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Renters Warehouse’s Noel Christopher: Property Management and Investment

January 30, 2020

Plan, research, buy, track and sell your real estate investments all in one place!

Noel Christopher is the Senior Vice President of Portfolio Services and Corporate Development of Renters Warehouse.

Renters Warehouse is America’s leading real estate investment services company. From investment planning and acquisition to property management and disposition, Renters Warehouse is the largest, full-service “Rent Estate™” resource of tenanted properties in the nation. Founded in 2007, Renters Warehouse now manages more than $3 billion in residential real estate, servicing 14,000+ investors across 22,000+ residential homes in 40+ markets and 25+ states.

Learn more about how Renters Warehouse can manage your real estate investments by listening to this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on  Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.

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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, where I'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go. ll right, and with us right now, we've got Noel Christopher. Noel, you are the Senior Vice President, Portfolio Services and Corporate Development at Renters Warehouse. Thank you so much for joining us. I'm very happy to be here. So starting off what is Renters Warehouse? It's, it's this is a pretty you've got a big portfolio.

Yes. So Renters Warehouse. It's it's a really interesting story but currently where we're at right now we are a property management company and an investment services company meaning we service investors in the single family rental space. So whether that's an investor that wants to that we have on our property management side so we manage for about 22,000 homes, single family rental long term single family rental homes for 14,000 investors in 41 markets 25 states. That's our one side of the business. Our second side of the business is that naturally we also help those investors buy and sell those investment properties. We're not a turnkey we're not a turnkey company. We don't build homes and then resell them. We help investor we provide more liquidity in the marketplace for somebody owns a rental home in the past if you wanted to sell usually go to a realtor they tell you need to get the tenant out and then fix the home up and sell to a homeowner. There's a million investment, property sales that happen every year. So there hasn't been many marketplaces, there's a few other companies like ourselves roof stock. Really, those are the only two that really focus in this space. And we have, we have a marketplace that you can go and put your property on, find a buyer that will buy it with a tenant in place and then you can go buy a property in another market or if you live in a high cost of market like a lot of people in the West Coast the closest cities can afford to buy investment properties in their markets so they go and buy in the areas where there's good yields. So those are the two sides of our business property management and investment.

On on either side, know how long has Renters Warehouse when when when was Renters Warehouse found found it?

So Renters Warehouse was founded in 2008. And it was founded by a guy named Brenton Hayden. And Brenton Hayden is still on our board and things like that. He's not involved with the company as much but so he built that company up as a property management company, as well as our CEO Kevin Ortner. And they were just buying properties. Starting to manage them started a management company from that and then they started franchising locations so they they became a franchise or Renters Warehouse became a franchisor, and got up to about 30 franchises around the country, which then a private equity group came in acquired Renters Warehouse. We rolled up the franchises and created went from a franchise or which the sometimes the difficulty of the franchises is that you might have the same brand name, but you have a different level of service across our operations. They're not not every franchises like McDonald's where you can have that same level of service and even in a McDonald's. Depending on how its operated. There's different levels of service. So we rolled up a lot of franchises went out and rolled up other property management companies that we acquired and built a centrally manage semi national property management company, semi national meaning that we are we're very market-centric. So we have a market let's say like Denver, Colorado. We have that market if we're not in Rapid City, South Dakota, we're not virtual at this time, we're kind of dipping into that a little bit. So we are centrally managed with the bulk of the the management happening in Minneapolis where we're based out of, and then we have boots on the ground and each of our markets that handle the certain aspects of property management, there's a balance that you have to have, where you need boots on the ground that know the local market, but then a lot of the back office where you normally walk into our property management company and see people processing, paperwork and invoices and rent collection, and all of those things are handled. Yeah, our corporate office include Okay, call center sales, that kind of stuff.

Well, I'm I guess I would say, then, you know, that's kind of one of the reasons then that scalability is decentralized. You know, a lot of things that you know, you don't have to duplicate across in all these markets. That's an advantage. But would you say that the franchise model was really good for expansion.

