“We were, at best, thirty days before renewal was due, trying to send out the offer, have the conversation with the owner, etc. Many, many times the lease would expire. We wouldn’t have a lease. We wouldn’t have an increase. We were drowning in lease renewals. Fast forward to today, and we’re sending offers at ninety days automatically and we’re renewing everybody within sixty days. …Now, with that taken care of, we focus on other things, like building up our internal team, lots of leadership development, which then translates to better relationships with our clients.” - Katie Linkous
Fig Properties manages just shy of 1000 doors in the Knoxville, TN area. However, they have a unique story as to how they started in property management and how they get to where they are today. We sat down with Katie Linkous and Madeline Vinson live at NARPM National Convention in Atlanta, GA to hear their story.
Katie Linkous started managing rental properties as an investor herself. They built up a portfolio of 300 doors over the space of two years, and Katie managed them on her own for those two years.
Then they began to get requests to manage properties for others and at that point got into third party property management.
“We saw a need. There is a huge need for good management. Bad management kills the asset…. We would take over properties and hear horror stories from tenants of their management experience and wanted to provide something different for our community.” - Katie Linkous
This is a huge part of what makes Freedom Investment Group unique: they value people first and foremost.
“People matter more than anything to us, whether it's the tenant or an investor partner or our internal team. And so everything we do is driven by a desire to make life better for the people that we interact with. And so all our decisions, all of our partners, our vendors that we use, the systems that we use all have to align to that goal.” - Katie
“We have to do all of those things as we run our business, but in all of those interactions, there should never be a time where the person doesn't feel like they matter despite the circumstance that we're walking through….And sometimes that means having hard conversations and not just letting people go lay on their rent or letting an owner do whatever they want to do. We want to take care of everyone all the time the best way.” - Madeline Vinson
When they hit 600 doors and had to reduce their staff for different reasons, it soon become obvious that they needed to focus on what it would take to make the company scalable.
Most people take one of two approaches here: scale via systems or scale via hiring.
Katie and Madeline decided to go the systems route because systems support both stronger human relationships and company resilience.
“Without systems, the relationships focus around: ‘Did you pay your rent? Are you going to renew your lease?’ It’s very transactional. So with a system to manage all that, the relationships become much more personal. I mean, one of our resident specialists spent forty-five minutes on the phone the other day coaching a tenant on how to manage their finances effectively.” - Madeline
“[Without systems], there’s so much room for error. All of a sudden, you realize that so much stuff hasn’t been done.” - Madeline
They discovered LeadSimple Operations through the Buildium Marketplace and started digging in immediately on building their processes and systems.
They started with Lease Renewals, as that is where they were struggling the most to keep on top of things.
“We were, at best, thirty days before renewal was due, trying to send out the offer, have the conversation with the owner, etc. Many, many times the lease would expire. We wouldn’t have a lease. We wouldn’t have an increase. We were drowning in lease renewals.” - Katie
“Fast forward to today, and we’re sending offers at ninety days automatically and we’re renewing everybody within sixty days. …Now, with that taken care of, we focus on other things, like building up our internal team, lots of leadership development, which then translates to better relationships with our clients.” - Katie
Madeline highlighted how helpful it would have been to have LeadSimple during the COVID19 pandemic.
“LeadSimple would have been so helpful if we had had it during COVID when everything was shifting all the time, with eviction moratoriums and different notice requirements. …It would have been, and is now, a game changer when you have shift quickly.” - Madeline
Now, with all their processes built out and running in LeadSimple effectively, life is drastically different from the early days of managing everything alone.
“I can leave when I want to. I’m getting to really focus more on the development of our company and where we’re going instead of being in the weeds and the day to day.” - Katie
When asked what advice they had for other property managers, Katie and Madeline answered:
“Remember that processes don’t have to be complicated. They just have to be detailed.” - Madeline
“Use LeadSimple, as fast as you can. Don’t be afraid to fail because you can always fix it. But if you don’t try, you don’t know. And finally, care for people.” - Madeline
Not yet on LeadSimple Operations? Schedule a discovery call today to streamline your processes, free up your team's time to level up and establish stronger relationships with clients, and scale up your growth and operations.
Property managers choose LeadSimple over other systems for a reason.
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