom, two bath

40 year old.

How they’ve been raised? Yeah.

It’s harder than for parents to invest. Yeah, for their student to

live in? No, I think you’re, I think you’re seeing like Magnolia Lake, some of these outer parcel areas, universities. Yeah, you’re seeing more investment there. Because then go buy the house and then rent a bedroom D train and offset the expense rather than paying in 2020 200, to the Wildwood or whatever. And you still have some amenities like you can go to the clubhouse in the swimming pool.

That’s the transition I’ve seen working with so many parents trying to buy for their kids is that, you know, probably before 2020, when the big complexes were completed and really popping up, a parent could come in and get a pretty decent condo for like 150 and like close to campus on the bus route. And now you have to spend 300, at least

inter to get into them.

I just sold a $300,000 condo. Oh, I was like, Oh my gosh, is this with the LSU market has come to and the parents are like, my kid wants to be here because of the lazy river and the gym and all their friends are there and they do socials and it’s more of like, it’s just sort of like

just like, everyone wants to be in that in that area. We’re off to get in a car like yeah, that’s where that that generation is they don’t want to have to go drive to demo springs to go get something done. They want to do it right their own. Nobody

wants to drive there, Matt

drive there.

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So what’s your favorite type of property? Are you trying to get more houses, condos, complexes like?

complexes really are our bread and butter because it’s so hands on. We sold a handful last year have a couple for plexes single family is really the bread and butter scattered throughout the batter’s metro area. I’m getting into commercial my dad’s been a commercial agents forever he owns him in his family owned a bunch of commercial properties. So getting into that industrial warehouse management side is where we see coming into the fourth quarter of this year.

Where kind of commercial projects like are you managing?

Oh, warehouses? Yeah, office warehouse. Okay. Any particular area like will be majority industrial Plex? Yeah, we’ll have some out in Livingston now. But yeah,

where are the differences in managing commercial versus residential? I mean, obviously, businesses so like the time of day when the problem would happen would be more. And tell us what the

least difference, the main difference is just being able to offer that residential experience through software’s to those rather than owner having to write a check. Like I leased from my dad, I’m like, Man, I don’t like writing you a check every single month. I’m gonna ACH this to your let’s let’s create you jump into my software. Let me show you how it works. And so that’s how that has has making it easy on their tenants as well, rather than having to mail a check or go drive a checkbox.

So you feel like commercial management locally still kind of old school? Yeah, for sure. Okay, so is that kind of like the angle you’ll take to get into that market? Like bringing it more technological okay, like, like rejuvenating it? Oh, nobody wants to do that. It’s hard, then you’re gonna knock on doors? Hey, you forgot to send your check. Oh, it’s lost in the mail. Like,

in most just like most residential realtors, they don’t want to, they don’t want to mess with the management side of it. But they want to make sure they trust the person that they’re handing it off to? Do they know that when this person goes to sell it, it’s their client. Okay.

So much for bringing that up. How do you ensure that

I will give my real estate license back to the commission if I sell one of your people’s houses?

So anything you manage you tell the agent that referred them to you? goes right back to you. They say there

was just one I gave them one to manage. Okay, Derek called me and even said that the tenant was thinking about purchasing it. Oh, and gave you that too? Yeah, he was like, let me know what you want. Like, I just wanted to put it back in your court. You know, if, however you want to handle it, but Derrick was like fully transparent and keeping me in the loop with that. Do you

do any sales now? But but not out of that pool?

No. Well, it’s just my people, right? Well, it’s, it’s my client, I brought the client, yeah, or the client was a non referral lead. It’s a little bit different. But I’m not going to put them in a CRM database, turn them into a seller of our, our

name. So you find you get more agents now that refer you

I want to be the I want to be the Baton Rouge Metro agent partner in property management. I love that I want you to be able to own you to be able to send me a piece of wire, you know, that is coming back. Because I mean, every time we have a conversation with a new person that is just not sure. Just like that, I’ll tell you, I’ll send my license back before I think

I like that. That’s very respectable. And I’m gonna tell you a quick little anecdote. I had a client who I sold a house to great client knew her personally ish. I mean, she moved away to Texas, so she bought a house with me. And then when we she went to move to Texas, she’s like, I’m just gonna hang on to it for a bit and rent it. I don’t do property management, but I will as a favor to my clients put a tenant in place. That’s as far as I’m going to take it if you need, but and not my current office. There was another agent who was doing property management. So I’m like, Listen, I’m not going to do this property management. Would you like to handle this? Well, they developed a you know, consistent relationship because that person was always there doing their property management. Guess who listed their house for sale whenever they were tired of renting it that agent who I gave the business to? And quite honestly, I think that’s doing me dirty. Oh, yeah. 100 Yeah, sure. What Why would I ever send you another property management client?