It was great for expansion. It was a good revenue model model, the what's been happening the past, you know, since really the bottom of the market was about 2012 institutional funds started buying single family rentals, which give an idea now today there's approximately 17 million long term single single family rentals around the country, mostly owned by small investors, mostly owned by people who live closest close to where they where they have the property, or close to where they live. So institutional funds came in and started buying the space became more with more notoriety or notoriety and it was the service level wasn't there though. So if you were a fun or you're somebody who owns several properties, let's say you own properties in five different markets, you had five different property managers with all different types of reporting standards, different levels of service, different different ways that they did things and, and so there is there is a very low level service in the property management And it really was anybody focusing on this space. That is, I mean, the single family rental space is bigger than apartment buildings bigger than office buildings bigger than any other asset class really. So we saw the value in rolling up all of these companies in all these different locations, creating a consistent level surface, sir service across multiple geographies, so that now investors that used to come to me when I was doing when I was working with investors in Chicago and say, okay, what's the next market I need to scale into? I need to buy 100 homes. Well, now you can buy five homes and in 10 markets, one home in 40 markets, because you're getting in that same level service because owning an investment property, the backend operations, how you manage it is the most important factor. It's easy to buy, you can rehab you can get a tenant in there, but then how do you keep that tenant? How do you differ and keep down your controllable costs, things like our quickly release a property how quickly you respond to tenant issues, things like that are so important. And then the natural thing is also being able to buy comfortably outside of your geographic location. Now you can comfortably go and buy a property in live in California and buy a property in Kansas City, for example, and know that you're gonna have professional management and have a process in place. And so that whole market is being institutionalized along with the real estate, brokerage business that has been hugely disrupted. The the property management investment space has been hugely disrupted as well. Now. Now there's a place for people to go and creating liquidity in the market by having it making it easier for you to buy and sell an asset just is better. So it's all part of them being institutionalized. And it's something that's happened in every other asset class except for the single family rentals. And now it's happening.

Now, okay, give me an overview of your work then, like, what do you do and one thing that I'm really interested in is kind of the visibility work that you do, where especially particularly linked in? And is that how does that what was that a function of your position with Renters Warehouse?

So I do a couple of things with Renters Warehouse, I run all of our mergers and acquisitions, mostly acquisitions of buying other property management companies. I handle over all of our strategic partnerships. And I work with our larger institutional investors on buying and selling, you know, whether they want to buy have a multi channel acquisition strategy and 40 cities where they're buying. So just a side note, there is more money coming into this space than there ever has been. Yeah. Yeah, I mean, a lot of people looked at the single family rental space as a trade where they bought when the market was down, but there is I've not seen this much enthusiasm since 2012 to 15. So part of that is figuring out how to get in front of these medium sized investors. What we've realized is that the majority of the people that we work with, take a way the large institutional funds are people like you and I, we have a day job. We're mostly on LinkedIn. I mean, these days, if you're have any kind of a professional career, you have to be on LinkedIn. Yeah, we've seen that. That is a bet that that's our target market. Facebook is one thing, a lot of realtors go on Facebook to try to find the homeowner, but we're trying to find people and talk to have a business conversation with them. And doing that through LinkedIn has been very valuable. And LinkedIn has become so prominent on getting content out once they introduce a video and then also being able to do the LinkedIn live shows. Being able to put your message out to your audience, your your, your connections that you've curated over time, that fit the mold, and that's assuming that that as you're adding connections or adding connections of people that are like minded like you, you can get your message out so quickly. So valuable. I mean, it's unbelievable and and what I do I don't have a segment of people I'm selling to its anybody, they could be working anywhere. So right. The voice that you have on LinkedIn is unbelievable. I mean, we do Facebook, we do some things on Instagram and all that. But for me personally, I am doing things like this. I'm doing LinkedIn live shows, and talking about commentary in the housing market, waiting through all of the data that's coming out there, the narratives about recessions and housing crashes and all these different things and you can get your message out and help people and without even trying to sell

Yeah, I have to say that I think LinkedIn has been in a renaissance for more than a year now a couple of years. And from from if you do business with professionals or business owners, I don't I you know, I I just nothing comes even remotely close to the success that we've had just and networking connecting with like minded people. You know, sometimes we do business together. Sometimes it's you Know, we share ideas like, you know, before a conversation you were talking about, about how to become a LinkedIn live broadcaster. Can you talk a little bit about your experience with that? Because I am floored. I mean, it's we're already doing plenty of live streaming. But LinkedIn has not been what you know, I've just been uploading some videos to it. But Wow, what a huge opportunity.

