Insider Secrets Podcast Episode #47
Featuring guest: Kaelyn Motzel
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Kaelyn started her career in real estate in Los Angeles at 18 years old with Keller Williams. She earned her California real estate license and quickly fell in love with the business. As she met with real estate investors she also realized investing was a great path to building wealth. In LA, Kaelyn worked for some Houston based investors teaching real estate education. Due to her success and drive they asked her to relocate to Houston, TX and help grow their investing operation.
After living in Houston for about a year, Kaelyn began her own real estate journey and purchased a triplex and two quadplexes. In Houston, Kaelyn began exploring parts of the real estate business that best utilized her skills and passion. As part of that search Kaelyn found StageCoach Management, a property management company focused on partnering with investors to maximize the value of their asset. Kaelyn started out in charge of vacancies and in a short amount of time was outperforming the Houston market average for days vacant by 40%. Her success lead to additional responsibilities in the company and she now handles vacancies, tenants, and management of the team. Kaelyn’s investment experience allows her to make decisions from an owner’s perspective.
Kaelyn enjoys helping others grow their portfolio and especially loves helping new investors get started, just as many others have done for her. Kaelyn is always looking to learn new skills and work with new owners to help them achieve their real estate goals.
“I don’t like to sit and think about making decisions too long because I think that’s when you start to second guess yourself” – [Kaelyn]
“I think just being able to use people who have done it before you, is so powerful” – [Kaelyn]
“As far as management goes, you want to do it yourself first, because you want to have that level of discernment to be able to decide if someone is doing a good job for you, or what you need help with”. – [Kaelyn]
- Kaelyn describes herself personally and professionally as “Ambitious”.
- One of the major challenges in property management in these times is the need for detailed documentation especially of all interactions.
- Kaelyn recommends software platforms: “Appfolio” for property managers with at least about 250 units, “Buildium” for self-managing people, and “ShowMojo” scheduler for prospects who want to schedule a showing.
- Due to Covid19, there is a CDC form for property owners that has to be filled when filing for an eviction, unfortunately, depending on how the tenant fills their form, eviction may be denied by the court.
- Kaelyn’s process for high stake decisions: 95% of the time I go with my gut instinct, and I also call people who I know have done something similar in the past.
- Kaelyn’s Insider Secret: As far as management goes, you want to do it yourself first, because you want to have that level of discernment to be able to decide if someone is doing a good job for you or what you need help with.
- For Stagecoach the best way to go about marketing has been Networking.
[00:55] Introducing our guest “Kaelyn Motzel”, who gives an overview on the importance of property management, particularly in the multi-family space.
[01:50] Kaelyn describes herself.
[02:21] Kaelyn’s shares her backstory.
[05:21] About the property management space.
[07:08] Do you manage all the properties that you own or 3rd party management as well?
[08:45] Challenges in the property management space today compared to a year ago.
[10:35] What are some of the best software platforms you use in your operations?
[14:20] Kaelyn’s team and their functions.
[15:55] How do you make high stake decisions?
[18:15] An insider secret from Kaelyn
[19:29] What plans do you have for the future for Stagecoach?
[23:15] What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
“The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals” by Chris McChesney, Jim Huling, and Sean Covey
[23:45] How to contact Kaelyn
Email – Kaelyn@stagecoachmgmt.com
[00:00:03]Mike: Hey everybody, welcome back. It’s Mike with insider secrets. And today I’m joined by Kaelyn Motzel from Stagecoach management. Hey Kaelyn would you please tell our listeners what they’re going to hear today on the show?
[00:00:16] Kaelyn: Yeah. So we’re just going to give you a quick overview about how important property management is specifically in the multifamily realm. And just how important it is for you to have a good understanding of managing your own properties and how to hand that off to someone who can hopefully do better for you.
[00:00:30] Mike: And you’re going to have to listen in to hear what a great job Kaelyn and Stagecoach do, see you inside.
