In 2023, Dan celebrated his 15th year at GSF Properties. As EVP of Operations, he develops the training, policies, and procedures that they use on a day-to-day basis and works with the executive team to shape the direction of the company. A few years after he joined, the company wanted to head in a new direction — finding and adopting a new property management software.
They had a few reasons. First, they realized they were limiting their talent pool because most employees preferred digital workflows, and potential new hires didn’t want to use an antiquated system. Second, they knew investors wanted real-time data, but they didn’t have the capabilities to provide it.
Since many of their properties didn’t use any mobile technology, transitioning to AppFolio was a big deal for them. They were using ledger cards and carbon copies for accounting, dozens of papers for leases, and work order books for maintenance requests. “It’s like trying to explain to my kids what life was like before the internet,” Dan explained. “God forbid you make a mistake and then have to update three copies of anything: one for the resident, one for you, and one for corporate.”
“We were able to work with AppFolio and customize the platform to work for what we needed at the time. We looked at a few different software solutions, but what stood out was their great customer service team.”
GSF Properties Inc. has managed affordable housing units since 1998. One of the largest clients they have is the Fresno Housing Authority. Serving nearly 50,000 residents in Fresno, the Fresno Housing Authority’s goal is to provide quality, stable housing, and Dan and his team share that sentiment.
When it comes to affordable housing, Dan is a firm believer that there’s no reason that a renter should have to make compromises in the quality of their housing for it to be affordable. “Giving back to our community is one of our four core values. It’s really big for us, and this [affordable housing] is one of the avenues where we’re able to give back. We will do anything to make it more available by helping our partners be able to develop more of it or helping to manage it well so that no one feels like it’s less than any other type of housing.”
With a portfolio consisting of 80% market-rate units and 20% affordable housing units, one of the challenges of managing affordable housing starts with compliance. To keep track of all residents’ vital information and make sure that certifications are done timely and accurately, he knew that spreadsheets weren’t going to cut it. “With Excel spreadsheets, it was hard to keep track if a certification was completed or what the income was supposed to be for a specific resident. There were just too many moving pieces, and our compliance department wasn't growing quite fast enough to be able to handle all of that.”
Without having to add on another software, GSF Properties Inc. can support their affordable housing portfolio on the one powerful platform they trust — AppFolio Property Manager. This gives them the peace of mind to efficiently manage their entire portfolio, stay on top of affordable housing program requirements to support compliance across the business, and streamline their workflows and processes all on a user-friendly, intuitive platform.
His compliance team has also tremendously cut down the time it takes to email and scan documents back and forth. Now, important documents are uploaded into one system where corrections and changes can be made, tracked, and remain there permanently without getting lost in a shuffle of papers.
Listening to their customers, clients, and team members is how GSF Properties Inc. continues to grow as a company. With their core values being excellence, leadership, service, and community, they strive every day to listen and respond to the people they care about most — their residents. Knowing that people are emotionally tied to the place they call home, it’s important for the team at GSF to pay attention to every detail that impacts their experience. “This is a people business. We are meeting people where they live, and that requires a great deal of customer service.”
One way Dan and his team provides great customer service for their residents is by making their lives easier with technology. With AppFolio, residents can use the Online Portal to set up rent payment options, upload insurance information, submit work orders, and communicate with their property managers.
“With AppFolio, we've been able to keep residents updated on any types of situations or updates happening around the property. It’s not just, ‘Hey, have you paid your rent?’ but things that are impactful for them.”
Because GSF Properties Inc. partners with their community, it was imperative for them to find a partner with their property management software solution. They believe in listening to their residents and employees, hearing what their pain points are, and finding ways to solve them, and Dan feels like his team at AppFolio also shares that same sentiment. “From the very start of working with AppFolio, they've always listened and asked us questions to help us troubleshoot issues. And even though we’re a bigger company — and they’re a big company — they’re still asking us those questions to this day.”
When logging on for the day, Dan loves to see the “What’s New” icon light up, letting him know there are new product updates to check out.
“The fact that they're always working and improving is great. They aren’t just waiting for us to ask them for things. They’re being proactive, and it feels like they’re growing with us.”
Treating their team members just like family, having technology that allows them to be more efficient gives their team the ability to focus on what matters most to them — quality time with their own families.
“Being able to do my job from anywhere is the biggest benefit; I’m not chained to my office. Being able to spend more quality time with my girls and to be at home with them more as they grow up is a big deal for me.”
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