So so for one. There's a lot of people out there that put out that their LinkedIn experts and some of them are and some of them aren't. And and I found, I had an interesting conversation that we can I'll tag you in it that we ended up having with a senior developer, senior product manager of LinkedIn, late Saturday night, somebody posted on LinkedIn. And I commented, by the way, weekends are great time to engage with executives on LinkedIn, by the way. So I started posting these videos every day after I dropped my kids off from school about the housing market and and the narrative that was being pushed about a housing crash. This is about a little less than a year ago. That got a lot of traction. I got contacted by LinkedIn saying, Hey, we're going to be doing a LinkedIn live influencer beta. And we'd like you to be part of that. So I started doing LinkedIn live shows. And you use a third party platform. And you're familiar with a few I use social live, you you use, I forgot the name of the one you're saying us, but yeah, restream Restream. And so I've been doing shows weekly shows where I interview people, whether it's about housing, whether it's about branding and influence, you know, like, I look, we're going to do a show together sometime. And they're very interactive, it gets pushed out to all my first and second connections. And then it's content that stays on LinkedIn that people revisit all the time and it gets pushed on LinkedIn, if it hits certain metrics, obviously. And then also I record the content content, chop it up and then use it as more content. It's all in that Gary Vee model. Create a lot. Yes, chop it up. And what I'm finding now with LinkedIn, Just as a nugget is that it used to be a lot of people have been pushing like post as much as you can on LinkedIn, a lot of content. I was talking to a LinkedIn senior product manager just recently or director recently on LinkedIn. And he was saying that now because so many people are just pushing stuff out there, it's better to pull back a little bit, post three to four good pieces of original content a week. And you're going to get more traction. Look, LinkedIn is really good about pushing news articles to you. They're really good about getting you in front of different types of content. You don't necessarily need to repost what was on the national news today. You're better to put some original content text content it doesn't always have to be video or have a picture you can put some text content, engage people, when you're doing videos, you want it to be educational, not information. So information on meaning like Hi, I'm Joel from Renters Warehouse and this is what I do. It is hey, this is what I think here. I have Josh on we're going To talk about influencer marketing or we're going to talk about the housing market and giving good content LinkedIn, we can put it up in there and it's not all algorithms it hits certain levels and people actually look at it and promote the content more that's why you'll see something that's three weeks old that has hundred thousand views because it was interesting content. So


Yeah, and so what content Do you think plays really well for LinkedIn live? You already mentioned like just interesting conversations, but does it need to be super polished? I mean, what what

what do you its policy in a sense of that it's it's you have good content but it doesn't have to be polished as far as production having this the two thirds and having you know, some of the some of those things, I use some graphics, I'll pull in something that I pulled from housing market data and say, Look, here it is. Here's why it is this interesting educational. LinkedIn doesn't why they say They don't want you to do much made a data mayda type things where they were saying, How do you become more successful on LinkedIn and then post that on LinkedIn? Right? Right, people doing that the ones that get the really good traction is when you're going to give some good nuggets of information. And it's interesting and each each guest has a pretty good following.


you know, I see some people that just put a camera on and they record like just a meeting or something that's not very interesting, it should be engaging. And you know, and I know you know this better than probably anybody to brand promotion is is you're promoting people like the way you promote brands these days you promote yourself so like me out there telling my story in the story doesn't always have to be business oriented, although it is more focused on business and LinkedIn, it's telling your story of what you're doing and how what you're up to. People are interested to see that and on a daily basis. I mean, I you know, I go in spurts, but I post these videos and literally turn I turn on the camera after I drop My kids off at school and just what's ever on my mind and it gets interesting traction. Better than polished video so it's but but you need to you know when I when I post a video on LinkedIn I go in and I add captions to it, right yeah, it seems like that it's not just me and my car in a grainy video I add some I spend a little bit of time producing it, but the video itself is not overproduced

so right. You know, what, what do you use for captions? I came across a service called Kapwing, and it's free, k a p w i n g and it's free. And you just it's it's automated, but then you can easily edit it. Oh, it's wonderful. It's free. Wow.

Yeah, send that to me because I've tried rev calm, which is pretty good. They take a few days and they're very accurate or they take a few hours. And then Cute Cute, cute, cute, cute. Cute. uicc they're pretty good. They're instantaneous but you have to a lot of editing. I for the quicker and doing A little bit of editing, I use tasia for my video production, and I can add, you know, if it's a if it's a two minute video, I'll just do the captions. Yeah, only takes me five minutes. So

no, I, I love the user interface. I've tried a few things, and I love the user interface for capturing. And that's Yeah, I mean, they just lay it all out. So it's pretty accurate. But you just have to go through and like, No, I didn't say that. I said, you know, the kind of the, you know, the, it's just, it's not perfect, but certainly, it's it's really helpful, you know, and again, the biggest thing is just being able to turn it around really quick, is my biggest thing. So I've just give that to someone on my team. So that's great. Well, no, thank you. I want to thank you so much. You know, again, you're the senior vice president of portfolio services, and corporate development, man, I feel like I've just been hanging out with a friend. Surprised we don't have a couple drinks right now. And, you know, just geek out on social media. So listen, that springs Yeah. Yep And so renters warehouse.com I really want to thank you for your time today.

You're welcome. Thank you for having me on. I really appreciate it and I'll see you on my show sometime soon.

Absolutely see you can connect with no follow him on LinkedIn just search for know Christopher. And I think if you use that maybe the keywords renters warehouse you can find no and certainly tap in and watch Knowles linked in live stream is his shows. I'm going to watch it right now. And I got the application open right now as we speak so I can get mine in. Thanks so much, not all. Thanks, Josh.

Appreciate it.

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