Property Management Brainstorm

Property Management Brainstorm Podcast

Property Management Brainstorm is a top ranked podcast, hosted by Bob Preston, RMP®, featuring top professionals and experts related to the property management industry. Bonus episodes are called Five Minute Friday (FMF), providing tips and advice, every Friday, in five minutes or less. Tune in, have a listen, and subscribe today!

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Episode 68: Achieving Efficiencies in Property Management

Bob Preston - Thursday, May 5, 2022

Can you imagine turning units without having to leave the office? In today’s episode, we find out how property management software can do just that. Joining Bob today is Kobi Bensimon, Founder of Showdigs – the only property management software with on-demand showing agents. It has completely disrupted the residential property management industry by providing a network of actively licensed real estate agents who are trained to handle showings, alongside an easy-to-use scheduling system for prospects.

In this fascinating conversation, we find out how Showdigs works, the benefits of having a distributed workforce, managing more properties in a larger geographic area, and some key efficiency killers to look out for.

Topics Covered:

[2:53] Kobi Bensimon introduces himself and how he founded Showdigs.

[6:14] How Showdigs works and how it helps reduce ‘windshield time’

[11:12] The on-demand nature of the platform and the benefits of having a distributed workforce

[13:10] Working with licensed active field agents through Showdigs

[19:24] The interaction between a property management company and the agent

[21:50] The importance of having trust in-field agents through the platform

[24:21] The typical workflow of making a listing

[27:01] How to overcome inbox overwhelm

[30:01] Handling the Move In Move Out (MIMO) process

[34:16] Showdigs’ process for documentation

[36:13] How an agent looking for a side gig can join Showdigs 

[39:13] The importance of metrics and KPIs – and the ones to look out for

[46:47] Kobi’s story of emigrating from Israel to the US, and how he built his first property management tool, ActiveBuilding, after studying at MIT.

Connect with Kobi Bensimon, Founder, Showdigs and ActiveBuilding

Find out more about Showdigs 

Connect with Bob Preston

This episode is always available for listening, sharing, or download at Property Management Brainstorm. Subscribe to Property Management Brainstorm on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, TunedIn, iHeart Radio and YouTube.

Bob Preston:                      01:19                     Hello, brainstormers. This is Bob Preston RMP MPM Regional Vice President for the NARPM Southwestern region and your podcast host. Welcome to the show. I'm broadcasting from our studio here at North County Property Group in Del Mar, California. If you're new here, please consider subscribing. So, you get all of our ongoing episodes. And if you like what you hear, please pay it forward with a positive review as a property manager or a leasing agent within a real estate or property management firm, finding the windshield time as we call it to get in your car, drive across town and show a property for rent to a series of prospective renters can be a significant challenge. Even if you can find a slot in your calendar, matching that up with the other parties can make it a scheduling nightmare. What if there was a property management software and service that could connect you with OnDemand showing agents ready and available to meet an applicant or visit a property for a condition report on a moment's notice with me on the show today is Kobi Bensimon, CEO of Showdigs, a company providing a state-of-the-art leasing platform combined with experienced on the ground real estate agents. I can't wait to hear more about this from Kobi and to understand the transformation it can bring to many of our companies, Kobi, welcome to property management brainstorm today.

Kobi Bensimon:                02:39                     Thank you super excited, uh, to be here.

Bob Preston:                      02:42                     Great to have you as well. And I always like to start our show by having our guests introduce themselves and tell us a bit about your company. So Kobi, that's a great way to get started today. Why, why don't you kick us off?

Kobi Bensimon:                02:54                     All right. So let's start with, uh, show digs. Uh, show digs is a automation platform that combines modern software with a distributed workforce, basically thousands of, uh, field agents who can step in, uh, when needed to complete any property management task. Many in the industry kind of refer to us as the Uber or door dash of, uh, property management. And, uh, we started, uh, uh, back in 2019 in Seattle and currently, um, operating in close to Ted markets across the nation.

Bob Preston:                      03:34                     Wow. Congratulations. Which markets are you in? If you can explain?

Kobi Bensimon:                03:37                     So on the west coast where we started, we're in Seattle Portland, the bay area. Very recently, we launched in, uh, San Diego.

Bob Preston:                      03:46                     Yay. Thank you.

Kobi Bensimon:                03:47                     Yes. And, uh, we have, uh, uh, agents, uh, in Denver, Austin, and, uh, couple of, uh, markets in Florida.

Bob Preston:                      03:59                     Fantastic. Okay. And tell us about yourself.

Kobi Bensimon:                04:01                     So, uh, I've been in the business of building tools for property managers for the past 15 years. Most of them was in the multifamily space back in 2007. I started a company called the active building basically was the first, uh, resident portal for the multifamily space end up selling that company to RealPage after a few years. And, uh, I stayed on board, uh, as part of a RealPage consumer, uh, services division and, uh, through my work at RealPage, I got, uh, exposed to the single family space, uh, as you know, RealPage owns, uh, both Propertyware and Buildium and, uh, there's a lot of work being done there in the low density, single family space, and was super excited about the changes, the opportunity, the, the market trends, where, you know, more renters are expected to leave apartments and, and rent houses. Institutional investors are buying both, uh, homes and property, traditional property managers. So decided to live real page and, uh, try to figure out how can we fit in with this, uh, with all the exciting stuff that's happening. And this is how Schick came to be.

