Property Management Blog

Serrus Technology: Improving Results, Not Replacing Customer Service

Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Property Management Blog

Serrus Capital Partners continues to evaluate processes and implement Best-In-Class technologies to help maximize performance. Serrus recently signed an exclusive use license for the Patented entrance lock system, Call-a-Key. After providing identity verification over the phone, system administrator's provide the user with a one time access code to enter a property during daylight hours. This system continues to help Serrus keep abnormally low vacancy rates, while allowing prospective tenants to view properties on their own time, whether after work or on the weekends. Over the past 4 months, Serrus has been able to remotely grant access to over 300 prospective occupants AND directly contribute multiple Sales or Lease Agreements to the initial Call-A-Key visit. Additionally, Serrus began accepting online payments and security deposits online through the launch of the revised Serrus.com. These tools provide tenants with opportunities to better navigate the hurdles of arranging housing when relocating to an area and not always being able to meet between the hours of 8-5. Serrus Real Estate and Property Management strives to continually adapt to the changing marketplace and provide tools that assist prospective homeowners, while keeping overhead low for our investors and management team. That is a win-win…That is the Serrus Way. Thanks, Chris Laney

 

My Dad

Sunday, August 19, 2012
Property Management Blog

My dad was born in 1903. He would be 109 if he was still here. His name was Ladson Gentry Cubbage, Sr. Lewis Gizzard, the great southern humorist, wrote that the highest sentimentality a southern man could reach was talking about his dead father. Every year on his birthday I seem to have that strong flood of emotions. My memories of him are vivid and clear.  The lessons he taught me were both verbal and from the example he lived. At the time, I never realized what an advantage it was to have an older father (he was 50 when I was born).  He was basically self-taught and only had six years of formal education.  The fundamentals that brought him to his success where driven from knowing the Bible and a work ethic that still makes me shake my head. I spent a lot of years in some long tough football practices and yet literally couldn’t match him when he was in his seventies on his farm! Like so many people that lived through the Great Depression, my father was shaped by the conservative imprints that built his special generation. He was an entrepreneur before people used the term. His income was driven by his cotton, tobacco, soy beans, cows, and hogs. He always had another job that gave him a small but dependable pay check. His work as Sumter County Forest Ranger was a mainstay. My father then invested his humble profits consistently in real estate. There were long stories of how he had paid cash for land for his farm, when the market conditions were so favorable for buying. Folks would tell him he was crazy. I remember his rental property, collection of rents, and the pride he had talking about his farm land. I can hear him say, “You know they aren’t going to make any more land.” Then, he would tell me about every deal he could have had when we would ride by something.  “I could have paid so an so for that in 1935…today you know what it’s worth??!”  I know he would be encouraged by what we have done and are doing here at Serrus. Thanks for reading a blog about my dad. I still miss and love him. Leighton

 

Taking Serrus to the "Next Level"

Monday, July 9, 2012
Property Management Blog
Our team is constantly mentioning the "Next Level." We believe you get there by constant improvement. We are excited to share some innovations that we have been working on over the last few months to showcase some significant improvements for sharing our Serrus message by building an online network so we can better connect with you and all of our intended audiences.

Web
One of the key areas for Serrus is making sure we have a great web presence. We have recently updated our website, and we think it looks fantastic! As a part of our improvements, we have acquired new domains so that our digital branding matches the rest of our marketing. You may have noticed that the new website is located at www.Serrus.com; however, if you go to the former address, www.SerrusCapitalPartners.com, you will automatically be directed to the new website.

Also, you will notice we have updated our photography with a wonderful new picture of our team. The picture was taken on a hot morning in Falls Park near the bridge, but we all got there and got the picture including about 25 funny comments just like in high school. We really wanted to make sure you know who we are, so we hope you will reach out and say hello.

Facebook and Twitter
Speaking of reaching out and engaging in our online conversations, we have been building our social media presence as well. We are active on Facebook and Twitter. If you look at our Facebook page, you will see a picture of our team at the top of the page. Below our new “cover photo,” click the “Like” button to receive updates from inside our organization. Bottom line, we like to use Facebook to cheer about our successes. Please check us out and “Like” our page by going to www.Facebook.com/SerrusCapitalPartners.

