Lighthouse Property Management: Leading by Example

By Teresa O’Dea Hein, Managing EditorLighthouse Property Management of Wyoming, Mich. earned the Great Lakes Area Star (GLAStar) Award for “Management Company of the Year 2007” from the Property Management Association of Michigan (PMAM) during the organization’s education conference, which featured nationally recognized speakers like Jackie Ramstedt, Terri Trainer and Terry Jackson.The GLAStar Awards honor excellence in the Michigan apartment industry. They are presented at a gala awards dinner each year, with the 2007 event being held in East Lansing. Brian Hossink founded Lighthouse Property Management almost five years ago in the Grand Rapids, Mich. area with Kathy Dennison, who is also a real estate broker. They have since doubled the company’s size each year, and now manage over 800 residential units for a variety of owners. The company’s apt slogan is “Guiding You Home.”MHN recently spoke with Hossink, Lighthouse’s director of operations, to get his insights into successful property management.MHN: What are your company’s specialties?Hossink: Part of our forte has been in taking on distressed properties – going in and cleaning them up in whatever ways are necessary. This covers exteriors, interiors, carpet, vinyl, paint, landscaping, etc. For example, we signed on a 96-unit property back in July and ended up with 42 vacancies in the first five months as we turned the property around and issued 30-day notices to end some month-to-month leases. We also showed up at all hours, walking the grounds, to see what kind of activity was going on. Now it’s not the property it was six months ago. Residents and neighbors told us how thankful they were that we took it over and now they can really call it home. We also take pride in our 24-hour emergency services.MHN: How important is it to be active in an industry association?Hossink: We love the Property Management Association. You’re doing your company a huge disservice if you don’t get involved in your local association. It’s a phenomenal resource on everything from subcontractors and vendors to hearing other members’ views and experiences.MHN: To what do you attribute the company’s success?Hossink: We have such a fantastic staff of caring people who work out of this office and love what they do. They’re true professionals in what they do. We want everyone here to feel successful in what they do, and we give them ownership in their positions. We try to encourage good morale throughout. But property management is not for someone who wants just a 9-5 job.MHN: What are your final words of advice?Hossink: Make sure you’re doing your part for the residents. While tenants pay rent, take good care of their apartments and get along well with their neighbors, you also have to hold up your end of the bargain and provide clean, quiet and well-maintained apartment communities. Let your yes be yes and your no be no.