Bob Preston:                      05:27                     That's pretty cool. This isn't your first rodeo, as they say, right. <laugh> and I know you found a sweet spot here because Kobi in our industry, a lot of us talk about the windshield time. I'm sure you're familiar with that, that term. That's when a staff member has to jump in a car and then drives across town visits a property, right. And how much time and efficiency that takes off their plate. And I'm sure you're familiar with that. And probably one of the inspiring factors and property management that got you to launch show digs. So, with that in mind, and from a property management company, that's kind of a productivity and efficiency killer at windshield time. So, what are some examples of windshield visits to properties that show digs can handle on behalf of a, a property management company like north county property group?

Kobi Bensimon:                06:15                     Sure. So, as I mentioned, you know, we mainly focus on the listing, uh, part and I mentioned, we are a listing automation platform. Hence, we want to help you automate the entire listing, the entire turn process from a to Z, right. Of turning a unit. So, uh, we build the software tools and we train, uh, our field agents to do anything from taking listing photos, completing a move out report, uh, handling showings, whether the software to do self-showing, if that's kind of what fits, uh, best for your property or having our agents step in and, uh, uh, meet prospects and show them the vacancies, placing lock boxes, completing the moving report ahead of the next tenant, moving in. So really our goal is to allow you to rent houses, turn units without ever leaving the office. Um, which means you'll be able to manage a lot more properties in a much larger geographic AR area.

Bob Preston:                      07:25                     Yeah. Much more efficiently as well. Right. So, you have a software platform for coordinating all this. So, tell us about that platform and for signing up as a property management company, kind of, how does that work?

Kobi Bensimon:                07:35                     Sure. So, the property manager signs up online. We always recommend a, uh, scheduled time with our consultant, usually 30, 45 minutes. It's only taken to walk them through the basics. And many frankly, if, um, you know, if, if the client is, is, is tech savvy, they don't even need that. Once they sign up online, they, they add the properties that they need help with. So very, uh, easy process. We basically need the address and a few key information. And from that point, you have a menu of services that you can order. So, you need, let's say you need the move out report. It's a simple order form. We need to know when to show up. Uh, we'll ask you a few questions about, uh, the house and everything we do is on demand. So, you don't need to schedule it way in advance, you know, a day before you can tell us, I need someone to complete a move out report. And the agent, uh, our system will find a nearby agent who is available. Who's trained, they'll go out they'll, they have all the software they need in their phone to complete, uh, their report. And the moment they're finished our team here in the office, QA it, make sure everything looks good. All the pictures are clear and deliver the report back to you. So, uh, it's almost like a, a platform where you can immediately ask for help in certain, in certain things, when it comes to showing units, this is where, you know, we have some more sophisticated tools where, uh, we'll show you how to plug a unique email address in your ads. So, we can handle, uh, uh, inquiries guest cards, um, directly from sites like Zillow, Zumper interact with your prospect, prescreen, them, schedule them, um, for a showing. And then based on your policy, if you want, uh, uh, to use self-showing, if you want our agents to go out there, if you want to maybe handle them yourself for cert, for certain properties, we can handle the showing. When it's done with our agent, they will complete a full report at the end of every, uh, every showing what they learned about the prospect, their budget, their needs, um, what they saw in the property. If it's in a good state, everything, uh, uh, looks good, or maybe there's some things to improve. And at the end of the showing, we will follow up with the prospect with information on how to apply, kind of nag them for a couple of days to take action. And the idea is you need to deal only with applicants, right? Instead of dealing with dozens, sometimes hundreds of, of prospects a day, you know, just focus your time on the applicants.

Bob Preston:                      10:35                     Okay, cool. So full disclosure here, we just signed up. So, we're one of the new clients you have in San Diego. And one of the things I like about the system and is the kind of Lac car choices, right? You describe a menu of choices, and it is Lac car. So, we are going to stick our toes into the water a little bit with condition reports and then see how that goes. Right? And then we might expand out to do photos, to do these other things. As we get more experience, what's the turnaround time we should expect. Like when we say, okay, we need somebody at this property to do X, what would that turnaround time be? You mentioned the day before, is it 24 hours? 48 hours. Yeah.