We are also active on Twitter by sharing not only information about Serrus, but also local, regional, and national business and real estate news. We feel like this will help those who want to engage us online to see the news and events that impact us in the real estate world. Please check us out and follow us at http://Twitter.com/SerrusPartners.

YouTube
YouTube videos continue to be an important way of sharing our message. If you look on the home page of Serrus.com, you will see our updated videos. We are excited to share our message, so please pass it along.

All this is important when we are marketing and communicating our message, but the updates to Serrus.com have also helped us streamline our operations. We have been able to automate the property listing section of the website. This will help us provide the most recent property listings for faster turnaround along with less data entry time. We want to be as efficient as possible. You should check out the newest properties we have just added.

In closing, our goal is to build a strong presence online, and we want you to join our community. Check us out, follow us“Like” us, watch us, and even read our blog.

By the way, the online community is made up of you and the hundreds of folks who have been involved with us over these last three years! For that we are so thankful!!

Have a great rest of the summer!
Leighton

 

Facebook? We Like Buying Houses

Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Property Management Blog

One of the best things about being 59 is that you can enjoy your kids insinuating that you are a relic of the past. My son has blocked me from seeing his account. My daughters laugh when they see me “like” something. The other night I sent a good night “sweet” message to one of my daughters, and it got posted on my “wall.” Then one of her friends “liked” it, and it is probably being read now somewhere in a cave in Bora Bora. No wonder my wife cringes when she sees me looking at Facebook. Folks fighting to buy the shares of Facebook got embarrassed, too. They were fighting really hard to get the right to buy shares valued at 107 times trailing net income and 26 times trailing revenue. The drop in price, however, sure wasn’t funny for the folks who got the right to buy. On the other hand, we like buying houses. Here’s some information I received from a sophisticated friend: Oliver Chang, head of U.S. housing strategy at Morgan Stanley, disclosed that he was quitting his day job to start an investment partnership dedicated to buying houses in order to rent them. Chang wrote, “Having followed this market for the past several years, I believe it represents one of the most compelling investment opportunities available across all asset classes today." Warren Buffett, when asked if was buying Facebook, said “no.” I’ll bet my kids will love me getting this on my “wall,” where I can “like it.”

 

Powerful Essay About Thomas Jefferson

Friday, June 1, 2012
Property Management Blog

My partner Steve Mudge's father, Mr. Cliff Mudge, just sent me an incredible article about Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States. Its a short powerful essay that reflects his vision. We think you will enjoy it. ----------------- Except for the fact that Jefferson wanted to re-write the Bible, he seems to be a man who could see into the future. Thomas Jefferson was a very remarkable man who started learning very early in life and never stopped. At 5, began studying under his cousin’s tutor. At 9, studied Latin, Greek and French. At 14, studied classical literature and additional languages. At 16, entered the College of William and Mary. At 19, studied Law for 5 years starting under George Wythe. At 23, started his own law practice. At 25, was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses. At 31, wrote the widely circulated "Summary View of the Rights of British America" and retired from his law practice. At 32, was a Delegate to the Second Continental Congress. At 33, wrote the Declaration of Independence. At 33, took three years to revise Virginia's legal code and wrote a Public Education bill and a statute for Religious Freedom. At 36, was elected the second Governor of Virginia succeeding Patrick Henry. At 40, served in Congress for two years. At 41, was the American minister to France and negotiated commercial treaties with European nations along with Ben Franklin and John Adams. At 46, served as the first Secretary of State under George Washington. At 53, served as Vice President and was elected president of The American Philosophical Society. At 55, drafted the Kentucky Resolutions and became the active head of Republican Party. At 57, was elected the third President of the United States. At 60, obtained the Louisiana Purchase, doubling the nation's size. At 61, was elected to a second term as President. At 65, retired to Monticello. At 80, helped President Monroe shape the Monroe Doctrine. At 81, almost single-handedly created the University of Virginia and served as its first president. At 83, died on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence along with John Adams. Thomas Jefferson knew because he himself studied the previous failed attempts at government. He understood actual history, the nature of God, His laws and the nature of man. That happens to be way more than what most understand today. Jefferson really knew his stuff. A voice from the past to lead us in the future: John F. Kennedy held a dinner in the white House for a group of the brightest minds in the nation at that time. He made this statement: "This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to gather at one time in the White House with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone." When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe. Thomas Jefferson The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. Thomas Jefferson It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world. Thomas Jefferson I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the Government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. Thomas Jefferson My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. Thomas Jefferson No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. Thomas Jefferson The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in Government. Thomas Jefferson The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. Thomas Jefferson To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical. Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson said in 1802: I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property - until their children wake-up homeless on the Continent their fathers conquered. I wish we could get this out to everyone. I'm doing my part. Please do yours. In GOD we TRUST!