[00:00:38] Kristen: Welcome to this week’s edition of insider secrets. The show that turns multifamily investing into reality. Each show we interview guests who are seasoned professionals, actively closing and managing real estate deals. Your host Mike Morawski has more than 30 years of multifamily real estate investing and property management experience.
[00:01:00] Mike is the founder of My Core Intentions. And he’s been involved in over $285 million of transactions. Focuses on helping you create short-term cashflow and long-term wealth. Here’s your host, Mike.
[00:01:15] Mike: Hey, welcome back everybody. It’s Mike with Insider Secrets and Insider Secrets is brought to you by My Core Intentions. And I am just going to keep it short today and just say that I hope that you are really thinking about your why get into your intentions. Listen, I am joined by an exciting guest today. And I’m really excited to have Kaelyn Motzel here from Stagecoach management with us.
[00:01:37] She is a wealth of knowledge. But here’s what excites me the most is that at 18 years old, she got involved in real estate and that’s be one of the youngest I’ve heard of. You are under a California real estate license, and quickly fell in love with the business. As she met the real estate, as she started to learn about real estate investing and realized investing with a great path to building wealth. In LA, she worked with some Houston based investors teaching real estate education. And due to that success, they asked her to relocate to Houston and help grow their investing operations. And that’s where she’s at today. So I’m going to ask Kaelyn to come on and introduce herself and tell us a little bit about herself. But before we do that, one thing I always like to ask my guests is in one word, would you please just describe yourself, business wise and personally. What one word would describe you as?
[00:02:36] Kaelyn: Yeah, that’s a good one. I’m gonna say ambitious.
[00:02:40] Mike: Ambitious.
[00:02:41] Kaelyn: Yeah.
[00:02:42]Mike: That’s good. And I have to tell you, I’m probably 50 some episodes into doing this podcast. And I say this often, but nobody ever comes up with the same word you are the first one to ever say.
[00:02:53] Kaelyn: Really?
[00:02:54] Mike: And I think that’s great because I think that’s going to open it the door for us to talk a little bit more about some different things. Why don’t we do this, start with your backstory. I know I just talk a little bit about it, but I really wanted to leave that door open for you to discuss a lot more so. What you tell us, how you wound up, where you’re at in Houston today?
[00:03:13] Kaelyn: Yeah, so I got started in California just as a regular agent working retail. And just saw that as the path to making more money faster. And I was going to college and doing both at the same time. And then I realized that a lot of the people I had met at events and meetups, cause I started just trying to get more and more education.
[00:03:33]I realized that most of the people who were doing well were investors. I started working with some investors out there. And then eventually they asked me to relocate to Houston. And then after about a year I decided it was time to just get my feet wet and we bought some properties. We bought two quadplexes and a TriFlex and then that’s when I found the company I’m working for now, which is Stagecoach management. After we bought our properties, I really realized that after buying the property, the second most important thing is the management piece of it. And we hired a property manager for our properties. But I wanted to learn that piece as well to have a better understanding, as far as you want to be able to understand if someone’s doing something well or if they’re doing a bad job. And I actually had originally just started as a leasing agent with the company, and now I’ve worked my way up to now I’m head of property management. So we’ve got about nine or 10 employees across different properties, onsite staff maintenance. But yeah, so that’s how I really just got my feet wet as an investor and wanted to learn more about what I think is the next important piece, which is management.
[00:04:39] Mike: Yeah, that’s interesting. And I really want to zone in on management a lot today.
[00:04:44] Kaelyn: Yeah.
[00:04:44] Mike: But the interesting thing, you got started like I did in the retail side. And it’s funny, you got attracted to investors. When I got in the business, real estate agents didn’t like investors. Because investors were going to these seminars and they were learning how to buy properties no money down and were bothering realtors.
[00:05:02]And I took the opposite approach. I said, boy, I want these investors. And I built 75% of my business was investor based business.