Kobi Bensimon:                11:13                     So you tell us the day and time you need this, uh, report done. And this is the nice thing about working with the distributed workforce. So really imagine how your operation will change. If you had, you know, instead of the two, three field agents you currently employ, if you had access to 500 agents all over the San Diego Metro area, and you can fit them on demand and just pay for their fractional time, right? This is why people refer to us as the Uber of the industry, because, you know, that's the main innovation we're bringing on right? In every market we work, we hire hundreds of agents. We'll talk more about those agents. I hope later, but that's the nice thing. So, we are able to offer everything on demand when you need, um, a condition report done, you can order it same day, because we will always wait until an hour before the task is scheduled to be done. And look for agents that happen to be a mile or two away. When you have hundreds of them, you can afford to do that. Because you know that no matter what, you'll find someone who's free and willing to do the job for a flat, uh, uh, fee. When we talk about prospects, they can ask to see a, a house, uh, again, in an hour notice, we don't need to schedule, we don't need to manage calendars. We just take that request and an hour before, right. We go out and we track our agent location, and we find those who are a mile or two away from the address. And we offer them the gig. So that turns everything, you know about scheduling, calendaring, you know, all of that to on demand, easy on the spot kind of service.

Bob Preston:                      13:10                     I like the analogy to Uber or Lyft because we've all used it and you kind of get feedback right away. Okay. There's a, there's a driver in your area. His name is, you know, so and so, and he's going to be there in 10 minutes. Is that kind of how it works? If, uh, a tenant should book a showing?

Kobi Bensimon:                13:25                     Exactly, exactly the same way. Okay. Right. The prospective tenant’s book is showing, you know, an hour before we tell them. So and so we'll meet you. They can see, you know, on the map and where they are, they'll see their picture, their, their contact information. And all of that happens on demand, right? Same if you need a condition report, right? You don't need to worry about who's doing that. You work with show digs, you know, it's going to be taken care of you. Just tell us, please be there. I have a window of three hours. I need you to complete the condition report and an hour before we'll match an agent, they'll do the work, and you'll get their report back.

Bob Preston:                      14:06                     Okay. So, let's talk about your agents. So, these are field agents basically that are fully licensed in the state within which you're operating, and they've contracted with you, right? So as a client, we don't have to hire 'em and we just pay you guys a flat fee for each showing, uh, condition report, whatever it might be. And then your technology goes to work, puts them at the property at the right time to do the right activity. We've selected

Kobi Bensimon:                14:32                     Exactly right. Uh, we work, like I said, with hundreds of them, we made a decision to only work with licensed, active real estate agents. In many states, it's not a requirement. And even in states like California, when you need a license to do a showing, that's not required to do a condition report for example. But we found that it's a great fit for real estate agents, right? They have a lot of flexibility in their day. They're very local. They know the streets, they neighborhoods, they operate in their professional, they're trained. So, it makes for a great fit. And even though we could find like maybe a cheaper workforce, we decided to standardize on license real estate agents. And that makes the whole thing a lot easier from the training to, uh, uh, the quality control and to making sure you always get consistent, uh, result, no matter which one of those hundreds of agents actually did a job.

Bob Preston:                      15:37                     No I'm with you on that. And it provides a sense of, I guess, credibility to not only our staff and our company, but also the person that you're going to meet, correct. That there are a licensed real estate agent. Now they may not know the property very well. So how does that work? Are they vetted? Are they trained? Are they asked to review the property in advance? How do they know what they're walking into?

Kobi Bensimon:                15:58                     Yeah. So first they are vetted and trained when they first join our network. Uh, we verified the status of their license with the state. We, uh, make sure they go through a fair housing refresher because for some of them, it might have been years since they took that the course. Right. Um, and then we spend a couple of hours with them explaining to them how to do the different tasks using our software on their phone and based on the protocols and standards we set now, um, just like when they show houses to buyers or, you know, in states where they still use, uh, a real estate agents for rentals before the showing an hour before when they get assigned, we send them a link to the property listing. So, they will go over your listing on your website, read it carefully. We actually track that they open their that page and read the information. In addition, when you initially, uh, set up the property on Showdigs, you can highlight certain things for them that you don't want to put in the public listing, say certain amenities to go over, uh, certain, uh, benefits of the house. So, they'll read that carefully. And then when they meet the prospect, just like when they tour with their buyers, they're informed that they can talk about, you know, 90% of the, uh, uh, questions that come up during, uh, um, a typical tour for those questions or, or issues where they don't have the knowledge. This is why, you know, we make them feel a tour report at the end of every tour. And there's a section there that they can list questions that they couldn't address. And this is a great, uh, way for the, for our property managers to do a follow up with the prospect, especially those that the agent mark is hot prospects and follow up with them. And that sounds very salesy, right? They can follow up and say, Hey, we know you had this question about parking or, you know exactly what our pet policy is. And, uh, you can do that follow up over the phone. And, but again, 90% of issues can be addressed by just reading the listing carefully. And that's what our agents do.

Bob Preston:                      18:31                     Are they encouraged to get there early? Like a typical showing agent would get there early turn in the lights, maybe open some windows, you know, <laugh> check out the place a little bit before, uh, and then greet, greet the perspective renter as they come in through the door.

Kobi Bensimon:                18:43                     Of course. And this is where working with, uh, licensed agent health, cause that's exactly what they do for their listings. So, they're expected to be there five to 10 minutes before find the lock box, find the key, open the door, open the blinds, the light, uh, in cold areas, you know, turn on the heat, uh, everything that makes for, for, uh, a successful and good showing and, uh, you know, working with real estate agent, very easy for them to get that. We have very few issues with those agents. It's really great fit all around.