No, that’s not what I want. No, I’m for it.

It makes more sense because agents who don’t do Property Management like most of less need someone they trust to be like, Well, can you help my client? But there’s still my client? Yeah. Okay, love that. How do you handle tenant complaints or disputes?

Oh, each one is different depends on the situation. We try to hell it diplomatically as possible. Sometimes we have to get the owner involved, sometimes we can handle whatever it might be, it just really depends on the situation itself.

When I have tenants, I require them that they pay a certain way electronically. Like it’s like, if you want to live in here, this is how you have to pay. Is that how you do it? Like if you are going to rent one of our properties? This is the form of payment, and it’s the only thing we accept?

Well. It? No. Mainly because you need to give them an alternative source to be able to bring that to a physical location. Because if let’s just say there was a glitch or they said there was a glitch. If the rent is due through the tenant portal, if you can’t get it through the tenant portal, my address is 12232 Industrial Plex suite 28. It’s do their

first to the fifth, what would you say? Is your breakdown? Does 90 98% They all want? Okay, that’s good. That’s the thing that I always wondered about was you can’t be tracking down everywhere.

You hate the mail service? Yeah, I can’t trust the mail. You don’t want you don’t I want I want electronic payment as much as possible. Because I want to know the funds are there. Yeah, because you bring me a check one time. And we have an issue. You get a little bit of past you give me twice, you no longer get to bring me a check. Wow. Right. So but but no one wants to do that anyway, anymore. So right back in the day, and in 2008 through 2012. That’s you had to deal with that. I mean, yeah, if you walked into my office at RSS, and on the sixth of the month, you were walking over a couple $100,000 worth of rental. And then you have to have an accountant that’s going through there and putting in deposits, and going through that piece of polio is really leveraged, or the our software is really leveraged. So it’s not have not having to go to hire another talent base person that has to be educated, you have to have a trust factor to them.

Yeah, my very first job in college, I mean, our jobs before that, but my first job in college was at a commercial real estate office in the accounting department collecting commercial, like Office deposit, like rent deposits. And then I had to, like, make a photocopy. And I had to take them to the bank. And I had to put it like in the ledger and do the whole

into some sort of online software anyway. Right.

Right. Right, right. It’s gotta go somewhere, anyway. Okay, how do you keep up with changes in the in laws for tenants and landlords? It feels like it happens a lot locally. I don’t know if that’s the same nationwide,

you know, 100%. Um, so this kind of goes back to episode four. And why why Alyssa thought I’ll want to want to narrative in her interview me. I was board president 2019 with not really serving in a capacity on on any committees or anything like that it was more or less, putting myself out there to run and I got involved there. And it’s kind of pushed from that, too, from 2019. On the governmental, real estate governmental side of it. Like board wise, I thought that was going to be where it would end. And it’s transitioned from I go to the state capitol, probably, depending on what’s what’s on the agenda. I’ll be at the state capitol a couple of times during session two or three times a week, maybe,

wow, you check and see what they’re just watching the bills.

I’m building relationships with state representatives and state senators, having conversations on advocating why this is good or why this is bad for our industry. That’s a full time job. That and that’s what Megan and Derrick handle so much of what I have the day to day because I’m at the Capitol, like, I’ll go to my office like would you would you have this morning like I’ve been at the capitol this morning, watching this committee and figuring out how we’re going to handle being an adversary are who need to contact a vote for this.

So fascinating, you more than because of that other property managers are in the No, no, I mean, you’re involved before the law happened. There’s not like

there’s a there’s a handful of us that are very, very much are an AR director. Currently. There’s a handful of us that are in this property management world that are watching. Like we did a For LR before session started, we reviewed 160 170 bills, that all pertain to real estate, property management homeowners associations.