[00:05:11] Kaelyn: Wow
[00:05:12] Mike: And I built a retail business. I was selling 125 houses a year. It’s funny people’s philosophies. I’ve always been one of those guys though, to go in the opposite direction.
[00:05:21]If something’s going I’m going to go left. Just because I think that you buy more opportunity, which I did. So talk about the property management space a little bit. Are you in the multifamily space or are you managing other types of assets?
[00:05:36] Kaelyn: Yeah. So we really feel our niche is a small multifamily. So anywhere from two to 250 units. Which is really interesting because you’ll see a lot of companies advertise for single family, and then you get your big names, like gray star and better world and all those. So we really feel we’re that in-between option for people. That’s what we have the most experience managing is those 50 units, 75 units, up to our largest one right now is 150. And that’s where it gets tricky because when you get to those size of units, the staffing becomes a little difficult. A lot of times owners will see have they are way overstaffed for those size units or they’re completely understaffed, or they don’t know how to hire the right people and they think they can handle it themselves.
[00:06:17] That’s where we feel we’re best is we’re able to just customize the way that they’re staffed and our fees to better help the asset.
[00:06:27] Mike: That’s interesting. So a couple things you said that you small multifamily between two to 250 units. I find that number interesting because I always look at small multi-family as being 22 to 25, in that range. And then you go to the midsize and I’ve always worked at multifamily being above 150 above 175 being large. So it’s interesting how you were perceiving that. I think that opens the doors for people to look at it differently though, which is pretty neat.
[00:06:57] Kaelyn: Yes.
[00:06:58] Mike: So do you stage coach manage all the properties that they own, or are you doing third-party management as well?
[00:07:07] Kaelyn: So we manage all the properties we own as well as third-party. So how that started was the owner of our company, he was just managing his own properties.
[00:07:16] And as he got bigger and bigger had investors say, Hey, like you’re doing a great job with your properties. Could you take mine on? So we just started taking on more and more. And so we’ve really only been advertising the management side of this for about maybe six months now. Just cause before we were just word of mouth as we were just taking on more of ours, other people would come, so now we’ve decided we’re doing pretty well at this, so we might as well go look for more business in the management side.
[00:07:42] Mike: Yeah. That’s very interesting. So are you doing just locally or are you national as well?
[00:07:49] Kaelyn: Yeah. So we’ll go anywhere within two and a half hours of downtown Houston. So that’s a pretty broad area. Once you get to know Houston it can be a good drive in one day. But yeah, we have people that are an hour and a half outside of Houston right now on both sides of the spectrum actually both West and East.
[00:08:05]Mike: And I really want my listeners to tune in because I know that there’s a lot of listeners that listen to my podcasts that invest in the Houston market. So I want them to be able to remember you because they don’t do their own management. They use third parties, so it’d be a good connection for you, right?
[00:08:23] Kaelyn: Yeah.
[00:08:23]Mike: So tell me about some of the challenges in the management space today. Where we are with the eviction moratorium, COVID pandemic, those types of things going on. How is management then affected in comparison to maybe a year ago?
[00:08:41] Kaelyn: Yeah, it’s definitely just you have to be a lot tighter on your documentation, especially when you’re having conversation with tenants.
[00:08:48]I think we always did a good job of keeping notes and making sure we’re sending things in writing. But you have to be really on top of it now and just making sure every phone call with a tenant, you’re taking notes on it. And just in case you have to go to court, you want to be able to provide all that documentation.
[00:09:03] And I think something that’s really key here is for people like us, we’re pretty heavy on software. So all of our software tracks our text messaging with tenants or emails, et cetera. The only thing is it doesn’t track phone calls. And I think a lot of times when you see those like mom and pop property management companies, maybe they don’t have those softwares implemented.
[00:09:22] So it just makes it a little more difficult to scale and be able to manage properly. But yeah it’s definitely a different world within the last year, as far as evictions go and we didn’t see a huge difference in rent collections. But I think that’s just in part since just the location of a lot of our properties, didn’t see a big hit as far as collections go.