Bob Preston:                      19:24                     So is there any interaction between the property management company and the agent themselves, or is it all back kind of through the app, through the feedback and the kind of hiring out process through the app?

Kobi Bensimon:                19:34                     That's the nice thing. If, uh, if property managers want to, you know, uh, have visibility in their dashboard, they can always see what's happening when tours are scheduled, uh, when tours finished. Uh, but they don't have to, everything is handled by the platform, right? For many of our clients who, uh, um, at this point, you know, trust us and, uh, feel comfortable with the, with the process. They just list the home on our platform, and they wait to get, um, applications on the other hand. Right. Um, you don't interact directly with the agents. You don't care, which one of the, you know, hundreds of agents was speaked for every gig and even, you know, showing a house, every showing will be handled by a different agent that happened to be in that neighborhood and free during that time. And for you, you always get a consistent report of what happened and what took place. And it's a black box, how that happened. Right.

Bob Preston:                      20:40                     Mm-hmm. How long does it take to get the showing report back?

Kobi Bensimon:                20:45                     So we mandate that the showing report will be filed before the agent leave the home.

Bob Preston:                      20:53                     Wow. Okay. So, it's almost immediate, almost real time

Kobi Bensimon:                20:56                     Immediate. Yeah. So, because when you have a hot lead time is, is, is, is crucial, right? You want to follow up immediately. So, before they shut down and, uh, you know, close the blinds, turn off the light and the moment they said, good, they say goodbye to the prospect. While they're at the home, they open their phone, they fill up their report. And only when they submit it, they get paid. So, they have a very strong incentive to, to submit it on time. And, um, and that report immediately goes to the property manager, both on their dashboard, but also in their email so they can see their report, uh, in real time,

Bob Preston:                      21:41                     You know, this is really an interesting topic because I think in the early days of my company formation, and as we were growing, and maybe we didn't have as many doors, I can't imagine re relinquishing the control. <laugh>, you know, you probably hear this from, from some of your clients that you're talking to and that trusting that process. And you've talked about it, you know, over the course of time, as you learn to trust us, and that's got to be something that you find now, you know, fast forward to today, where we've got many, many doors under management and we are searching for ways to be more efficient because, you know, it's tough to scale. Once you get to a certain number of doors and it's tough to do things the way we did four years ago, five years ago, when we had more time, we had more freedom, it gas wasn't as expensive, whatever, you know, you can come up with a bunch of. So do you find that, that sometimes you might talking, be talking to a potential client or a customer of yours, a property manager who says, gosh, I'm just not sure I'm ready. And then a year or so later they come back, and they say, okay, I get it. Now let's go

Kobi Bensimon:                22:42                     For sure. Look, if you know, I'm a business owner, myself, trusting some, someone, you know, uh, with such a core part of my business is never easy. And, uh, that's why every, you know, the way we engineered our platform had to have trust, you know, front and center. So, you know, we talked about our, and the fact that we only use license real estate agents. And in fact, many of our property managers say that this is an upgrade from the people they are usually able to hire, um, as field agents. Right. Um, and it continues by the fact that we don't require any commitments or long term, you know, uh, uh, uh, high fees, uh, uh, subscription fees, it's all paper per use. And that allows our clients to gradually experiment with us. Right. So, you know, very typical, they will start with a couple of houses that may be, you know, distant houses or problematic to rent. And they'll, you know, start only by doing showing, and they'll, they'll, they'll experiment with the moving report, and they'll experiment with, you know, the marketing photos and that gives them the confident that they're not losing control that every step of the way. So even though the, the, the platform can automate their entire listing from a to Z from day one, they'll usually choose to check us one step at a time to make sure, you know, what we say and what we sell is actually we can deliver.

Bob Preston:                      24:22                     Okay. Terrific. You mentioned earlier that it kind of starts with listing your property. You, you build a listing within show digs. How does that listing get built? Is it a manual process? Do you have to put it in, like you would on AppFolio or on the MLS, or how does that work and then where does that listing show up?

Kobi Bensimon:                24:41                     So we use the word listing, but, uh, it's a much, uh, lighter version of what you will use with your syndication software. Most PM nowadays use a property management software, whether it's AppFolio or, you know, Propertyware, and, and the likes. So, we're not trying to replace that. Uh, you guys are used to it, you live there all day long, and we just, uh, uh, use the information in those systems. So, um, you know, typical workflow would be for you to build your listing in say, AppFolio syndicated to whatever website you choose, whether you know, the free or, or the premium ones, and just use our email, uh, as the contact information for that listing on show digs, we are able to sync with those systems and drive, you know, uh, all the information we need. And again, we're not trying to replicate the listing, uh, page. It's already on your website. All the information is there, but we do need some, uh, pieces of information, like how to access the home,

Bob Preston:                      25:51                     Almost like a landing page, if you will.