So by the time it hits the news, you knew all about it and what the path has been to get to the news and like your inbox, give

us a handful of what are some of the things in that 160 bills that you’re having to review? Like, were any of them stand out? Are any of them a big problem? Are they all a big problem? No,

no, no, I mean, majority, majority of the time, majority of the time, the session is more like

this, most of the time, like 160 bills, and then by the time you get to committee, are through committee, maybe a handful are not come out, okay. And so from that period, you’re on the floor, having conversations with the people that are outside of because the committee really makes the decision if it pushes forward or if it dies in committee. And so if it goes through the floor, then it opens up the state rep side, and then it’s got to go from state rep to State Senate and then the governor has that sign off on right so there’s a huge process to it.

He’s gonna be the governor someday.

The there was a handful that affected private property rights on especially on the property management side that didn’t want you to be able to verify any criminal background checks are things like that come up from the session. And so you’re you have to go and between Louisiana Realtors Apartment Association and other other housing efforts have to make sure that those committee members understand the the word

practical application correct. Because they’re just in theory, theory.

And they there might be a state rep from Alexandria, Louisiana, or Monroe that has no idea how that’s affecting something locally here in Baton Rouge or in New Orleans, a little bit different than their world where they live in to that.

Okay, that makes sense. Can we then talk about Airbnbs? Yeah. Do you do any Airbnb management? Would you ever?

I would I would have never say never anymore, but probably not.

Tell us why.

I’m one I don’t necessarily know if I could see the our market today, keeping up with the demand for an Airbnb maybe LSU during the LSU football season, are through baseball season. are maybe summer, I just don’t see a current market like a Tennessee or like a Florida or our destination, like you’re coming in town for a night. I mean, why aren’t you staying at the watermark? Or why aren’t you staying at Renaissance or somewhere like a hotel? Depending on where you’re going to be? If we had a market for it here, possibly. I just, I don’t necessarily see. I think you move from property management to hospitality. Yeah. And I don’t necessarily see that being something that I want to be. Be. Because you are 24/7. Yeah. Yeah, that’s true. Hard to build and scale that at that, at that way with the professional thing. I

will say I’ve never had really, I mean, I bought my first rental property in 2014. And I’ve never had a call in the night from a tenant ever. Oh, that’s a long time. But with my cabin I have for the Airbnb. They expect like,

hey, this thermostat is not working. Yeah, I want this done. 15 minutes, right. Well, just like if you’re staying at a hotel, and you walk into the hotel, hotel room, there’s something wrong with it. You were going down, and they were like, hey,

write me towels now. Right? That’s a good point. I guess when you’re, when you’re renting a property for a year, it’s whether it’s a detached home or not. It’s your home like you you would if I woke up and my AC didn’t work in the night, I’d be like, well, I’ll call someone in the morning. It’s unfortunate, but I wouldn’t expect that someone’s going to magically appear in the middle of the night.

I’m also expecting you and my at least is expecting you to use it like it’s your own too.

Right. Okay. Yeah. guarantee that,

oh, oh, necessarily want you go and do a bunch of repairs. I say that in our lease, like, let us handle that because I don’t want your non handyman abilities fixing something that you shouldn’t be fixed, right? But I want I want you to take care of it. You have to take care of landscaping. You have to take care of the appearance of the house. You have to I want to be able to schedule a walkthrough and make sure it looks like you’re living there and you’re living like you shouldn’t be living. How often do you do As walkthroughs you have six months, every six months or six months.

Have you ever been just shocked?

For sure we have um,

can you tell us the worst thing you’ve seen in the name names?

I mean, the worst worst thing was waking up to a call that a guy burn the house down and he was in it. Yeah, I mean, passed away

like on accident. Yeah, he was

like getting burned the house down. That’s probably one of the worst terrible

with that.

Sure, there was some insurance,

fire insurance got got involved. My owner was really great and gracious. He ended up donating the property was right next to the church. He, he he donated the property and they gave him one a little bit further down the street. So it worked out perfect for all parties involved. We had a

you have like, you know, you walked in like we’re doing a walkthrough. I mean, they have to know you’re coming. Right?

