They move slow rather than fast, Understand the org structure, Understand that Mom & Pop is SO different than institutional, Build an add-on as opposed to replacement, Users are happy to tell you what they need
As a part of my series about the ‘Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Real Estate Industry’, I had the pleasure of interviewing Daniel Berlind.
Daniel Berlind is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Snappt, a cutting-edge technology company that is disrupting the rental property application process. Prior to founding SNAPPT, Daniel served as the President of Berlind Properties and oversaw the management of their properties from 2011 to 2017. Prior to Berlind Properties, Daniel was a professional baseball player for the Chicago Cubs and Minnesota Twins.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Real Estate industry?
My pleasure and thanks for having me! Both of my parents were involved in the real estate industry. My mother has been a real estate agent in Malibu for the past 30 years and I was brought along on realtor-only caravan days for as long as I can remember. My father owned and managed his own portfolio of multi-family apartment buildings across Los Angeles and from a very young age he had me helping out around the buildings. Basically, my entire childhood was spent learning about the residential and commercial real estate industry.
Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?
At my property management business my leasing team and I were seeing a huge influx of applicants submitting fake financial documents during the rental application process. Initially, I assume there must be some technology out there that could solve this issue. After a lot of research and time I uncovered this technology did not exist. After years and years of development Snappt now exists nationwide helping leasing teams authenticate documents submitted by applicants during the renal application process.
Do you have a favorite “life lesson quote”? Can you share a story or example of how that was relevant to you in your life?
My father always told me “it’s better to let a unit sit vacant, than to accept a problem resident.”
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Currently Snappt is used by 5 of the top 6 largest property management companies in the US. To date we have detected that 14% of applicants have submitted fake financial documents, saving managers and owners millions of dollars each month in potential bad debt.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Currently we are the only company in the space with the ability to authenticate financial documents.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My mentor and first investor in Snappt, Guy Holmes has been an amazing advisor and inspiration to myself and the rest of the executive team at Snappt. Guy’s extensive and varied business experience and background in music, technology and investing has always focused our mission on the product and the morality of the people in our business.
Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry? If you can please share a story or example.
Real estate is changing extremely rapidly. First, there is a massive shift in where people are living due to the pandemic, and that is shaking the market-up and creating opportunities. Second, there is a big shift in demographics as Millennials come of age, and that is driving a massive change in how renters prefer to work with landlords. We’re seeing things move online at a rapid pace. And, finally, I’m excited about the huge amount of creativity out there to innovate and reposition assets to serve our modern world.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest? Please share stories or examples if possible.
What concerns me most about the property management industry is our reliance on credit scores to assess an applicant’s default risk. Prior to 2020 I believe there was a reasonable argument to be made that an applicant’s credit history was a reliable marker to assess their future ability to manage their finances and pay rent. At no fault of their own, the pandemic has caused a huge percentage of the American population to have their credit scores destroyed. Even with a strong job history, on time payments and debt management, the pandemic has caused many of us to survive on debt, pay only the bills we can afford and watch our hard-earned credit scores tank.
What I hope our industry moves toward when qualifying an applicant is a focus on verifying employment, income, and debt to income ratio with little to no reliance on credit. My worry is we will unfairly deny great residents the opportunity for housing.
What advice would you give to other real estate leaders to help their teams to thrive and to create a really fantastic work culture?
No blame culture. Often in property management, nobody wants to take a risk because they don’t want to be blamed. I think that if you don’t make any mistakes, you aren’t trying hard enough. Ideocracy. Doesn’t matter whose idea, just want the best idea. Anyone’s idea can be challenged by anyone at any time.
Ok, here is the main question of our interview. You are a “Real Estate Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 5 non intuitive things one should know to succeed in the Real Estate industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each?
- They move slow rather than fast
- Understand the org structure
- Understand that Mom & Pop is SO different than institutional
- Build an add-on as opposed to replacement
- Users are happy to tell you what they need
Because of your position, you are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
We need to move to a way of evaluating people based on what they actually do, not what we assume they’ve done.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Thank you for your time, and your excellent insights! We wish you continued success.