Shelton-Cook utilizing the BI:Radix platform has been able to get more accurate market survey data faster while streamlining the process, proactively managing rents, and improving communications with internal teams and owners.
BI:Radix recently had the opportunity to sit down with two of Shelton-Cook’s platform users — Sharon Kuhlman, Regional Portfolio Director,and Lavina Spivey, Property Manager – to talk about how the BI:Radix market survey platform has helped them improve the market survey process.
Before Implementing BI:Radix
Prior to using BI:Radix, the methodology was typical of how most of the industry tackles market surveys. “Well, I was using Morse code,” joked Lavina, who first started using the BI:Radix solution while she was managing at Tatum Place Apartments in Scottsdale. “Seriously, it was pretty tedious. I would call my first comp, hopefully get an answer, ask multiple questions about prices by floor plan, specials and occupancy, try to keep good notes, thank them graciously, and repeat the cycle with the next call.” Of course, comps aren’t always available, so Lavina usually had to keep trying over several days or even weeks. “Once I had all my competitive information, I would enter it into our Excel-based pricing summary, which was several steps, making sure everything was entered correctly, save it, and then finally have my market study report.”
And how long did this process take? According to Lavina, 1-2 hours just in call time. “And as you know, Excel leaves a lot of room for human error,” added Sharon, “And Lavina is really a [Excel] pro, which not everyone is; so this is a conservative estimate. Often, this task sits on the back burner as you’re waiting for people to call you back; meanwhile, you are showing apartments, renting apartments, helping customers; and suddenly you’re up against the deadline and it’s not done, and you have to scramble. The entire process is not ideal.”
After Implementing BI:Radix
Both Lavina and Sharon are big fans of how BI:Radix has streamlined the process. “Now, the Property Status Update report just pops up in my email each week,” said Sharon, “I can easily see pricing changes and assess or make inquiries and ensure we are pricing our units right where they need to be. It has been great and I would love to have BI:Radix on all my properties; if all my clients would agree to it, I would do it in a minute.” Lavina adds that, “The system automatically notifies me when a comp has submitted their information; and once those are all in, I can complete a report with BI:Radix in about three minutes, not an hour. And keep in mind that three minutes includes the time I spend entering my own property’s information. It’s just so much faster and easier.”
Data Driven Decision Making
The system hasn’t just saved time; the Shelton-Cook properties utilizing BI:Radix are also experiencing streamlined communication and reporting. “The info is more accurate now vs. our former process,” says Lavina. “I can have better conversations with owners about how we are performing against the market or why we are moving a rate up or down with good information that can be quickly disseminated to the owner or top management. And I can do this weekly, where before it was monthly – if I was able to get to it at all. Also, I no longer have to send the reports out to Sharon or my owner, because the system will automatically send them for me.”
Sharon adds that, “One of the features I love is the ability to drill down further to see exactly where we are, and how long it’s been since a comp has updated. The ability to slice and dice the reporting so that we can easily see trends and make decision means we don’t leave money on the table. I can choose the reports I want and have them sent to me on whatever frequency I want, and they simply appear in my email. The amount of money we save in payroll time alone more than covers the expense of the platform.”
“Another key aspect of BI:Radix that has proven to be beneficial to us is the ability to compare and analyze pricing for renovated versus non-renovated units in the sub market. This tool can be tremendously helpful when making decisions regarding capital improvements.” Added Sharon.
Nick Sykora, VP with BI:Radix, agrees. “That is a great way to use the Exclude Floor plan feature. It was built for several purposes, from giving users the ability to isolate renovated units, to determining premium deltas, to removing specific floor plans from comp properties not present at the subject property. For example, excluding all 3 bedroom units from comps if the subject only has only one and two bedroom units making the comparison much more relevant.”
“I just have to say, it sometimes sounds complex because we receive so much from the platform,” says Lavina. “Before we implemented BI:Radix, the support team spent about an hour going through the entire process with me. Other than the occasional question from time to time, where I got an immediate and clear answer, no other training was needed because it was so easy.
What Owners Had to Say
We rolled out BI:Radix at Tatum Place in early 2018. Almost immediately, our management teams were able to visually see, using the trend graphs, the ability to increase rents $40 per month across the board. The way we look at that was a $40 increase on 164 units at a 5.5% cap added over $1.4MM in value. As owners and investors we were ecstatic about this insight and the value BI:Radix helped us uncover.