Well, we’ll give them notice that we’re coming Come we’ll worst thing is you see a Rottweiler that’s not supposed to be there. Happens a lot. How do you handle that? We we evict the dog if we can? If that’s the main thing, service animals become an issue. Yeah, everybody can have a service and we’ll make a joke with my team. Like, I can’t wait for the first alligator to be served. Right. Right. Um, what do you do with that?

What kind of animals have you seen as service animals, anything mainly,

it’s mainly mainly the service animals that that we see are the ones that are that are that will challenge an insurance policy, anything that has an aggressive sense. Oh,

like a German Shepherd, German Shepherd,

Pitbull, Doberman Pinscher, Rottweiler, all of those dogs that have the mean, they’re in there sometimes listed in your insurance policy. That’s right. And so if your tenant has them, you have an issue. And then if your tenant has a service animal, you have a fair housing, housing issue.

Like what do you do when it you can’t have it because the insurance but then you can’t not have it because if your housing,

we’re we’re at the point where I don’t think the insurance company’s gonna want to challenge fair housing.

Well, you just have to be like, sorry, I have proof. It’s a service animal.

tough situation. That is tough.

And I have permission to share one of our encounters. Where as y’all know, from our safety, our safety episode that Tanner is in law enforcement. And

wasn’t gonna say this one.

I really needed

and handles a lot of narcotics cases, and had been watching a certain home that was on his radar

called me 10. Or you could call

and I get a call from Matt. That’s like, Where’s your husband? Your husband? Busted? Yeah. 100%. And he was like, the next time your husband needs to know what doors just let me give him the key so I don’t have to repair door frames.

I mean, I get a call from owner who lives in maybe Lafayette at some or North Carolina, Kent where he lived around like a bit, but it’s like, hey, my neighbors are telling me police are all over the house. Like, you don’t say I’m leaving my office and first phone call and make his to her. Like, where’s your husband? And is he gonna? Does that new?

Is he on Main Street?

Is he on? I mean, this was a nice $3,000 month rental is a nice day.

Yeah, I mean, times from what I hear, you know, drug dealers can make the best tenants because they are compliant. They don’t want to be investigated. They’re gonna pay on time. They’re low key, you know, it’s just, if you get started

having some issues with these folks, we were in a non renewable state with them. We were just waiting for the renewal to come about. There was no, there was no real really, violations are nuisance that we could go to eviction and hold up an eviction court, okay. Until that bust happened. And then you

were like, no, okay, had that bus not happen. And you said you were in a non renewable state. Does that just mean at the end of the lease? You were gonna say we don’t we’re not offering a 30 day notice to vacate. Okay. Do your leases have a month to month clause, but you can stop that by year. Okay.

So for instance, after COVID when everybody was having problems with not people not paying their rent, because they were in these leases, you couldn’t evict somebody because they weren’t paying their rent? Well, I quit renewing leases. Yeah. And so I went to a non renewal stayed on everybody. So if you if you weren’t paying your rent, I was just not renewing your lease. Okay. out had nothing to do with you not paying the rent.

Did you ever collect that money? If they hadn’t been paying?

I personally, zero. You did not pay me. Oh, thank goodness I had to evict one or we let 131 girl go on 30 day notice to vacate, but had nothing to do with rental, not nonpayment. But back to Tanner. These folks had that. I mean, dogs had had sniff stuff in the walls, they had holes in the walls may cost only six or $7,000 to fix it after the boat.

Because of the places they hide things. Yeah. And I joke with Tanner that I’m like, How come you can find cocaine in a cereal box, but you can’t find the ketchup in the fridge? Like,

right? Well trained not trained for that. No. Oh, man.

Yeah, but I had texted him that day. And I was like, Do you happen to be on Main Street? He’s like, how do you know that? And I got mad. I’m like, yeah.

Yeah. So I wrote up on the property gated community nice house, swimming pool clubhouse, all the words. Yeah, I pull up onto the property and they have cars. And that is, the first thing that happened was he ran into the gate. The guy ran into the gate driving a big old truck, ran into the gate tools called on camera Hoa, contact me. So they fall with their insurance insurance took care of their gait and everything. But we had just started watching them a little bit closer, didn’t see what it wasn’t on rental. We were doing more drive bys. Just seeing what was going on. If there was any, any crazy cars there. We were doing walkthroughs on the house.