 

Daniel Rodriguez: A Story of Hope and Inspiration

Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Property Management Blog

A couple of weeks ago I met Daniel Rodriquez. Today I found out that he was accepted to Clemson University as a student. It’s a big deal. Not because it’s Clemson, but because who and what this young man represents. The news and internet have outlined Daniel Rodriquez's story. A promising high school football player who looked forward to college, his father died four days after graduation, forcing Daniel to become the man of the house. He postponed college and joined the Army, which immediately sent him to Iraq. He spent a year in Bagdad, where even his first day was marked by combat. Later he went to Afghanistan, where once again he was thrown into fierce battle on his first day. There, the combat was so intense that Daniel set up his own video camera to capture the fighting so that his future grandchildren could understand his life as a soldier. The videos will break your heart, horrify you, and motivate you at the same time. As the story unfurls, we learn that Daniel lost his best friend PFC Kevin Thompson and seven other friends in his unit when a terrible swarm of Taliban tried to overrun his group in Afghanistan. PFC Thompson gave his life for us, standing right in front of Daniel. If you watch the video you will find out how Daniel was wounded in an all-out fight that appeared hopeless. The Bronze Star and Purple Heart are not given out very often. Daniel was awarded both. Daniel has mapped out a second chapter of his incredible life: he wants to walk on to play football at Clemson University. That goal sounds out of place in Daniel Rodriguez's world, but during his friendship with PFC Thompson, they both promised that if they made it out alive they would go for their dreams. Daniel’s dream was to play major college football. He has a GI Bill scholarship and is going to be a walk-on at Clemson football team. When you see the video of Daniel preparing, you will see the validity of a trainer's words as he says that Daniel is absolutely a five star player. His work ethic is called “phenomenal,” and he has all of the intangibles—leadership, character, integrity—that would set him apart on any team. I have always loved football. And you probably know that I favor the Tigers. In fact, my partner Steve Mudge and I met each other when we signed with Clemson to play football. Jim Ness, a member of Serrus Advisory Board and my college roommate, became our senior captain and an All Atlantic Coast Conference player. Our time together on the college team is something we still laugh and reminisce about fairly often. Forty years later, we are still teammates and in business together. Over the course of a lifetime, our time playing football was a defining part of our lives, so meeting Daniel a few weeks ago was uplifting and humbling. Here is a man who he lined up side by side with his teammates who risked and gave their lives so folks like us can have freedom. This is a man who affirms, “I never give up!” Clemson football and the whole common experience are significant to us, but character and commitment are really what is important in the long run. In a world where it seems rare, Daniel Rodriquez is both a gifted athlete and a focused fighter who cares about his fellow man and never gives up. And he was, like thousands of others, willing to give it all for you and me. Please take a few minutes and watch these videos. This is not just another guy headed to play for the Tigers. God bless Daniel Rodriquez and God bless America. ***Image from Tigernet.com

 

