Monday, October 7, 2013

Blog Post #1: Informational Interview by Jordan Naffa

Blog Post #1: Informational Interview by Jordan Naffa

Over the course of time in FINN 180, Dr. Hansz has introduced the class to many new terms and concepts in real estate. He has made me think that the real estate field may be something I would like to pursue in the future. I will be using this informational interview assignment as a tool to feel out what particular field of real estate I am truly passionate about. Allowing myself much time and thought to whom I would like to interview, an idea finally arose in my mind. I would ask my landlord if she would allow me to interview her by telephone (since she does not live in town) about her business. Loretta Pennington, manager of Branko Properties, LLC, a real estate property management company kindly gave me her permission for an interview. I informed her that I would be asking questions related to the real estate field, how she conducts daily business and deals with problems. I conducted the following interview in a question and answer format using a recorder to record the entirety of the telephone conversation.

Jordan: How did you get started in this field, what was your educational background and what are your major responsibilities?

Loretta Pennington: I had some cash that I needed to invest and I wanted to diversify. I attended some college. My responsibilities include, but are not limited to: advertising rentals, screening potentials tenants, showing the home, preparing leases, hiring people to repair rentals, hiring lawn maintenance (when needed), sending out monthly invoices, collecting rent and general bookkeeping.

Jordan: What is a “typical” day like for you?

Loretta Pennington: It varies on the time of the month. If it is the 1st or near the first, I am sending out invoicing, collecting rents and sending out late notices (if necessary). At any time during the month, there are various bills to pay, i.e., insurance and property taxes. Some days I am sending out repairmen to fix certain rentals or talking on the phone with lawn maintenance. At least a couple times a month, I like to drive by the rentals to make sure they are keeping up the yard and there are no problems.

Jordan: What obligations does your work put on you outside of the actual job? What are some lifestyle considerations for this career?

Loretta Pennington: You need to be flexible in case there is a call for a repair at various times during the day, i.e., if the air conditioning breaks during the summer, you need to be able to get someone there as soon as possible, be prepared to serve someone with a 3-day notice to pay if they are late on their rent, as well as listening to people's problems as to why they can't pay their rent, etc.

Jordan: What kind of salary range and benefits are typical of an entry-level position in this field?

Loretta Pennington: The salary depends on the rate of return for what you purchased your home for and how much rent you are charging, also taking into consideration the cost of property taxes, insurance, and repairs.

Jordan: What is the future outlook for this career?

Loretta Pennington: With the downturn of the housing industry several years ago and currently interest rates on the rise, I would say that the outlook for managing rentals would be very high at this time.

Jordan: How do you see jobs changing in the future?

Loretta Pennington: I would say that technology could take on a greater role in helping to manage homes, as well as renters. For example, I currently have all my renters pay online; most of them pay from their smart phone. This is a great benefit since I live in another area other than where my rentals are.

Jordan: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job, least rewarding, what might you change and would you choose this career again?

Loretta Pennington: The most rewarding aspect of my job is buying a home that needs work, and fixing it up and then renting it to tenants who appreciate it and like living there. Also, it doesn’t hurt when you renovate a home and make a great deal of profit from your hard work. I would probably change nothing about my job. I do really enjoy it. One thing you have to know about any job, is that you should love going to work everyday. Yes, I would most definitely choose this career again if I had the choice.

Overall, this interview gave me great insight into what roles Loretta Pennington plays as a property manager. This has indeed further sparked my interest in the career of property management and Loretta has given me permission to call her whenever I have questions related to the real estate field. I'm glad I made this networking connection because in the future I feel this will come as a great convenience since she has vast knowledge of her particular field of real estate. The most interesting fact I found about her job was that there are no set hours, as a “typical” job would entail. I am glad to have made a professional networking connection and look forward to follow a similar career path in the future!

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