In Episode 29 of the Profitable Powerhouse Properties Podcast, Jonathan Cook and Bryan Jenkins welcome DD Lee of Skyline Properties in Atlanta. They discuss the differences between the Birmingham and Atlanta markets, how COVID has impacted operations and the markets, what has stayed the same, and the value of a NARPM membership.


Episode Highlights:

  • The Atlanta market is 3 times as big as the Birmingham market.
  • DD says that before COVID, if a tenant was late on rent, they would receive a form letter and be charged a late fee, but since COVID happened, they no longer charge late fees and they have a dedicated team member who personally calls each tenant and offers a payment plan.
  • Both AHI and Skyline have been looking at a tenant’s entire situation and trying to be more flexible.
  • Skyline’s average property rent is $1600-1650.
  • Class A properties have been the least negatively impacted by delinquency and Class D has been impacted the most, but Class A has been doing worse with rentals overall.
  • In Atlanta, the average time a property is on market is only 14 days.
  • DD thinks COVID has benefitted the southeast US because people who lived and worked in the northeast now have the flexibility to keep their job and work from anywhere.
  • Skyline has had 111 move-ins this year so far, which is really high for them.
  • DD has not had to change much as far as Skyline’s leasing operations because they were already using Tenant Turner for self-showings.
  • If a tenant who’s moving out is uncomfortable with Skyline showing the property while they are still in it due to COVID, they will wait until the tenant moves out.
  • There are benefits to using technology like Zoom because now more people understand how to use it so it allows property managers to do things more efficiently.
  • There has been an increase in sight-unseen leases, and DD is adding a lease addendum for that circumstance.
  • Inventory in Atlanta is still limited.
  • An average 3BR, 2BA house in the Atlanta metro area will be about $200-250k for early 2000s construction.
  • Atlanta’s cost is prohibitive for a lot of investors but is still a lot more accessible than other major cities like New York or LA.
  • Skyline has a set lease renewal increase of 3%, and right now 7 out of 10 are renewing their leases.
  • They are getting more move-out notices this year, and DD speculates it’s because people want bigger houses and nicer upgrades.
  • Maintenance requests have increased, seemingly because people are spending more time in their homes to notice issues.
  • Skyline makes a home truly move-in ready by having utilities already on.
  • Concierge services like utility activation and the ability to pay bills and do all related things in a single portal will create stickiness for your tenant.
  • Tenants are willing to pay more in rent for better services and in order to save money on move-in costs.
  • NARPM allows best-in-class property managers to share ideas and raise the bar for the industry as a whole.
  • Being part of the NARPM community helps you to find the next service or tool to improve your business, and to problem solve with colleagues.
  • Something DD found through NARPM is Pinata, an incentive-based, free service to tenants that allows them to earn points every time they pay their rent on time that can be redeemed for gift cards and other rewards.
  • NARPM members have a level of professionalism that non-members typically do not.
  • The NARPM community has been even more valuable during COVID.
  • If you are renting out a property in a state where you don’t live, visit the NARPM website to find a property manager.


3 Key Points:

  1. Now that people are able to work remotely, we’re seeing a big move out of major northeast metro areas into the southeastern states.
  2. More people are willing to rent a property sight unseen, and are willing to pay a premium for convenience and other concierge services.
  3. A NARPM membership gives you access to a community of the best in class property managers to learn from.


Tweetable Quotes:

  • “People who realize they’re gonna be stuck in their homes indefinitely, they are upgrading to a better model, they are upgrading to a bigger house. So all of those things contributed to our wonderful leasing rate this year.” –DD Lee
  • “Nowadays, people want convenience. They will pay a premium for convenience.” –DD Lee


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