And everything seemed okay. Well, no, I

mean, we just we I told her we weren’t renewing the lease that she’s found somewhere else to go. And the the gap between that and the drug bust is

dying. So how much was left on the lease? At the time of the bust?

Not much, if any? We were I mean, it ended up working.

Did their homeowners insurance cover the repairs for that? Or was it worth it to file? Probably not.

Yikes. And it was I mean, in this day and states, you want to stay away from your homeowners insurance? Because it

just gets higher and higher and higher if you use it.

Correct. So sad. It really is. Wow, we got to fight that with them. Temple. Okay.

He’s working on it. Oh, thanks.

I’m cycling capital. Perfect. I love hearing that. Can you for our listeners who are all over the country, give us a little span of like, what are the rental rates that you like? What’s the highest rental per month that you manage? What’s kind of the look like? What’s the range?

What’s really crazy is when I got into the business, the normal range was a 1200 to 1400 1516 was crazy. I mean, 24 $2,600 a month is is is where is your normal, it’s like your average starting to get to the average. Like we have some lower stuff. But but the way our tears work, we don’t really, if you’re looking for a 10% type of manager, our lower point, you need to be you need to be above 1000 bucks a month for us to be be somebody that you want to work with. Yeah, you’d have to be. And so

is it $1 per square foot, like where do you give your owners advice on what price to charge? Yeah,

so what will not CRM we’ll put a CMA together on rental rates. Yeah, the rental market, we have a software called haven’t used it because it was it was so it was like months behind on where the averages were. So we just went to MLS but I have another software that would give me an average, as well. So we would pull in the last and that and kind of we’ll look at both of those. And that’s the other thing we advocate for a realtor that if they’re talking to an investor and having a conversation on rental rates, let’s make sure we’re on the same page, right? So them this property and they think they’re going to this just $300,000 rental is gonna bring in 3500 bucks a month, which really is only going to bring in 26. That’s a big difference.

It might not be worth the purchase.

Sure, no, that’s it.

Our rents going up or down right now.

They’re coming down a little bit markets kind of slow in bulk, we typically what we’ll see is when the interest rates continue to rise and Mark, our market will heat up and so right now we’re just holding some inventory and once that happens, we’ll we’ll run a race to start pushing again.

Do you have a vacancy rates? I’ve never like you have any issue with vacancies?

No. I mean, we have some normal will usually we usually keep one or two at all times. Right now we the more properties we’re gaining on LSU. You’ll see more in this period of time because people are moving to the new apartment complex or they they want a new house or their parents finally bought something. Yeah.

How do you market a vacant property?

Tenant Turner and at folio syndicate through all the Zillow pieces, and Zillow goes to rent USA all those rental sites. Because our market pulled Zillow Rentals out because real Zillow was gonna charge property managers just like they charge salespeople. And so we weren’t advertising on Zillow at that time we put it in the MLS. So we Co Op, we offer a co op to two agents, when an agent refers us business, we give them an agent referral on that, as well. But we kill off that in the biz, in the co op rate that you do depends on the rental rate, really. But typically, you’ll see some that’s not where it’s most of the time not worth it, just like a rental is not worth it based on the co op is not worth $1

I’ve seen so we do like a percentage of the first month’s rent,

we’ll do a fix, right? And it’s because we’re putting so much money on the front end of this. And it’s more expensive on our side of it. Because yeah, all the systems, we’re trying to make it somewhat the handfree. Even

Yeah, right, the handful of listing for a client as a favor and to get them a tenant at for a long time. I would do like a 5050. Co Op, right in the first month’s rent. And then I realized I had to do all the work. Yeah, yeah, the agent that brought the tenant might have shown it, and that was kind of where the buck stops, right? And I’m like, well, this doesn’t make sense. And so I had to change it. But for

sure, no, I mean, that’s, that’s how it was, but from, from loading it from the new property all the way to marketing it on the market. That’s just the beginning pieces of it going in and making sure that that tenants the right person for that property going through the application process. You’re talking about a lot of hours in time and that and so we we were built on the management side of it, not the lease fee side of that lease fee is just part of it. We we try to break even make a little bit of money. But we’re really make money on the long term management of it.

Same sense.