[00:09:43] Mike: You alluded to something that I ask a lot is software technology tips. What are a couple of best software platforms that you use for working with your tenants and operations in that?
[00:09:58] Kaelyn: Yeah. So, I would highly recommend app folio to property managers who are at least about 250 units. That’s when it starts to make sense. We always tell people who are just self managing right now. Go ahead and use building them. It’s a great software. It’s fairly cheap. I think it’s $15 a door or something relative to that.
[00:10:17]So it’s not bad. We use show mojo, which is a scheduler for prospects you want to schedule showing. And then it also follows up with them as well. So that eliminates a lot of our touches with tenants. So it’s a great software.
[00:10:30] Mike: That really gives you more of a hands-off kind of system. Doesn’t it?
[00:10:34] Kaelyn: Yes.
[00:10:34] Mike: And when you time the property management business that can be very tight consuming more.
[00:10:40] Kaelyn: Yes.
[00:10:41] Mike: And one of the things I like to work with my coaching clients on is balanced lifestyle, right? Living a better quality lifestyle, because I think in real estate, we have a tendency to let our buyers, sellers, tenants, kind of take control of our life because we are trying to fit into everybody else’s schedule. So that’s interesting.
[00:11:00] Hey, when you were talking about documentation, I was wondering, is there any new legislation or any new documentation that the government is asking for or governing bodies are asking for these days around COVID and there?
[00:11:16] Kaelyn: Yeah. So there’s the CDC form which came out in September, I believe. And it was the CDC stopped all evictions. So that’s the moratorium. There is a form when you go to file an eviction now that you have to fill out regarding the cares act. And it’s just asking questions such as, is this property backed by Fannie or Freddie?
[00:11:33]Did you reach out to the tenant in this way? It’s about five questions that it asks where it’s, did you email the tenant, letting them know? Did you mail the tenant? Were they given options as far as payment plans? Just a set of questions. It’s fairly simple. It’s a one pager. But it’s just more work.
[00:11:50] Mike: Do you fill it out and does the tenant have to fill it out also? Or are they just taking your..
[00:11:55] Kaelyn: And it has to fill out to stop the eviction. And unfortunately that’s the problem right now is all a tenant has to do is just go ahead and sign that CDC forms saying that if we evict them, they have nowhere else to go.
[00:12:07] They’re attempting to make payments and they just sign off on that. And the judge will rule in their favor that you can’t evade.
[00:12:13] Mike: Is that just inclusive to Houston or is that kind of on the national level?
[00:12:19] Kaelyn: That is nationally. Now there’s going to be some different, it’s actually funny when you go out to the eviction court.
[00:12:24] It’s so new for the judges as well, especially back in like October December time, they were still learning it as well. So it was a longer process and we were doing eviction court via zoom. It was just funny to interact. Yeah, it was really interesting, but they’re still learning it too.
[00:12:41] So it’s a slower process. They’re reading through all the documents we had to, when I did a couple of zoom evictions, they had to pause constantly and go, hang on. I need 10 minutes of recess to go read through this and make sure I’m understanding it. So it’s just very new for everybody. But yeah, so we’re all learning.
[00:12:56] Mike: Yeah, interesting. So you said you have a team of nine that you manage. And so what are those, what are the functions of those people in your team? What do they do?
[00:13:09] Kaelyn: Yeah. So we have essentially a maintenance slash rehab coordinator is basically a project manager for our large scale rehabs and just oversees all of our properties to ensure that the maintenance is going smoothly.
[00:13:23]Making sure we’re staying on budget and schedules are being done correctly, et cetera. Then I have some onsite staff at different properties based on their size. And it’s usually one person, sometimes it’s two for 145 unit it’s two people there. Just cause we need a second body there.
