We can all see it. It’s so visible within our line of sight. We dream of the day it arrives, and we dread the day it goes back to square one.
It’s that 100% pre-lease — and it’s the greatest accomplishment in the entire world to us housing folks.
We all put our hearts and souls into hitting that triple-digit number, and congratulate each other throughout the year when we see our sister sites reach Century Club. With that said, nothing feels more encouraging to us than seeing our first property make their goal. That’s why I was pleased to sit down with The Warehouse Team, to congratulate them on being the first property in the 2022-2023 leasing year to hit Century Club, and to discover the secrets to their rapid success.
For those who may not be aware, the staff at The Warehouse might be small, but they sure do pack a punch. The Warehouse is managed by Betsy Jenswold, Property Manager, and Peyton Thornburg, Assistant Property Manager, with Part-Time Ggent Morgan Owens helping bring in those leases. The maintenance staff is led by Rayvon Davis, Maintenance Super, and completed by Tammon Crudup, Maintenance Tech. Without every single one of these team members, the staff says they would not have been able to hit their goal with the vigor they did this year.
I was able to pick the brains of Betsy and Peyton, who have been with the Preiss Company even before we acquired The Warehouse in 2019. Betsy started with Preiss when we purchased Collegiate Commons, and was there for four years before she took the Area PM job for Warehouse and Collegiate combined. Once Collegiate sold, she became PM for The Warehouse, and the rest is history! Peyton started as a PT Leasing Agent at LiveOnHillsborough, and stayed there for a year before taking the job as the APM for The Warehouse. “I wasn’t sure what type of job I wanted out of college,” remembers Peyton, “but when I started with The Preiss Company and eventually ended up at The Warehouse, I knew it was where I was supposed to be.”
Meeting goal so quickly, most would assume The Warehouse is a new development, large with a wide variety of amenities included on the property. However, believe it or not, The Warehouse is an older, smaller, boutique property that only just finished renovations in 2021. While its highlights include its walkability to UNC’s campus, its open-indoor concept, and convenient location by downtown Chapel Hill, it really is just like any other property within our portfolio.
So…where did this insane pre-lease come from?
When I originally asked, Peyton and Betsy’s first answer was one that surprised me for the size of their staff: “Just being available at all times and hours to send leases,” quoted Betsy. “The dedication that our staff puts in to get our prospects the tools to sign is our number-one tactic.” While I know this sounds like a given, we aren’t just talking dedication during office hours. Betsy recalls Peyton being available on her laptop even beyond their “nine-to-fives”. “Teamwork,” said Peyton, “and staying open with our communication with our team, was the most important aspect to our success.”
With this said, Peyton and Betsy also contributed their 100% to their wonderful maintenance team. “During our busiest times, our maintenance was extremely self-sufficient and independent,” recalled Betsy, “and stayed on top of everything, even when we couldn’t be. Our maintenance was key to our renewals this year.” It really sounds like this is the real dream team.
Not only was The Warehouse’s staff a major key to their Century Club title, but the staff informed me that the Chapel Hill market as a whole is just quick to lease. After COVID came about, housing fairs were cancelled at UNC, making it harder to create brand exposure for all the properties in this market. However, this year, UNC started their housing fairs back up, and with that, The Warehouse received a wonderful turnout to their corner. They also had the brilliant idea of hosting an open house directly after the housing fair for all those interested in getting a tour and securing their spots that day, to which they also credit a large portion of their early success. While the market is crazy about signing leases early every year, their strategic planning and thoughtfulness really helped drive the numbers home even earlier.
Well, they hit 100% — now what? While I’m sure it is easy for them to kick their feet up and sit back to relax for a bit (which they admittedly do every once and a while), they are dedicated to preparing for their new residents by creating move-in plans, making key packets, and even roommate-matching to stay ahead of schedule. They also plan on beginning to market for their newest Chapel Hill development, a “Warehouse Part Two” if you will! Peyton and Betsy are pumped to be bringing in more beds under The Preiss Company brand, and would also love any name ideas you may have for this new project (feel free to comment below). It’s full steam ahead for this staff! “I’ve been in property management for 30 years,” said Betsy, “and The Preiss Company is the one that works hardest at being a leader in its industry and for its employees. I am excited to see it grow!”
With that said, I think I can speak on behalf of all of us when I say CONGRATULATIONS to the whole Warehouse staff on being the first of us all to hit Century Club this year; make sure to give yourselves a giant pat on the back and to enjoy the downtime (if we can even call it that). Thank you, Peyton and Betsy, for taking the time to discuss your team’s success.
To the rest of us, let’s follow suit and hit those goals! It is only a matter of time before we will all join The Century Club! We can do it!