Will you share with us? What do you charge a property owner for you to get the tenant in place? Is it enough? Is you’re just charging a 10% per month? Or is there a

there’s a lease fee? It’s broken down in the different tiers? Oh, I see. Okay, it gets like the lower ones a little bit more expensive, and then goes on.

He has a beautiful flyer,

I’m gonna need to see. Okay, great. I can make that flyer 100%. Great, great job.

Did you think about it?

No, no. What would you

say are some of the challenges of being a property manager?

What’s the hardest part?

Yeah, what’s the hardest part?

Dealing with it? I mean, just like sales, you’re dealing with emotions and personalities. You’re dealing with someone that has a set expectation, and you have a property owner that all they want is their rent, they want to run as lean as possible. And then you have a tenant that wants to pay their rent, and they want to make sure everything runs as smooth as possible. Problems come up. So just dealing with that emotion and being as diplomatic as possible as going through and making sure that it’s a win win for everyone involved.

Yeah, it’s good. It’s very interesting.

You still manage all of yours yourself?

I do. But I just feel like so I have three in Baton Rouge, and then the cabin in Tennessee. They’re all occupied right now. And the VRBO sort of runs itself. I do have a cleaning lady in Tennessee. And that’s what’s interesting to talking about different owners, I have had to tell my cleaning lady a few times, like I’m not the owner that wants you to scrub a stain out of a towel, right? I want you to toss the towel and I will buy new towels. Right? That’s just me. But I realized very quickly that from the cabins she cleans, she has owners that are so frugal, don’t want to spend $1 like they want to salvage as much as they can. Whereas, you know, I’m a different type of owner that like wants it a certain way. Yeah. And so people are different, but so I kind of feel like me and my cleaning lady in Tennessee. She’s not a property manager, but he is almost every time a tenant moves out because her schedule links with Airbnb and VRBO. So they all sync together. So when the tenant leaves or the guests leaves, she’s the first one there. And she calls me and lets me know if anything’s missing is anything broken? She sends me photos. So in a way like she is my property manager and she’s my teammate there

and in a way you see you have someone put eyes on that property more frequently than if you were leasing it out for a year

100%. So more opportunities for people to go wild but right right, but I feel like I do need to be pretty hands on with decisions there. So I need them to call me anyway. So what’s the point in them calling someone who then calls me just call me if there’s a It’s really not bad. I feel like it comes in waves like sometimes I go two months with never getting a call. And then one month, I get four calls. And you know, we just have to deal with it. But my residential ones here, I require them to pay electronically. I log into my app on the first of every month and make sure the rents came in. And, you know, it’s it’s not too much for me right now

have that many. Do you have some clients that that hire you for property management that only have one unit? Yeah. Because some people I would think, or do you get some that ended up being accidental landlords like they couldn’t? Yeah, so then they’re like, why don’t want to deal with this?

We’ll have we’ll have them. We’re in the middle of one right now that they we put sign management agreement, one year contract, we’re gonna lose all that stuff, put it in the property. And then like, I think we want to sell like, so we’re dealing with that more in this market today than we ever have.

How do you? Is there an out for them? How do you handle that? Do they have to pay the whole we try

to coordinate it towards at the end of the lease as much as possible. And just tell them how hard it’s going to be for a property to show with a tenant if the tenant out. And then you have to you have to acknowledge the rental, the rental agreement that’s in place. And then that’s going to lower your market of ownership, because you’re not going to be able to sell to an FHA or VA, right, right. Seems

like you could call some of your investors and be like, this one’s tenant occupied if you want it,

and we do we do. The problem with today’s market is the prices are so high that my guys, My guys are so bold, and they want something pennies on the dollar rather

cheap, high.

So the market hadn’t really worked to buy. But I think we’ll see, we’ll see a change in the market here in the next year and a half that will probably open up the rental market to buy a little bit more unless you’re just cash heavy. And you’re like God, I want to get a return better than better than from a bank. And yeah, you can go get a 6% or something return on your money. 8% on your money from there. Yeah, interesting. Very.

I could ask you questions all day. And I feel like we need a second episode of just stories, right? Yeah.

I would like you to shock the people with some like, yeah, I can I can feel you’re holding back. See it on his face. He’s holding back that we were gonna be interviewing a politician? Yes. I’m so well behaved. Yeah. All the right answers. Tell me about the worst thing you’ve ever say.