S.C. home sales continue to climb

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Property Management Blog Source: Charleston Regional Business Journal Staff Report Published April 16, 2012 The real estate market continued its upward trajectory during the month of March, according to the latest home sales report from the SC Realtors. Statewide home sales have now increased the first three months of the year, when compared to 2011, which was another down year. In March, statewide sales were up 4.6% at 4,405, with median price dropping slightly to $144,825. On average, a home stayed on the market 139 days, six days less than a year ago. New listings in South Carolina decreased 11.3% in March to 9,413. Pending sales were up 8.6% to 5,254. Inventory levels shrank 15.9% to 49,249 units. And absorption rates improved as months’ supply of inventory was down 19.6% to 11.8 months, SC Realtors reported. In the state’s largest real estate market, Charleston Trident reported 898 sales, up 4.4%, with median price at $182,240, up 2.5%. In Columbia, sales increased 16.7% to 615 and median price was up 2.4% at $135,000. In the Upstate, Greenville area sales were at 619 for the month, up 7.1%, and median price increased 4.3% to $144,000. Spartanburg area sales reached 262, up 18.6%, with median price dropping 2.1% to $103,236. And in the western Upstate, sales dropped 13.8% to 219 and price increased 11.3% to $120,250. Statewide, homes with the strongest sales growth were in the $200,001 to $300,000 price range. Sales for homes in that range were up 8.4%. For the first quarter, sales were up 6.1%, while median price increased 2.1%. Here’s a look at first quarter data:

 

New Office in Spartanburg, SC: Interview with Ollie Medford

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Property Management Blog

We are so proud of the results that our property management has delivered. Our properties are being managed by a team with high standards, technical advantages, and a passion for serving customers. One of the leaders on this team is Ollie Medford. Ollie has impacted our results in such a very strong way. Yet, folks here probably value her positive and sunny disposition more than anything else. We sat down with Ollie recently: SCP: “First – great job and I was wondering, how did you get named Ollie?” Ollie: “My grandfather was named Ollie. He was with the railroad and was special to us all.” SCP: “You have made a strong impact in our company. What’s the secret to delivering the results you are seeing? Ollie: “It’s really a great team.” SCP: “I knew you would say that. Name three things that have been a reason for the high occupancy and good numbers.” Ollie: “First is the team. We have a group that takes a different attitude to this business. Someone who is in a Serrus home is a customer, and not just a number. We simply treat people like we want to be treated. I’ve been in the business for over 20 years, and you don’t see that in most companies.” SCP: “I love that answer, but what specifically are we doing different.” Ollie: “Again, when you have a team that cares, it shows in multiple ways. Take Barry Ashe and his group. If I call because of a maintenance issue, they are all over it. The customers love that. In fact, the houses are maintained, clean and fresh when a customer moves in too. They really like that, and if they don’t like the location, they will ask if Serrus has a house where they want to move.” SCP: “With Serrus growing, we have seen a demand for showing properties and getting people signed up. That has to have been a challenge.” Ollie: “Exactly! In fact, one thing I’m excited about is that we are now using a new technology to aid in the showing of houses at the time when people want to see them….weekends or after work.” SCP: “How does it work?” Ollie: “A person can call in to see a specific house and, through a verification process, can be easily given a code that will grant them access to see a house for a limited time period. It is so much better for a person who is looking for a new home. Instead of having to get off work, go pick up a key and return it, the customer can look when they want to see it.” SCP: “That has to help that customer out…anything else?” Ollie: “We treat folks like our customers and rather than just another renter. Our team wants to build a great experience for them. And many will become owners too! It’s more than a ‘rent and fill a house’ mentality.” SCP: “The company is growing … can you keep up?” Ollie: “Of course! In fact, we are opening a new office in Spartanburg to provide better service in one of our best markets.” SCP: What’s the address? Ollie: “222 E Blackstock Rd, Suite H, Spartanburg, SC 29301” SCP: “What are you most proud of about being in an entrepreneurial real estate effort?” Ollie: “I love the satisfaction of being on a team that has come together to create an awesome property management company. Learning to work with a group to build something is better than just going to work." SCP: “What is Ollie’s personal vision for Serrus Real Estate and Property Management for the future?” Ollie: “Wow! I think we can grow the company with the internal growth of Serrus; but also with people who want us to manage their properties. We are in a position to begin accepting owners that need us to help them . That really is an exciting opportunity for growth.” SCP: “If someone wants us to manage their property, how do they get in touch?” Ollie: “ It would be great to have them call me at 864-907-0715 or email me at Ollie@serruspm.com." SCP: “Great job! And thanks for your efforts. And like you, we are fired up about the future. You’ve helped convert a challenge into an opportunity!”

