Gearing Up for Successful Multifamily Operations

With changes in resident expectations driving different approaches to asset management, Sunrise Management CEO Joe Greenblatt provides insights into how owners can stay ahead of the curve.
Joe Greenblatt, president & CEO, Sunrise Management
Joe Greenblatt, president & CEO, Sunrise Management

With a presence in California, Nevada and Arizona, Sunrise Management oversees a portfolio of approximately 10,000 multifamily units, according to Yardi Matrix data. Most of the company’s operations are focused on Class B and C communities, which have significant value-add potential.

More than one third of Sunrise’s management portfolio is in the San Diego area, where the firm continues to expand. Additionally, the company is in the process of growing its small properties division, which includes both single-family homes and communities with less than 22 units. The firm’s president & CEO, Joe Greenblatt, spoke with Multi-Housing News about the San Diego multifamily market and how owners nationwide can separate their properties from the crowd.

What do you see as the largest opportunities and challenges in San Diego in the near- and long-term?

Greenblatt: With continued job and population growth, infill development should be strong in response to demand and the practical evolution of the housing stock and densification. There are neighborhoods that are or will give way to gentrification because of their superior locations in terms of both employment and social opportunities.

Presently, the greatest challenges are political—rent control, no growth and local governments’ reluctance to support densification with infrastructure.

How have the expectations of renters changed in recent years?

Greenblatt: Renters increasingly expect to take care of their housing-related transactions and home-management online. Across generational lines, they expect to communicate across a range of channels—social media, chat, text, e-mail, telephone or in person. There is an increasing service expectation in a Web 2.0 world that holds investors and managers responsible for their conduct.

How do you see the role of property managers shifting over the next five years?

Greenblatt: Property managers will need to continue to adjust their priorities and processes to be customer-centric. At the same time, they will have to recognize the ascendant importance of their internal customers and develop talent strategies to allow them to serve their other customer constituencies.

What role does technology play in property management and how do you see this trend evolving?

Greenblatt: Technology is inextricably woven into the expectations of residents, prospective residents, team members, prospective team members, clients, investors and vendor-partners. As technology evolves faster and faster, we will have to master change at an increasing pace and grow the ability to apply new technology quickly and effectively.

How has Sunrise Management observed the shifting demand across its portfolio over the past five years, particularly in San Diego? How has this impacted your management strategy?

Greenblatt: A larger renter population is increasingly discerning about their homes’ features and aware of their rental housing options. We, in turn, are doing more analysis and partnering with our clients and investors to identify just what strategies, services and upgrades are most appropriate to a given community.

What are some of Sunrise’s operations or processes which give you an advantage across your portfolio?

Greenblatt: First and foremost, we communicate with residents, ask for their feedback and respond to their concerns. At Sunrise, we give a lot of attention to listening to our team members and our residents. We have built internal processes to promote that inner dialogue and actively promote social media feedback, positive and negative, through our dedicated customer experience specialist.

Image courtesy of Sunrise Management