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    Group 9977


    A Podcast | DD Lee

    Pete Neubig: [00:00:00] Welcome back, everybody. And as promised, I actually have DD Lee here, the property manager extraordinaire from Georgia, uh, in the studio today. So DD, thanks so much for being here today.

    DD Lee: [00:00:20] Thank you so much for having me, Pete.

    Pete Neubig: [00:00:21] All right. So you, uh, are now we're in we're in 2024, and you are now the treasurer of NARPM on the national board. So you've been given a lot back. You've been you've given a lot back to NARPM. So tell us kind of your NARPM journey and why do you continuously why do you continue to give back to NARPM?

    DD Lee: [00:00:43] That's a great question, Pete. Um, I actually whenever someone says giving back to NARPM like to me, I'm still receiving. Right. So, um, when I first joined, NARPM was 2012 a little bit too late in my opinion, because I had already started my business two years into it. Right. All right.

    Pete Neubig: [00:01:04] So you found NARPM kind of late, uh, as a PM.

    DD Lee: [00:01:06] Almost two years after I started my business and I had almost 100 properties, um, by then. So I found NARPM by attending, um, a Robert Locke class. He did, like, a series on property management, and, uh, that class scared the crap out of me because he talked about trust, accounting, talked about, you know, um, fair housing issues. And.

    Pete Neubig: [00:01:33] Wait, I'm not supposed to mix money together.

    DD Lee: [00:01:37] We're not going to talk about that. But I was sitting in the class, um, thinking, oh, I'm going to go to jail. Like, if, you know, if I don't change my business, if I don't change the way I do my business. And so at the end of the class, Robert said, um, you know, if you want to continue to be a property manager and do well in this business, you need to join NARPM. And I immediately signed up for an album right then and there. Smart move. Um, so then I go to my first chapter meeting and it's the Atlanta chapter, which, uh, is was uh, got the large chapter of the year last year in 2023. And people were so welcoming. Right. And there's this lady named Rachael Runyan who I started talking to. She was manning the reception chair or the table. Um, and I, I talked to Rachael and she was. She was like, hey, DD, would you like to be my co-chair for membership? And keep in mind, this is my very first.

    Pete Neubig: [00:02:45] first event, Yeah.

    DD Lee: [00:02:46] Walked up to her. I've registration desk, had like a ten minute conversation. She asked me that and instinctively I said yes. And I haven't stopped saying yes since, so you know. And the yeses led me from co membership chair to, um, secretary of the chapter to president elect, then president of the Atlanta chapter. And after that, in my mind, I was like, I'm done. I'm done volunteering. I need to, you know, do some other stuff. And then someone asked me, hey, why don't you apply to become a regional vice president our VP? And I just don't know how to say no, I guess when it comes to NARPM. So, um, a couple years later, here I am as treasurer, and I have not. I have no regret.

    Pete Neubig: [00:03:35] So what has been the impact on your business and on you personally by saying yes and going out of your comfort zone?

    DD Lee: [00:03:42] I think it has sped up my, um, learning curve in the property management business. And I say that because, like, you get so much information going to classes and attending conference workshops. Um, but for me, like the real depth of the knowledge comes from talking to people like you, you know, talking to, um, other colleagues that I met through volunteering because you spend a lot of time together. When you volunteer, you sit in board meetings. I mean, the board meetings are you talk about business, but then there's also side conversations before and after, and then you're talking like, hey, I just implemented this new program, right? This service, and here's how I did it. And let me show you on my laptop what it looks like. I mean, you don't you don't get that opportunity otherwise.

    Pete Neubig: [00:04:30] Right. And you just build those deeper relationships, right? I mean, I am sure that you have a bunch of people in your Rolodex that if anything ever happened, you can call. And most somebody in your Rolodex has had that issue or challenge that you've, that you're facing.

    DD Lee: [00:04:45] And when you're on that kind of a friendship level with somebody, they're not. Um, so they don't hold back a lot on sharing. I mean, I'm sitting in your house right now, right? We're a perfect example. That is.

    Pete Neubig: [00:04:59] Right. Your friendships become...

    DD Lee: [00:05:02] Yeah.

    Pete Neubig: [00:05:02] Become they transcend the property management. Right. As we're as we're recording, this DD is getting ready to do her second marathon in a couple of days. We're recording this in January of 2024. So good luck on your on your marathon.

    DD Lee: [00:05:18] You've been a big supporter.