 

Bubba Masters the World

Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Property Management Blog

Last week, a golfer named Bubba Watson won the Masters in Augusta, Georgia. Bubba is a player who has never had a golf lesson, and yet gave us all a lesson in life. Under any circumstances, the tension of playing in the Masters is incredible. This year, however, the stress rose to unprecedented levels when the tournament was decided after two playoff holes: the sudden death match between two people who were tied after four days and 72 holes. Bubba teed off first and hit his ball 60 yards into the woods. The announcers were quick to say it was over for him. Then his competitor decided on a more conservative club and delivered a less than desirable shot. Yet, Bubba still appeared to be in a hopeless situation. Bubba marched into the woods with an aura that bespoke confidence despite the bleakness of the situation. (I sort of felt sorry for him. Things sure looked bad.) Bubba marched around the clearing in the woods and seemed to be internally projecting a vision of how his ball could rise up and fly around a corner out of the woods. As he bent over and moved a leaf, I thought to myself, “That’s not going to help.” Then he firmed up his stance and took a full cut at the ball. With the ball headed up and out of the woods, it took a right turn headed to the green. I could see the crowd jumping and screaming. The ball had landed on the green! Bubba then made his putts and kicked down the door of history. On that day, he was the champion and the best in the world. Here is the aerial view of this amazing shot! Here was a man who had worked his whole life for a narrow window of victory. Intellectually, coming up to that last hole, everyone thought that Bubba’s chances were over. Yet, someone forgot to tell Bubba. And now he’ll be in the history books as the 2012 Masters Champion. Instead of giving up when the rest of the world gave up on him, he stayed focused and confident, and he won. Like Bubba Watson, we at Serrus Capital Partners believe and have faith in the value of the American spirit and the refusal to admit defeat. We see opportunity in our country and are prepared to adjust to changing circumstances. Besides, we’ve seen first-hand—by a man from Georgia named Bubba—how to get out of the woods and win. *Aerial photo from WeiUnderPar.com.

 

GSA Business: Greenville firm eyes Lowcountry residential real estate

Thursday, March 1, 2012
Property Management Blog By Scott Miller | smiller@scbiznews.com | Published March 1, 2012 With a new $10 million line of credit, Greenville-based Serrus Capital Partners is looking to acquire distressed residential real estate in the Asheville and Charleston markets. The company buys, renovates and either sells or leases the properties, often bought from banks or through foreclosures. Through two real estate funds, Serrus sought to raise $25 million from investors, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2010 and 2011. The amount sold was not disclosed, neither was the company’s revenues. Sunwest Bank of California, meanwhile, is providing Serrus with the $10 million upgrade to its line of credit, the company announced Wednesday. Serrus targets homes valued around $140,000, said Leighton Cubbage, Serrus co-founder and chairman. So far, it has acquired around 200 properties in Spartanburg, Greenville, Anderson, Clemson, Columbia and Myrtle Beach. It’s most prominent acquisition was the Carolina Walk condominium development next to the University of South Carolina’s Williams-Brice Stadium. “We have been able to buy these properties, bring them up to speed, cure the deferred maintenance and do something banks were able to do before the meltdown and the recession,” Cubbage said. Serrus often pays cash for the properties to close quickly on acquisitions. “We will continue to buy properties from individuals and banks, hire people, support local vendors and contractors, pay commissions to real estate folks, and improve neighborhoods throughout South Carolina.” ***To read the article via GSA Business, CLICK HERE.

 


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