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The Pod System helps Auben Realty provide an excellent resident experience at scale.

Auben Realty CEO Phil Vera joined us on The Triple Win Podcast to discuss a number of topics in the property management industry, including the innovative Pod System. The Pod System is a management technique Auben instituted in recent years that’s helped them to focus on long-term benefits of a great resident experience while building meaningful relationships with investors to create a triple win where all parties benefit. This triple win is also the concept behind Second Nature's Resident Benefits Package.

Related: State of Resident Experience Study

What is the Pod System?

As Vera explains, most property management companies employ traditional property managers who serve as a jack of all trades for the properties they are tasked with managing. This is portfolio-based management. They handle everything from leasing, to maintenance requests, to communication with the investor and the resident for their portfolio of properties. The end of the spectrum opposite a portfolio-based company structure is a departmental structure, where employees handle a specific piece of the management channel for many different properties. Neither is necessarily a wrong way to do things, and both work well for certain companies, but Auben was convinced there had to be a better way. 

Enter the Pod System. The Pod System is innovative because it has hybridized portfolio with departmental, creating teams of people to manage a portfolio of properties, with each person serving in a specific role. This structure allows Auben to provide excellent and reliable communication as part of its resident and investor experience while not sacrificing the advantages of an effectively scaled property management company.

How does it create a Triple Win?

Auben CEO Phil Vera

Within each team, Auben employs an Investor Account Manager. These roles are designed to foster a great working relationship with investors and create open and accessible communication channels. “They are the investor’s main point of contact,” said Vera. “They build a relationship with the investor, provide updates, communication flow, all those things. If an investor has a question, they pick up the phone and they call their investor account manager and they have a direct line.” This is a differentiating experience for Auben, as most PM companies don’t offer a direct line of contact for investors. 

Auben employs a resident experience manager as well, which Vera touches on, noting the value it’s created for Auben. “We kind of went outside of the norm and we created the resident experience manager. So traditional property management, we’re focused on the investor. That’s our client. The resident pays rent. If you don’t pay rent, we’ll find someone else who can. We wanted to kind of think outside the box there and say ‘okay, the resident is important in investing because if we can decrease vacancy and reduce turnover and keep the residents happy, they’ll stay in our properties for long periods of time and ultimately increase the investor’s return as well.’”

The innovative company structure used by Auben is a perfect example of creating a Triple Win. Auben has built itself around the importance of the resident and investor experience, and the satisfaction those parties receive as a result directly benefit Auben in the long-term. Experience is the key term there, as that's what property management companies need to start delivering to stay ahead of the curve in an evolving industry. Being part of the first wave of companies to transition their offerings from service to experience creates an opportunity to grow and thrive that isn't otherwise available in the SFR space, and that's the reasoning behind Auben's innovative pod system.

Have you thought about implementing a Pod System in your PMC? Do you think it could work for you, too?