    Pete Neubig: [00:05:19] And that's how that like so there's a subgroup of us that meet at conferences and we get up early in the morning. I'm sure there's a subgroup that stay late at night. Right. And then as a group that's the healthier group, I think some of them are in both groups. Both groups. Yeah. Shout out to Paul Kankowski. Yeah. All right. And so yeah. And so we we've bonded over NARPM and then we've, we've created that friendship through now running and. Yeah. And now we've, we've, you know, I mean I was in Georgia last year spending time with, with you and Richie and now you're here and, uh, that's the greatest thing about NARPM to me, is it really is the relationships. When you ask people like, why join NARPM, the first thing they say, they don't say the classes, the conferences, the vendors, they say the relationships. And it truly is amazing. So, you know, we'll shout out if you're not a NARPM member, you listen to this, you need to join NARPM. But okay, so, you know, it's an NARPM podcast and I talk about NARPM, but let's, let's, let's get let's get some some meat potatoes here. All right. So I've seen you speak a few times and a lot of, a lot of the stuff that you speak on that you seem to be passionate about is a hiring process and hiring the right people and putting them in the right seats. So before we talk about your process and how you kind of disseminate that, why are you so passionate about that, that that topic?

    DD Lee: [00:06:39] Well, um, I learned as is my business grew that what makes a business successful is its people. And you know it. In the property management industry, I think, is really difficult to find the right people who will stay for a long time. Um, like minimizing churn has been an obsession of mine. Right. And, um, I always treated my staff like family. Um, but then you learn through the process like, it's not it's not always about cheering for them and celebrating everything and, you know, babying your staff because that doesn't work either. Yep. Um, and so trying to find the right balance of, you know, how to hire the right talent. And then after you find the talent, how do you properly manage them, um, and keep them and.

    Pete Neubig: [00:07:31] Nurture them.

    DD Lee: [00:07:32] And nurture them, I mean, it is a science when you talk, you and I talk about process and. Science all the time. I think hiring and retaining talent is a is another science.

    Pete Neubig: [00:07:44] I was just listening to a podcast and there was this guy on here and I forget his name, but he was a billionaire. And the one thing that he said that really resonated with me because he said a lot of incredible things, because anybody that's worth that kind of money, whenever they speak, you just get a pen and paper out. But he was so proud of the staff that he had, and most of his staff was with him for like over 17 to like 25 years. And he said he said, I do everything I can to make sure I find the right people and that I treat them, treat them really well, right? And not not baby them, but treat them well. And he goes, because when, when you're especially if you're starting out, every time somebody leaves, it's almost like starting another business, especially when you're a smaller business. And he goes, look, this lady, you know, Fran's been here for 25 years. She knows her job better than anybody. If she when she if she leaves, we literally have to go find somebody to. And then she takes 25 years of knowledge away with her. So if you can find the right people and they stay with you forever, like, for, for a long time because they're super happy where they are. Because a lot of our, a lot of entrepreneurs believe that everybody wants to be an entrepreneur. And that is not true. Most people want a paycheck every two weeks. Guaranteed paycheck. Right? They don't want to be you. They don't want to be the guy, and they don't want to make all that money either. They don't want to put the risk. They don't want to. They don't. And they don't want the reward. They want their paycheck. And so if you can. So people will if people stay, the longer they stay, the more the less chaotic your business is.

    DD Lee: [00:09:21] And, you know, tell my entrepreneurs, if you are an entrepreneur, you want to enjoy the freedom, right, of not being in your business all the time, because entrepreneurs need time to work on the business, to maybe work on other businesses, right? Other ventures…

    Pete Neubig: [00:09:38] The business becomes like a shackle in a way.

    DD Lee: [00:09:42] And you you can't do that without having the right people in place that you can trust, that know, know how to do their job without you being there all the time.

    Pete Neubig: [00:09:50] All right. So let's talk about how we find those people. Right. Um, and we'll talk about state side VA side as we kind of go through the process. But so. Property management. Right now the big fad going on is automation, right? Lead simple shout out to to Jordan and and the team over there. Uh they they have a great product. And so right now everybody what I find with NARPM especially is everybody joins the next fad. Right. And so automation is really good. But automation right now we're automating our operational processes. So people are really into their operational processes. Right. And kind of getting lost in that is a process for hiring. And people don't have a process. So let's let's talk about, you know, when you owned Skyline, let's talk about your process there and, and how that helped you get the right people in the right seats. Sure.

    DD Lee: [00:10:45] So I learned that, um, before you before I hired, I had to know myself first. Right. It's like I always compare hiring somebody to dating somebody.. Right. Like, you can go out there and find people to date, but if you don't know what you're looking for, you're just going to keep looking and looking and you'll never find the right person. So first know yourself as a business who you are. And what I mean by that is company values. You know, like I went through an exercise and I did this after going to a NARPM conference and I heard it was Duke Dotson and Tim Wagner. Gave a great talk on, um, company values. Right. What are your core values? Uh, your vision, your mission statement from that workshop. I developed mine, and it's like a list of words that I associate my companies, my, my company with. So for an example, for example, where hardworking, we embrace change, we embrace technology. These are some of my company values. Um, so once I understood what my values were then um, then I looked at what positions.

