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All about relationships: In Asset Mgt, who you know & how you operate is key to success

NAREIM Asset Management Meeting key takeaways

June 7, 2024

Relationships are key. This was an overwhelming theme discussed throughout several sessions at NAREIM’s Asset Management meeting, which took place this week in NYC. 

Members gathered to discuss topics including navigating lender conversations, how to efficiently run an asset management team, measuring the “S” in ESG across multifamily, the latest insurance update including alternative program structures and RFPs, market trends for 2024 and proptech innovation.

With borrower negotiations and requirements changing, real estate investment managers must pivot when it comes to lender relationships. 

The best way to do so? “Talk to your relationship managers and have them build a story to share with your lenders,” said one member.

Although different asset types might impact how your relationships with lenders might evolve, staying in consistent contact and providing transparent feedback and concerns will go a long way to strengthen those conversations.

“If you’re not a good operator and we don’t like the way you do business, we will give you the worst terms possible,” said another member.

Managers that will be the most successful in navigating this changing landscape will be the ones to craft solutions alongside their lenders, share their motivations and are goal oriented to reach their end goal.

Other key takeaways included:

How to efficiently run an Asset Management team: Structure & staffing

The scope of asset management is a wide one, with each shop having their own structure based off size, asset type coverage, and more. Among the most overlap in roles comes down to operational oversight expectations, financial reporting requirements, investor reporting responsibilities, and acquisitions, dispositions and refinancing.

But when is the best moment to reshuffle your team? “Don’t just look at who is busiest on your team versus who isn’t,” said one member, “but look at who is happy in their role and who is dealing with tougher assets.”

Other benchmarking considerations include the geographical diversification of your asset managers, asset performance and complexity of the business plan, the strength and tenure of the operations team, support staff, and sector specific experts.

“Create a grid that will outline the scope of your team against your peer set,” said another member. To measure success and find your strongest asset managers, team leads should pay attention to presentation skills, who is the most proactive, who comes up with solutions or answers to team or property challenges and can present those in an efficient way.

ESG: Measuring the “S” in multifamily

Only 25% of those in attendance noted they have implemented a resident engagement plan at their firm, while 17% are currently working on one. Some of the most popular services offered included energy savings, health and wellness, financial support or assistance and education.

More than half have added a line item to their budget for resident engagement, with 50% of those sharing the budget to be $5K or more. When measuring the plan, 69% of respondents rely on resident satisfaction surveys to gauge success.

“It’s worth it to look into hiring a dedicated resident coordinator,” shared a member. “It might seem expensive upfront but looking at how much delinquencies, evictions or homelessness would cost, this option is more successful with retaining residents.”

Proptech innovation

It’s a red flag if you see a start-up is working with a banker early on. Utilize your relationships with peers to find out what works or doesn't work for other firms. Educate and learn from each other.

AI will be significant, but it won't happen overnight. Think Big. Start Small. Scale Fast. 

"People like to fall victim to shiny object syndrome, it's overwhelming but asset managers that are deliberate in what they are focusing on and looking for will be most successful," said one member.

It's not all about the technology but the implementation plan, and that's driven by the people.

To access the meeting presentations and attendee lists, please email

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