Kobi Bensimon:                25:53                     Exactly. Okay. So, we just need to know, you know, where's the lock box, what's the code to it. If there's any special notes for the agent, you want them to pay attention to what type of showings you want us to do? Is it a self-showing, uh, you know, by default or maybe, you know, use our agents? Is there any time restrictions, some condos, HOA, even though our agents are available seven days a week until 8:00 PM every day, you know, some HOAs have restrictions on when you can access the place. So those are the type of question you'll have to fill, uh, on show digs. It doesn't take more than five minutes to, you know, set up, uh, um, your showing profile on, on show digs. And that gives us all the information we need to successfully elicit.

Bob Preston:                      26:48                     And this could be on weekends too, right?

Kobi Bensimon:                26:50                     Weekends, you know, seven days a

Bob Preston:                      26:52                     Week. Yeah. Perfect. I know one of the other efficiency killers in my business and probably most property management companies is when our people walk in, in the morning, you know, Mondays are the worst because for the most part, we're not doing weekend showings. And we come in on Monday and the inbox is full with people who have inquired about properties and sure we have, um, automated email responders and stuff like that. Right. That gives instructions. And that the least agent will be back in touch with them, but still going through the email box and handling all those inquiries. I mean, it's just an efficiency killer, right. So, you know, that's kind of the dreaded inbox. So once a property's listed, then your platform can kind of automate that pre-screening and also scheduling the showings. Right.

Kobi Bensimon:                27:37                     Right. And in fact, we schedule thousands of, uh, showings a day and I can, uh, tell you, it's a mistake not to show during the weekend. Saturday at noon is the most popular time, time slot. Right. And this is when people want to see the place. And, you know, not surprised over the weekend is when you lease, but when you have to do it yourself or, you know, you have your limited staff, um, it's hard to do that. And, uh, uh, you are right, right. For a property manager. And I spent, uh, months office in one of our first users’ office and user's office. And it's always a pain. You come in the morning, and you have hundreds of emails from all those, you know, different websites, internet listing sites in your inbox, and your voicemail is, you know, have the dozens of, uh, uh, uh, messages.

Bob Preston:                      28:31                     Yep. And the phone's still ringing and there's other, other email coming in there are people demanding your time and it's, uh, you know, you have multiple balls in there.

Kobi Bensimon:                28:39                     Yeah, for sure. And this is where having the right software tools really help because now, we handle all those inquiries, whether through phone, through your website, through your phone lines, and, you know, one popular feature we recently released is a phone line service where we can catch all those, uh, uh, uh, inquiries by phone and handle them. And, uh, and, and now you come into the office and, you know, you start your day fresh, and you can focus on the important stuff, right? Your landlords, your tenants, and you don't have to play catch up with, uh, with all those inquiries that frankly, most people they search, and they inquire in the off hours right after they come back home from work. That's when they have time to do it. So having a software that kind of is there for you, 24 7 takes off a lot of the load and, uh, bring those efficiencies that we, you know, keep talking about.

Bob Preston:                      29:40                     Makes so much sense. I love it. Um, let's talk for a minute about the move-ins and the move outs in the state of California. This is pretty specified. We call it the MIMO. Move-in move out. Right. And show digs. I know can handle that process too, but sort of how does that work and how are your agents trained for this particular process?

Kobi Bensimon:                30:01                     Sure. So, our agents were not training them to be property managers and to identify what is, uh, where and tear and what is a damage. Cause by fit, we are training them to be your eyes on the ground, right? So, you can sit in the office and have all the information you need, because what kills your efficiency is that windshield time, you know, you mentioned, uh, earlier, so our agents are trained to go out there and document every inch of the house. Right. And we teach them how to walk into every room and exterior and just take enough photos to document the state of, uh, of the house that includes opening cabinets, taking pictures under the sink, taking pictures of the filters and the, uh, smoke detectors, things like that. So, you can sit in the office, get this report with 300 high resolution pictures, divided by rooms and areas and sections, and make the decision. What is, you know, what needs to be charged back to the tenant, what needs to be fixed, all of that. Right. So again, we're not trying to be a property manager. We're trying to be your eyes, ears, nose in the field. So, you can be a lot more efficient with your time.

Bob Preston:                      31:26                     Do they do that with the tenant present or do you encourage that process to be without anybody there looking over their shoulder?

Kobi Bensimon:                31:33                     So for the, uh, moving and move out and we like to do it when no one is, is at home, the place is empty is, uh, either after a move out where it's supposed to be, uh, uh, back to, uh, uh, the condition it was when someone moved in and of course moving ready. Uh, just the day before the, the new tenant moves in the one, uh, exception. And this is something that's, um, doesn't have anything to do with leasing, but, uh, recently, uh, we expanded, and we trained our agents to do those property assessments. So, think about the mid tenancy walkthrough and those happen with the tenant. So, it's kind of becoming very quickly became one of our popular services, because every property managers hate dealing with tenants. They're always late on those, uh, mid tenancy, um, reports. And, um, the nice thing about our platform, you just tell us, you know, the address and the contact information for the tenant. Our software will ask them for a two-hour window when they can be home, it will match an agent. The agent will be there, um, with the tenant, um, make sure every room in the house is in good condition, take some overview pictures. And, uh, that's the only kind of, uh, um, part that we do with the tenant, um, at the home, the rest we try to do, give the agent the hour, two, the need to complete the report, uh, quietly.