I mean, you see, you see stuff all the time, the main thing is just handling it with the most diplomacy and making sure that you don’t say something emotionally that you’re gonna regret.

Have you ever been sued? In a property management capacity? Is this? Okay. Oh, wow. That’s a real word that works.

Ah, no. I mean, we we, and I was having this conversation with someone. A couple weeks ago, I was like, the goal, the goal is to stay away from that. I mean, there’s some things that people are just litigious and they’re going to be able to just, but at the same time, the owner doesn’t want something the tenant doesn’t want something. Let’s figure out what the Win Win could be. Right. And let’s move on. And then go from there.

Yeah. Okay, interesting. I’m good. Yeah, I mean, to harass him. So now I think we’re

good said all the questions,

everything like we wanted to add smears if you want me to keep going.

Who was one of the speakers? I thought I saw. Let’s figure that out.

Feel free? Did you find one that you really wanted to answer? I’m happy to hear it.

How often do provide financial reports we do that monthly?

Oh to your owners. Okay.

Mm hmm.

We talked about lease renewals. You just asked me about lawsuits.

We can get a lot done. You’d be surprised in our little, you know, one hour timespan

do you have to carry like a special insurance for yourself like an umbrella policy,

we use the lrec we’re gonna regular Ianno we’re gonna look at getting private insurance this year. But for the most part, it’s we we’re just increase the coverages

Yeah, as a private owner. Like my tenant stuff isn’t covered under my Ianno

like okay, right, right. Right.

But because I’ve managed it under my real estate license. My No, uh huh.

I’m satisfied. You did a great job, man. Thank you for coming in. And we didn’t even let you tell us for the end of this. In Episode Four then go learn all about all the real estate hats you have worn I don’t want you to tell me that again. But just give us your like, quick 32nd We’ll do the intro the outro like who you are. Okay. You know where they can find you.

I’m located in Baton Rouge. My name is Matthews. Um, me and my dad have used Realty Group in Baton Rouge. I just recently merged with him. In September October of The 20 2202 was a tour. I have really bridged my my business from into property management, mainly I do a lot of Governmental Relations stuff with a lot of different entities. And do that piece of it a good bit. That’s where a lot of my communication and get involved with different bills and committees at stake

is your passion. Right? So you just have a passion for that for

some reason. Yeah. And so I love I love property management to so and so I love real estate. And I’m very passionate about private property rights and making sure that we insure our kids kids get to have private property rights. And so going through that that’s what really we’re after. After being involved with the local level, state level now national level, I’ve really just put on a hat that’s just going and trying to figure out what’s the best for, for the state, not necessarily an elected position. But yeah, sometimes you can get more done

as an advocate. Yeah. I love that. Thank you for being here. No problem. Did you bring a toast?

Oh, I did see that. I mean, I don’t I don’t follow somebody on my team. Yeah, I would have to toast to my team again. I mean, I wouldn’t be able to do the things that I get to do without Meghan, and without their Megan’s a huge piece. And then I introduce her to people, she was like, she runs my real estate side of my business in my life, and she’s she’s huge. My dad being being busy. My dad’s been really, really interesting. I didn’t realize how much it meant to him until we did it. And it’s very important for his legacy. He

never wanted to push it, but when it was your idea is

pretty cool. I talked to him more than ever. Meet your dad. That’s sweet. So we’re on industrial Plex. Can you say? Bucky? He’s, I

mean, you could miss a name like bunkie that’s for sure. Right? And I remember I’ve just passed by it on on industry Plex so many times you see his signs and I’m like, I didn’t ever put two and two together. Yeah,

no, I mean, that was what was really cool was out in 2006. I really just wanted to do my own thing be mom. Yeah, learn on my own and not necessarily just fold into what what he had going on. That could have been the probably the easier road to go and probably not need as many hats or half as many.

I think you bring a better value.

I love my path. And now that I’m on there, it’s works out perfect.

So cheers. Megan, Derek, Dad. Love that. Okay, thank you for being here. We appreciate it. Thank you. Goodbye. Bye. Bye. Oh,

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Two Realtors fostering community over competition through light-hearted conversations.



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