As you may know, I’m one of the founders of the National Property Management Network. Todd Breen, today’s guest, is another. Thanks to this close working experience with him, I’m deeply familiar with his expertise in the property management industry, and am glad to have him on the show to share that expertise with you! We’re actually recording this episode on location in Las Vegas at the NARPM Broker/Owner Conference.
Todd has been the owner of a property management company for over 30 years, but he has been involved in the industry from an early age. His dad was a real estate broker, so he began his unofficial training while working in various capacities for his father from the time he was young. Today, Todd is the owner of Virtually Incredible.
In this interview, Todd will talk about outsourcing and why it’s vital to keeping your rates competitive and being able to scale effectively. He also shares brilliant (and sometimes counterintuitive) advice, experiences, and techniques. For example, he explains how he actually increased his income when he reduced his doors from 300 to 140 in 1994.
[02:25] - Todd turns the standard script on its head by plugging Brad instead of letting Brad plug him. He and Brad then talk about the cost of putting things off instead of doing them right now.
[03:40] - Todd takes us back to his beginnings in real estate and property management. He also shares the problem with thinking that any money is good money.
[06:29] - We learn how Todd’s income actually increased when he reduced his total number of doors in half.
[07:16] - Todd explains how he handled reducing his number of doors, mentioning his book The Manager’s Manual.
[10:50] - Virtually Incredible focuses on three main tasks, Todd explains. He describes his shift from working in his business to working on it, and talks about how SEO factored into this. As part of this story, we learn how he met his wife.
[15:04] - Brad talks about his choice to make videos when YouTube came out.
[16:09] - Todd talks more about what Virtually Incredible does, and what he expects it to do in the future.
[18:24] - Brad jumps in for a moment to elaborate on what Todd has been saying about verification.
[20:12] - We hear about a secret shopping campaign that Virtually Incredible performs every so often to evaluate management companies in a specific geographic area. He then explains how having people answering phones 85 hours a week dramatically reduced his vacancy list and days on market.
[22:53] - The property management has largely ignored the consumer experience for too long, Todd says, then explains what he means.
[26:46] - Todd and Brad talk about DocuSign briefly, then move on to discuss the preference of today’s tenants to text rather than come in and talk face-to-face. At least 75% of people choose to pay a convenience fee for lockbox entry than to come into the office to get the key, Brad reveals.
[28:46] - The checklist Todd’s company uses for the leasing cycle has 72 steps.
[31:25] - Todd discusses outsourcing, and explains why many property management companies tend to stagnate at a certain number of doors.
[32:28] - We hear Todd’s thoughts on where he sees Virtually Incredible going in the future.
[34:13] - Brad talks about top-down pressure and capped out (or falling) management fees.
[35:53] - Todd offers a story about his grandfather, a pharmacist, to illustrate the risk of thinking you’re irreplaceable.
[38:24] - Brad and Todd move on to talking about their venture together, National Property Management Network.
[40:12] - Todd shares his closing thoughts for the interview, expressing his excitement at seeing people coming up in the industry. He then shares his email address to make it easy to stay in touch.
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