Bob Preston:                      33:14                     Gotcha. I really like that midpoint. We call them midpoint inspections or midpoint walkthroughs, and we try to not call them inspections because we don't want that to be threatening to the tenant. Right. Like, hey, we're going to come in and inspect your property. Oh my gosh. You know, what are you going to see? No, we just sort of like, hey, we're going to do a maintenance check, or you call them condition reports, perfect terminology. We like getting our eyes on properties midstream, and that doesn't necessarily have the same legal implication as the move in or the move out. So that the move in and the move out the MIMA, thing's a little bit dicey for me. I'm not going to lie, but I think that I could probably get comfortable with it over time. As we get more experience with you guys, uh, we kind have a saying that you document today, like you're going to be in court tomorrow. Right. And I think that's particularly true of the MIMO because you know, that's kind of where it's determined what deductions might be taken off of the security deposit. So, I mean, I know that our property management team can look at the reports, but you know, who's going to get called to court, I guess when <laugh>, it gets challenged or something like that. I guess that's the big question. And so, we'll just have to get comfortable with that over time. Reassure me on that.

Kobi Bensimon:                34:16                     Yeah, no, it's, it's a very sensitive process. Right? And, uh, that's why, you know, we want to make sure the place is documented, uh, very carefully. And even though various agents will do those reports over time, they all use the same template and the same software that guides them through the process. So, moving report looks very similar to move out report from the same angles, the same, uh, um, sections rooms are covered. And you're able to compare very easily with very high-resolution images the before and after of every, uh, uh, list. And that gives people the confidence that they need, um, that, like you said, right document, right? It's all about documenting. We don’t change anything in your process, how you turn those, those images into maintenance, uh, issues, how you address it with your tenants, how you, uh, charge them, you know, out of their security deposit, that's all handled based on your process. The only things we're changing is, you know, who is out there documenting. And, uh, since we use, you know, uh, best in class software, uh, to do that, you know, for many property managers, our reports are a lot more detailed and informative than what their current process is today. Yeah.

Bob Preston:                      35:54                     And I suppose that if I were to review a move out report, say that you guys did, and I saw something on there that was hugely concerning to me. I could always hop in the car and go see the property myself. Right. There's nothing preventing me from doing that. If there's something unusual that pops up in one of the reports.

Kobi Bensimon:                36:10                     Of course, of course. 

Bob Preston:                      36:11                     Okay. So, a lot of real estate agents actually listen to this show. So, I'm wondering if some of them out there might be thinking, hey, this could be kind of a cool side gig for me. So, if someone is out there listening and wanting to be a part of this process for show digs, what would you say to them and how would they, how would they go about exploring it?

Kobi Bensimon:                36:32                     Well, first this is great, uh, to learn that, uh, agents and brokers are listening to this, uh, show as well. We're always, uh, looking, uh, to bring and onboard, uh, new agents. It's a great opportunity for them to, uh, supplement their income and just to make clear the fact that we're using agents, um, they're not representing anyone. They're not entitled to any commission, uh, bonuses or anything like that. They just get paid for their time. And if, if you ever been an agent, you know how important it is to those agents to have some steady income, that's not tied to any future transaction. So if you're listening, whether you are a broker and, um, you want to get your agents on board so they can, you know, stick around longer while they're building their business and make some supplemental income, or you're an agent who, uh, has free time want to go out there, meet prospective renters, practice your skill, supplement your income, again, go to show and all information is there. And there's a process. It takes a few hours to go through all the verification and training. And in two days you are able to, um, start taking, uh, some of those gigs.

Bob Preston:                      38:00                     And how are brokers handling this? Are they splitting it? Is there like a broker split or is it pretty much all going to the agents?

Kobi Bensimon:                38:06                     So usually not like when we talk about condition reports, those are not, uh, um, you know, licensed activity. We, we pay the agent directly when it comes to showing again, there's certain state that it is a licensed activity, uh, some and some state that it's not, but in general, you know, since we pay, you know, around 30 to 40 bucks per, per showing, um, those are not sums that the brokers, you know, uh, uh, um, want to deal with or split, it's more a way to make sure their agent can build their skills stick around longer. Um, so they can be productive, successful agents in the long term. So, for them, it's more a recruiting tool, a retention tool, uh, more than making, uh, a split on that, uh, fixed, uh, 30, $40 fee that they get.

Bob Preston:                      39:07                     I like that. And providing a cashflow while they're building up their farm, right. I mean, that's kind of the way it works. Hey, in the property management industry, most of us who are owners or even property managers are big on tracking metrics, KPIs, whatever it is you want to call that. Right. And so, God, what are the metrics we should be watching, I guess, as company owners are tracking terms like leasing process and how does show digs help improve those metrics?

