Lessons From 4 Property Management Companies That Successfully Scaled Their Portfolios

Last modified on April 16th, 2024

Managing multiple types of properties presents as many challenges as it does opportunities. Keeping records, maintaining different systems, handling maintenance requests, and overseeing the financial and compliance side can put a lot of pressure on your team to balance everything. 

In the 2023 NAA Property Management Industry Pulse, sponsored by AppFolio, we found that operational efficiency is the biggest challenge for property management companies of all sizes. All of the busywork and different systems required to manage single-family, student, affordable, and multifamily properties can hold your company back from expanding and scaling. 

 However, having a comprehensive technology solution can enable businesses to scale successfully and overcome many inefficiencies. To see how this is possible, we’ve collected insights from four property management companies that have successfully scaled their portfolios and boosted operational efficiency at the same time. Keep reading to see the top lessons you can take away and apply to your own organization.

 1.) Use a Centralized System of Record and Management

With operational efficiency a top challenge for many property managers, using a centralized platform is a way to reduce the common pain points, including:

  •     Managing maintenance costs and ongoing maintenance requests and jobs
  •       Keeping track of projects and vendors
  •       Performing labor-intensive management processes
  •       Managing communication between residents, owners, and vendors

 As well as reducing these pain points, centralizing your system and keeping all of your data in one place makes it easier to uncover insights and understand business performance so you can capitalize on opportunities for the future. 

 Atlas Real Estate is a property management company that saw the benefits of switching to a more centralized system of operation. With over 9,000 units managed across 8 different states, trying to run an efficient operation across single-family, multifamily residential, and commercial real estate proved to be a big challenge.

 Previously, communication and management were handled through emails and calls, making it hard for the company to keep track of correspondence between their team, residents, and vendors. 

 However, after switching to a centralized system, now all of their communication, including maintenance requests, work orders, and correspondence with maintenance workers and other vendors, is in one convenient place.

“​​There was a time in our company when everything happened through cell phones or email, and it was harder to know what was really going on in any given situation. AppFolio’s ability to centralize that communication in one place makes it clear to the resident what’s happening and makes it clear for us on what we need to do.” – Tony Julianelle, CEO of Atlas Real Estate

 Read more about Atlas’ story of growth and expansion through one central platform. 

2.) Choose Reliable Integrations That Allow for Customization

 The operational challenges that your team is facing may leave you with less room for offering customized services for residents or owners. Customization can create management challenges, as it’s more data to keep track of. However, this could provide a beneficial experience for owners and residents.

 Nomad operates over 3,000 units, including single-family, condos, and community associations, across 12 states. PJ O’Neil, CEO and Co-Founder, wanted to create the very best experience for renters and owners by offering them greater flexibility.

 With such a large, complex portfolio, it’s hard to find technology solutions that can offer this level of customization. However, by using a centralized platform with a large selection of best-in-class proptech integrations, PJ found that operational efficiency was greatly improved, and the platform made it easy to add on more units by layering more curated and reliable solutions into their tech stack.

 “The Nomad platform is a ‘choose your own adventure’ in a way. You can have a full-service experience where we do more for you, or you can choose a DIY experience where you do more yourself. All of that experience is powered by AppFolio Property Manager.” – PJ O’Neil, Co-Founder and CEO of Nomad

 Read more about Nomad’s unique customer experience.

3.) Use Automation to Increase Efficiency

 Automation and AI have been a huge part of the conversation in property management over the past few years. With more automated solutions and technological advancement in AI, property managers are freeing up teams to work on more important tasks, speeding up processes, and gathering insights.

 Evernest has utilized automation to scale quickly and efficiently and refine processes within its 32,000+ unit portfolio. Managing a large volume of single-family rentals, community associations, and multifamily residential properties, Evernest needed a system that prioritized efficient processes and record-keeping but was easy to train new staff on as the company quickly scaled. 

 Automating processes helped Evernest’s team members work more effectively and spend time on elements of property management that are more enjoyable and important. As a result, team retention is higher, which has been a common challenge within property management for the past few years. 

 Evernest uses automation for everything from business processes to training and day-to-day management. This means that new hires can get up to speed quickly, allowing the company to grow faster.

 “We used to spend too much time training employees on the old system, and it was very frustrating. But with AppFolio, everything is automated, and we can instead focus on the right things. Our employees love to work at Evernest because of the freedom they get, and with AppFolio, it allows them to have much more clarity on their role.” – Matthew Whitaker, Founder and CEO of Evernest

 Read more about how Evernest boosted team retention and efficiency.

4.) Make Training and Technology Easier for Team Members 

 Effective property management is as much about getting the basics right as it is about experimenting with new technology to improve processes. Tracking unit turns and delinquencies, managing data, and training employees can all be handled more efficiently if you have a single system.

 MD Squared’s philosophy is to make sure the basics are taken care of. There’s no need for an overly complex process when it comes to resident management, communication, or team training. By doing the basics well, it’s a win-win for everyone: your team, owners, and residents. 

 By using one comprehensive property management system, MD Squared has been able to scale more effectively, wasting less time trying to toggle between several systems and complicated processes. Their team members are also not bogged down by busywork that reduces efficiency and job satisfaction. 

 MD Squared had previously used two property management systems that were complex and required more in-depth training and specialist hiring, which proved costly. 

 Having an easy-to-use technology platform meant that new hires could be trained quickly, and there was no need to hunt for job applicants who had experience with more complicated systems. 

“My belief is that this is not a business that you need to create some kind of super sophisticated, super complicated formula. It’s just about doing the basics really well, and when we do that, we serve the property owners and residents in the best way possible. And that’s one of the reasons that we like AppFolio a lot. It helps our managers stay on top of the basics and do them really, really well.” – Michael Mintz, Co-Founder and CEO of MD Squared

 Read more about MD Squared’s approach to perfecting the basics of property management.

 Boost Operational Efficiency With One Powerful Platform

 Whether you’re a small, local property management company or have a large, complex portfolio spanning multiple states, it’s possible to scale efficiently with the right technology partner. 

  These four companies have managed to streamline their systems, use AI and automated tools to save time, and centralize data and communication in one convenient place. The right system can help reduce the common pain points that many in the property management world experience, including poor operational efficiency, hiring and retention difficulties, and compliance management. 

Learn more about AppFolio and see how we can help you achieve new levels of success.


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