[00:13:40] And once you get up over, I’d say a hundred units is pretty consistent per person, so that one has two. And then we have some onsite maintenance staff as well. I think we’ve got four maintenance guys now. Don’t interact with them a ton anymore. It’s just making sure that the property managers and the maintenance coordinator understand the maintenance jobs and just manage them.
[00:14:03]It’s like a chain of hierarchy at this point where you’re just making sure that the management team is understanding what they need to do, and then making sure that they’re relaying that to the maintenance team as well.
[00:14:13] Mike: Okay. Interesting. So being in a management position, I’m sure that time to time you’re faced with decisions that you have to make. And sometimes those decisions can be a little tougher than others. And one question that I really like asking people is how do you make high-stake decisions?
[00:14:27] Kaelyn: Yeah.
[00:14:27] Mike: What process you go through to do that?
[00:14:31] Kaelyn: Yeah , so my first thing is, I know this sounds cheesy, but almost I’m saying 95% of the time I go with my gut instinct.
[00:14:39]And I’ll sit and think about it, but I don’t like to sit and think about making decisions too long. Because I think that’s when you start to second guess yourself. And sometimes we make mistakes, but a second thing I do is I will call people that I know have done something similar in the past or our other property managers.
[00:14:57] And I just use my resources and see, Hey, how would you handle this situation? Or what have you done in the past to combat this? So I think just being able to use people who have done it before you it’s so powerful. Especially now it’s so easy to just send someone a text or shoot them an email and they get back to you within that same day.
[00:15:16] Mike: Yeah. Hey, that brings up a good question. You just said texts. So is that the new form of communication with tenants these days? Or are you using an email platform? What do you use to communicate best with your tenants these days?
[00:15:31] Kaelyn: Yeah, so we do use texts a pretty good amount. Especially when we’re trying to mass text the property. If we have some maintenance repairs going on or a car being towed, whatever it may be text makes it a lot easier to go ahead and communicate with those tenants.
[00:15:46] But at the same time I think being on the phone with them there’s some level of relationship being built there when you’re doing that. If someone’s not paying rent, we’re going to send them an email, but we’re also going to give him a call, see what’s going on. But again, like I’ve said it’s so important to have that documentation when you’re going to court. So you want to make sure that if you’re making the phone call, you also have written notice of it as well.
[00:16:09] Mike: Sure, sure.
[00:16:10] Kaelyn: Yeah.
[00:16:11]Mike: Listen, this show is called insider secrets. And full of knowledge today. So I’m just wondering if you have one last secret that you might want to share with people.
[00:16:20] Kaelyn: As far as management goes I guess to me what’s important is just, you want to do it for like yourself first. Because you want to have that level of discernment to be able to decide if someone is doing a good job for you or what you need help with as well.
[00:16:34]For example, sometimes we have owners they’re realtors as well. And let’s say it’s a 20 unit. The fee structure there is very customized because it’s such a small complex. You don’t need onsite staff of any sort. But for example, sometimes those owners want to fill their own vacancies.
[00:16:51] So we’re able to let them do that. It saves costs, but they need to understand how to do it and how to work with us so that it potentially could save them some money if they’re good at it. So I think just being able to manage yourself at first for the first maybe four doors is what I say four to six doors.
[00:17:08]It really creates just a level of understanding for you to be able to have a better conversation with us and just have better management all around.
[00:17:15] Mike: Sure. Interesting. So what goals or plans do you have for the future and maybe not you, but for stagecoach as managing and running that business, where do you see stagecoach going?
[00:17:28] Kaelyn: Yeah. So this year we want to add a thousand doors to management. Very ambitious goal. You land six or seven larger complexes and there you go, it’s done. And then in three years, they want to add 5,000 doors total.
[00:17:42] Mike: Nice. Good for you. So how are you marketing for those?
[00:17:45]Kaelyn: So that’s a very interesting question. That’s something we’re still playing with the little, but we’ve really found the best way to go about that has just been networking. Creating broker relationships has been big because promotional brokers already putting in all that hard effort to work with their clients, get them properties.