Kobi Bensimon:                39:36                     Yeah. So, uh, on your show digs dashboard, we try to surface as many metrics as we can. You know, the number of, uh, uh, tours it take to list the number of inquiries per property. There's all those, uh, metrics that, uh, our system is, uh, reaching data and we can surface, but really there's two KPIs that I think every property manager should keep an eye on. The first is, you know, days vacant, right? How many days, uh, a property is vacant really with all the processes and tools today that should be close to zero as possible. And, uh, the number one way to get it to zero is to start listing weeks before the previous tenant even moves out. Right now, this is something not many property managers do because it's complicated.

Bob Preston:                      40:31                     Well, it was also tough during COVID. It was always also tough, you know, during the pandemic, it

Kobi Bensimon:                40:34                     Was tough during COVID as well. I agree, but in normal times, right, and our agents are trained to handle, you know, showings in occupied units. Our software has all the features to notify the 10, 24 hours before, and then they remind them two hours into that. So, we build all the tools. Really. There is no, uh, reason why not to start showing, uh, um, a home two, three weeks before the, the quarantine even, uh, uh, uh, moves out. Um, and that's the number one, you know, uh, uh, a metric that's going to affect your performance. Um, the second one is, you know, the cost per lease, right? How, you know, many of you guys, you know, charge a leasing fee, how much of it you pay out and how much stays, uh, in your pocket is profit. That's very tight. You know, some people call it the labor efficiency because they're very, uh, uh, uh, tightly coupled Daniel Craig from the profit coach, uh, talks about it all the time and labor efficiency. Uh, so this is something you want to track. And, uh, really when, uh, uh, it comes to a, the vast majority of your cost leasing comes to your employees and the fact that you have to pay for them for that windshield time, right. Again, to, uh, uh, sit in the car half day. And this is where an on-demand distributed workforce that's, you know, works well with your seasonality, right? You need them on the weekends, you need them in the summer. You don't need to use them as much. Right. And it's very hard to do that with an inside in-house employees. What do you do with them in the winter? Right. They, they're not very efficient, but then in the summer they can't handle everything you throw at them. So that's where moving to a distributed-on demand kind of gig economy makes a lot of sense and help you improve that, that metric.

Bob Preston:                      42:44                     Yeah, no question about it. I think one of the interesting things we're trying to, uh, monetize is every day longer that a property goes vacant or stays vacant. What is that costing our company? We, we know what is costing the owner because it's kind of obvious, right? But what if we could take a 14-day vacancy and we could shrink it every time, right. To seven days, how would that be monetize? You know, and it, it's an interesting concept because there are lots of different obvi the obvious way. Okay. Seven days early, you start earning your leasing fee or your property management fee. But I think there are a lot of soft costs built into that, too, that as property management owners or property managers ourselves, we need to start learning how to quantify that and come up with some sort of formula that could say, look, every day your properties stay vacant. This is how much is costing you. And I think that would be really eye opening for a lot of companies in this business.

Kobi Bensimon:                43:40                     It's unbelievable. And the fact that on average, it takes four days to schedule a showing, right from the moment

Bob Preston:                      43:49                     That's ridiculous. Right.

Kobi Bensimon:                43:50                     It's ridiculous. Right. Right. From the moment I see the house on Zillow, until I can actually visit it, there's four or five days because most property managers can only afford to drive to a certain property once or twice a week. And it has to be when it's convenient for the property manager, well guess, guess what? You're losing tons of leads that can't make it there Tuesday in, in, you know, at 1:00 PM when you want them to be there. That's right. Right. So just moving to this model where showing are on demand, and you can address any prospect, anytime seven days a week, that by itself is going to cut half of your vacant days. Right. And now start showing it when it's occupied, right. Follow up promptly after each showing. And this will get you, uh, uh, down there to those seven days. And, and we see with our clients even below that. So, uh, and, and I think, you know, you know, we, we started show dates by trying to imagine what would a property management company look like if it started today, if you didn't have all this legacy processes and, and, uh,

Bob Preston:                      45:05                     Isn't that the truth. I know we've got a lot of legacy processes here that stem back to, you know, 15 years ago, and I was just launching the company,

Kobi Bensimon:                45:12                     Right. So, if you were to open a restaurant today, no way you're going to hire a delivery group. Right. Makes no sense. You're not even going to consider it. Right. You're going to tap into door dash and Uber eats and all those guys, and they're going to handle your deliveries, right. You're going to focus on making great food and servicing as many people as you can. And same with property management. We think if you start a property management today, it makes absolutely no sense to start hiring field agents and training them and worrying about benefits and, and turn over and, and, and, and all that. So, uh, and that's where you get the efficiency rethinking. Re-engineering what the company should look like with all the technologies and, uh, taking cues and lessons from all those other sectors that have to deal with, uh, complex field, uh, work.

