Small Real Estate Company Grows in Size as Many Others Downsize

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorFort Myers, Fla.–Management Group 1, a seven-person company based in Fort Myers, Fla., says it grew 25 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 and plans to add an additional 25 percent to its workforce in the coming months. “We entered the market a-year-and-a-half back as a property management company, but now we provide loss mitigation services, help in case of foreclosures, help with finding buyers and negotiations with banks,” Michael Aranda, president of Management Group 1, tells MHN. Unlike a number of companies cutting down staff or re-organizing at a time of economic difficulty (click here to read a previous MHN story on this topic), Management Group 1 plans to hire at least seven more people over the coming year.“The main reason we are doing well is client retention, other than getting new clients, of course. I have seen many property management companies going out of business because they were unable to retain clients,” says Aranda. “There is no big secret to this. It is just small stuff like calling or e-mailing back our clients promptly.”  “Management Group 1 has been able to establish relationships with multiple banks by providing top-quality service in a distressed housing market,” he adds. The company’s web-based property management system allows staff to manage from anywhere Internet access is available. Tenants are able to make repair requests online and submit all applications via the web to help insure a timely, smooth response. Most of the company’s team members have received their real estate background with Management Group 1. “My strategy all along has been to bring in new people and train them and monitor them,” says Aranda.