[00:18:02] It’s a tough job. So we work a lot with brokers and if they refer us, we actually have a little then some of our fee, they refer us to an owner. So that’s been awesome and they love that. And then we do a meetup once a month, usually online. It’s tough right now with everything being closed, unfortunately. But yeah, we’re really just trying to network as much as we can.
[00:18:24] I’m on LinkedIn, bigger pockets, just going through my sphere and asking like, Hey, who do you know? Just bringing other people value so that eventually they think of us when it’s needed.
[00:18:34] Mike: Yeah. Interesting. All right. Listen, you have been a wealth of knowledge and I want to go to the second part of the show and ask some little bit lighter questions right now so. This should be interesting though, how long have you been in Houston now?
[00:18:48]Kaelyn: About two and a half years.
[00:18:50] Mike: Okay. So coming from LA we know in LA there’s a lot of tourist attractions. How about in Houston? What’s your favorite tourist attraction?
[00:18:58] Kaelyn: Ooh, in Houston. Okay that’s tough. I’m going to say the rodeo, it only happens, it’s like a month and a half of the year.
[00:19:06]And last year they shut it down early about a weekend, but I got to go twice last year and it’s a ton of fun. It’s a different atmosphere and good food. Good barbecue. So it’s a lot of fun.
[00:19:16] Mike: So I have to ask. When you were in LA were you a rodeo girl?
[00:19:20] Kaelyn: No, not at all.
[00:19:23] Mike: So here’s why I bring it up all right? Funny story, my daughter, she’s moved to Texas last year with her family. And city girl, and now she’s pigs and her daughters are in junior farmers of America and they’re raising pigs and showing pigs..
[00:19:40]Kaelyn: Oh wow.
[00:19:41] Mike: And I’m like, what happened? You’re a city girl. So it’s funny. How about favorite restaurant?
[00:19:47] Kaelyn: My favorite restaurant, okay so there’s just way too much good food in Houston to decide. But I’m gonna say in California, there’s an Italian restaurant called Chee Cheese that I absolutely love. Every time I go back to visit, we definitely hit up Che cheese and get some good pasta and salad.
[00:20:05] Mike: Is tha in LA?
[00:20:07] Kaelyn: Yeah, it’s a mentor County. I think they’ve got a few locations in LA County. I think they’ve got five or six. Yeah.
[00:20:14] Mike: Great. And what’s the best book you’ve ever read?
[00:20:18]Kaelyn: Oh, man. I really liked the four disciplines of execution. I just read that one recently.
[00:20:24] Mike: Yeah, interesting. All right, great. I appreciate you being on today. I’ve learned a lot and I’m sure that my listeners have as well. How do people get ahold of you, especially if they want you to take a look at managing their property forum, what’s the best way to reach you?
[00:20:41] Kaelyn: Yeah. Best way to reach out is probably email. My email is Kaelyn. I’ll spell it out for you cause it’s a tough one. It’s Kaelyn@stagecoachmgmt.com
[00:20:55] Mike: And we’ll have that in the show notes any how.
[00:21:01] Kaelyn: Awesome.
[00:21:02]Mike: Hey, Kaelyn, thanks again for being here. I really appreciate it. And to all the listeners. Thanks for listening in this has been a great episode. I’m sure that you have picked up a lot. Make sure that you go to YouTube and subscribe in Apple and iTunes and subscribe and like us love us. Do all those things, help our ratings and we’ll look forward to seeing you next week.
[00:21:24]Kristen: Thank you, Mike, and thank you for joining us for another great episode of Insider Secrets. As always, Insider Secrets is brought to you by my Core Intensions. Join us on social media and visit mycoreintentions.com where you can get expert coaching on all things, multifamily investing and property management.
[00:21:42] We’re looking forward to having you back again next week for more Insider Secrets.