Bob Preston:                      46:03                     I think that's a really tough thing for most of us as property management owners to do is to find the time to be thinking about this stuff. And every now and then I'll walk up to somebody at the company who I see doing something a certain way, and I'll think, you know, why, why are you still doing it that way? I mean, that doesn't make sense. And then I'll ask them, and they'll say, well, that's the way I was trained to do it five years ago, you know? And I'm just like hitting myself over the head going, oh my gosh, you know, I need to pay more attention, right? Because there are people that were taught to do something a long time ago. And to your point, these legacy processes that today just don't need to be that way and should be incredibly more efficient. But we're sort of in the way, right. As the owner who hasn't kept up on what's going on in the industry and all these different technologies like yours that are available, Hey Kobi, I always like my guest to, uh, tell a brief story about themselves, right? If there's a story that they can share that I don't know, maybe helps to find yourself either something that's happened to you or a personal journey, business or personal, whatever. Do you have something you can share with us today?

Kobi Bensimon:                47:05                     Sure, well, first as you, as you can hear from my, uh, uh, accent, uh, I actually immigrated here from Israel almost 20 years ago. And, uh, I got this wonderful opportunity to do my, uh, graduate studies in computer science at the place called MIT, which is, uh, word famous. And, uh, couldn't pass on that, uh, that opportunity packed, uh, you know, one suitcase told my family, uh, uh, I'm going to be away for two years, put everything in storage. And, uh, 20 years later, I'm still here. And after graduating from school, you know, uh, um, an opportunity presented itself in Seattle and, uh, moved, uh, up here, wonderful city, by the way, if, uh, if, um, you know, listeners haven't visited, it's, it's, it's unbelievable and, uh, kind of stumbled upon property management. I, I basically shamelessly copied the tool we had at the MIT, uh, housing, where when we get a package from Amazon or something, the, the, whoever, you know, was at the front desk will scan the package and I'll get the text message. And that was, uh, very convenient. And when I moved to Seattle, I rented, um, you know, uh, uh, a luxury apartment on this high rise downtown, uh, um, top of the line rent. And they used to put sticky notes on my door. Every time I got the package. And I thought to myself, this is crazy. Why are they, you know, they're sending someone from the mail room to put a sticky note on my door to tell me I have a package and I have to go all the way down now, 20 floors and, and, and wait in line to pick it up. So, I just like over a weekend, I build this, this very basic tool that, you know, they could scan the package and it'll text me, and I just handed it to the, to the property manager. And they were so happy with it that they started telling their, their peers and friends. And, uh, few weeks later I started getting phone calls from other, uh, part the building's that's great. Hey, can, can we use, uh, your software? And, and I knew nothing about property management. I knew nothing about, uh, you know, how this industry works. And I just say, yeah, sure. We use it. Why not? After the third of fourth, I said, let's see if they'll pay for it. And I just, you know, out of the top of my head, say, sure, it's going to cost you $500 a month. Uh, and they signed up immediately. I said, Ooh, maybe I have, uh, I have something here. And that's how I started the active building, which was my first company in the space. And that's how I, uh, got into, into property management. But I still, until today, try to keep that mindset that, you know, uh, let's not be bound by old processes. The fact that, you know, it's fresh set of eyes on a very traditional industry. That's how you get the innovation and that's how you get to move the industry forward for me, like the biggest, uh, validation is when, today we have client who started taking on properties, not just in nearby cities, but actually in other states. And they're able to expand and grow their business, uh, way beyond the 10-mile radius, which the typical property manager tried to stick to. And that's for me like, oh, this is how we're changing the industry, right. We just started working with your company, Bob. But, uh, for me, no, I want to hear in a year how you're taking properties in, in LA and maybe in the bay area, maybe even in, in, in different states. And you're able to do that without scaling your team, hiring people over the place and, and, and, and, you know, lose control over the, the quality of service that you provide. That will be a huge success for us and will validate everything we're trying to do.

Bob Preston:                      51:19                     That would be fantastic. And I look forward to that conversation and maybe toasting that one over a glass of champagne or something, right. Hey, this has been a fantastic episode and we could talk for hours. Um, but in the interest of time, we need to wrap up today. So, I guess, uh, what I'd like to close with is if someone wants to get in touch with you, learn more about show digs, how would they go about doing that

Kobi Bensimon:                51:39                     Best ways to visit our website? Right? That's the, the easiest way I really encourage you guys, uh, once on our website, uh, um, there's, you know, buttons all over to schedule time with, uh, one of our consultants, it's a free 45 minutes that, uh, they can go over your operation with you suggest way to improve it and, uh, learn how we can help you. So go to show, and just schedule some time. And that'll be the best way to, to get started, or even just get some ideas on how you can be more efficient with your listing and with your property management in general.

Bob Preston:                      52:22                     Thank you, Kobi. This has been a terrific episode. We appreciate you being on the show. And as we wrap up today, I'd like to make another quick plug to our listeners to please click on subscribe you too, Kobi. You got to give us that subscribe and that like, please pay it forward with a positive review so we can encourage more great guests like Kobi to be on our show. And that concludes today's episode. Thank you for joining us. And until next time we will be in the field, maximizing the value of our client's property assets and maintaining top tenant relations. And we will catch you next time.

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