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How to Grow in a Hot Market

Grow Apartment Market

Hoban Management has more than doubled the number of units it manages, and its relationship with The Home Depot has helped mitigate growing pains.

In its 35th year of business, Hoban Management is having a fantastic year.

The San Diego property management company has taken on a lot more apartment communities this year—increasing from 2,300 to 5,600 units. In addition, with a strong local economy, it is increasing rents after doing strategic unit upgrades, such as changing out light fixtures, outlet plate covers and faucets.

All of this means that Esther Elmasian, Senior Property Supervisor with the company, is spending a lot more time talking to Jennifer Tenwick, a Managed Account Specialist, at The Home Depot.

“We get everything through Home Depot, from smoke alarms to countertops to cabinets,” Elmasian says. “We’ve done a lot more kitchen cabinets this year than ever before.” And while Hoban’s maintenance crews generally handle the installation, the company has recently used The Home Depot’s installation services for cabinets at a couple of properties.

Elmasian has been with Hoban Management for seven years, and she remembers the time before the company used The Home Depot—the time before Tenwick, on-site delivery and special orders.

“We would rent a U-Haul box truck to buy patio furniture [for the properties] and bring it back to the office,” she says. They’d then deliver individual items to each property, while keeping track of which community got what for billing purposes, and hope with all their might that nothing was smashed in the back of the U-Haul along the way.

That’s no longer her reality. “Logistically, our lives have changed dramatically,” Elmasian says. “Now it’s just one phone call to Jen.”

Here are a few of the key ways Hoban Management is taking advantage of services The Home Depot offers multifamily customers.

On-site assistance for vacancies. Turning units is a big part of what maintenance crews do. Elmasian remembers when maintenance techs would end up taking one to three trips to The Home Depot over the course of turning a unit. Not anymore. Now, as soon as a unit is vacated, Tenwick walks through the unit with a maintenance tech to determine what needs to be ordered to make it ready for the next resident. Everything is then delivered directly to the property. “It saves so much travel time and gas,” Elmasian says.

Products binder. Hoban Management uses the same maintenance, repair and operations products at all of its communities. So to make life easier for everyone, each year Tenwick creates a binder for Elmasian that contains all of the company’s standard supply products. “When we have a new manager or maintenance guy, they each get a copy of this binder and they know exactly which supplies we use,” Elmasian says.

Ordering made easy. Every spring, Hoban Management staff members figure out which communities need new outdoor furniture. Tenwick helpfully sends Elmasian a catalog of all the patio furniture The Home Depot carries, and Elmasian places orders for each of the 155 apartment communities. Each property has its own order, so tracking what gets billed to which community is a breeze.

Easy payment and tracking with The Home Depot Commercial Account. Each Hoban Management maintenance, property and regional manager has a Home Depot commercial credit card. “Part of the reason we grew so much is because we are on top of stuff, which is because we have the tools to get it done,” Elmasian says. “One of the tools is the credit card for Home Depot. On the Home Depot receipt is the PO and the property name. It makes life simple and cuts out four or five steps we used to take back in the day” to bill items to the correct apartment community.

Elmasian has great appreciation for Tenwick and the services The Home Depot offers. “I really believe that they’ve made me look so good at what I do,” she says. “We have a great partner in Home Depot.”