On the surface it seems like a natural fit, but the reality is that it is usually hurtful. People jumping into property management ask me this question all the time: “Should we keep our real estate & property management company under the same brand?” I usually recommend they keep those things completely segregated, but why?
1. Google Views them Differently
One obvious reason is that Google serves up totally different results. To Google, real estate and property management are totally different categories.
Just do a quick Google search for: [insert your city name here] property management
Then try a Google search for: [insert your city name here] real estate
You may see some slight cross over, but generally Google’s goal is to serve up the most relevant results and if your site focuses on several things Google is less likely to serve up yours than a more focused competitor.
2. They Have Different Target Groups
So why does Google tend to serve up different results? Because Google knows that a Real Estate website is targeting those that want to buy or sell a property. People looking for property management services are looking for something else entirely. In order for your marketing, website, and everything else you do, to be effective, you need to target the right people with the right message.
Property management is tough enough with the 4 usual groups (potential client/owners, existing client/owners, potential tenants, existing tenants), without mucking up the water even worse with real estate buyers & sellers.
3. People Don’t Usually Search For Realtors
People usually have the mindset that they are searching for a home, a property, rather than an agent. But what about sellers?! Those that want to sell their property may look for an agent, but reviews, reputation, and word of mouth are large factor, plus they often go back to the person that sold them the home in the first place, unless that agent really screwed up or retired. And if they didn’t like their experience with an agent in the past, they might be more likely to try to sell it on their own than go find another.
4. It Dilutes Your Brand’s Effectiveness
The crux of branding is being memorable and you are lucky if people can remember your business for even one thing, let alone two. It can be extremely confusing to those looking for management services to see that your business name is [Insert Name Here] Real Estate or Realty.
Word of Mouth Depends On Being Remembered
Imagine someone asks you where to find just one of these: the best donuts in town, the best place to get fabric, or the best place to buy tires. Are you more likely to say Wal-Mart which has any of those, or a place that is focused just on that particular thing? Usually people would say something like Krispy Kreme Donuts, Michaels Craft Supplies, or Big-O Tires – all places that specify. Don’t you want your property management firm to be spread via word of mouth? Sure, you want people to say, “oh, you need [Insert Name] Property Management” they specialize in just that very thing!”
Focus = Power, Potency, Effectiveness
If you dilute your focus, you dilute your brand’s effectiveness at being remembered.
5. It Scares Away Great Referral Partners
Realtors and Real Estate Agencies can be a fantastic source of referrals, if done correctly. Even if an agent sent you only a lead or two each month that could mean several new contracts a year! However, if they know that you do real estate, that relationship will likely never happen. Segregating the businesses entirely and then offering a solid referral partner relationship – in writing – goes a long way towards making them feel safe that you won’t be stealing their future sales.
Do you want more leads in the future? or more money now? It’s something you will have to decide.
6. Advertising You Do Real Estate May Not Be Necessary
If you are primarily a property manager that also does real estate then you may not need to shout it from the rooftops that you can buy or sell property. Think about this…
If the majority of your real estate deals come from existing property management clients, then you simply need to get more property management clients.
That’s right! Amazing right? Funnel in more property management deals and you will naturally have more real estate deals.
How the Problem Happens
Coupling real estate with property management is a common pitfall. Lets figure out how this happens and take a quick look at why…
A. You Property Management Firm is Just Old
When I work with property management companies that have been around a long time, like say 20 years, they often have “Real Estate” at the end of their name, even if they don’t do real estate. Why? Because “property management” as a category didn’t really exist back then. It was just a service that a real-estate-oriented company took care of back then.
B. You Are a Real Estate Agency Branching Out Into Property Management
I get calls all the time from brokers/realtors that want to get into property management, or that have dabbled in it for a while and now want to actually make it a focus. My usual recommendation is to start a new company/brand.
C. You Do Property Management & Your Clients Want You To Sell Their Rental Property (Or Find Them Another One)
Maybe you have a younger firm and started doing property management and the temptation of moving into real estate sales was just too great. After all why leave money on the table when you already have your broker’s license and can help your client buy or sell a property. It’s a big commission right? I usually recommend they keep it on the down-low so as to not harm their brand or start another company.
Fixing Your Branding
If your company currently couples Real Estate with Property Management you might want to consider some branding consultation. Re-branding is a bitter pill to swallow, but the benefits, especially in the long-run, could mean several hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many companies fail in the first 5 years and a secret/silent killer is poor branding. Even after a business fails they may never contribute their issues in part to choosing the wrong colors, bad logo design, or to a poor name choice. You may be losing money right now due to branding issues that you are blind to and I would be glad to show you how.
What are your thoughts on Real Estate & Property Management? Are they a match made in heaven for you or a challenge? Are you like A, B, or C above? Let us know in the comments.