    Pete Neubig: [00:12:01] Now, how did you come up with those? Did you sit in a room by yourself and kind of think what my values are and what I want them to be in a business? Did you have a leadership team at that time? Like what was the exercise behind that?.

    DD Lee: [00:12:11] Yes, Um, I took the people that I had in my company at the time and I say, hey, guys, let's put the whiteboard, put this on a whiteboard. What's what what do you think should be important for our business? Right?

    Pete Neubig: [00:12:22] Okay. So so basically you just had you just kind of threw a bunch of stuff up and you said which ones resonate with with us as the leadership team, and then we're going to disseminate that down. Okay.

    DD Lee: [00:12:33] Everybody, you know, after that that we brought in. Had to be in line with our values.

    Pete Neubig: [00:12:38] Let me ask you. Because you. What about the people that were there already? What if. What if I don't know if this happened? But if you create the core values, did you notice that there was some people that were in your company that didn't embody those core values?.

    DD Lee: [00:12:50] They all helped to put these values.

    Pete Neubig: [00:12:50]. So you had everybody in the company.

    DD Lee: [00:12:52] At that time.

    Pete Neubig: [00:12:53] Oh, at that time, you know, your leadership team was basically everybody okay? Yeah.

    DD Lee: [00:12:56] So they they were all um, they all agreed to it. But you make a good point is you that we kept those values up on the wall at at all times. Anybody that came into our office, whether it's a vendor, whether it's a client, you know, somebody coming in to interview, they could see our values on the wall. And any time we came across a difficult question like, does this person belong or.

    Pete Neubig: [00:13:22] Let the values be your guide.

    DD Lee: [00:13:24] Let's go look at the values and let that be. Yeah. And if it's a question like should we fire this client, you know, is this, um, how do we make this decision? We go back to the values and it will give us the answer every single time.

    Pete Neubig: [00:13:38] Awesome. So knowing yourself is basically knowing your values and your vision and your mission. But values is probably the most important when you're looking for people in that. Right? Correct. The vision basically. Basically you're sharing the vision with potential candidates on where you are and where you're going. Why is that important?

    DD Lee: [00:13:56] So to me, I, I always make sure this, this is something I do with every person that comes to interview is I want you to know where this company is going. Right. And how we see ourselves. Years down the road.

    Pete Neubig: [00:14:12] And do you do like a ten year kind of: This is our forward thinking.

    DD Lee: [00:14:14] This is who we want to be. Okay. Um, and it gets them excited. It's like we're not going to stop working on whatever we're working on until we get to that vision. Right? So I think our vision let's the applicant know that we're not just like they're not just here to do one mundane job, like there is a bigger goal out there that we're all working towards. And I think that that puts some passion in people. Like a lot of young people nowadays, they're not looking for just a job like a 9 - 5, 9 to 5. They want to feel like they're making a difference.

    Pete Neubig: [00:14:53] They want to impact. They want to they want to have they want to impact whether it's impacting the community, impacting, you know, your clients, whatever it is, they want to feel impact.

    DD Lee: [00:15:01] So whatever the vision, right, is, um, that your listeners are working on, make sure it's inspirational, make sure it's it's a big it's like it has to be a big dream, right? It has to be big.

    Pete Neubig: [00:15:13] Agreed and it can't be like the vision can't be to make the make the owners of the company $1 million. Right. That doesn't get anybody super charged up except for the owner of the company. Let that be your own personal vision. But the vision of the company could be something like, you know, we're going to be in six markets, right? Or we're going to be all over in your case, Georgia, or we're going to be in the southeast, right? It could be something as big, or it could just be like, we're going to own we're going to manage 15,000 properties in the Atlanta metro area. It could be it could be that big. It could be, it could be anything. But you're right. If you're not, if you don't share that vision, um, it doesn't get people excited and then you don't get the best candidates potentially. Okay. All right. So now I know my vision. I got my mission statement. I got my core values. So now I know myself. All right. Now what's the next step.

    DD Lee: [00:16:00] Then you have to find out what seats on the bus. Right is vacant. Right. What seats do you need? Okay.

    Pete Neubig: [00:16:08] So how do I go about that? How do I even know what seats are vacant?

    DD Lee: [00:16:13] Um, so the way I did it and other people might not do it the same way, but I took the task, set the tasks that I hated the most. Okay? And I created a job positions for those tasks first. This is when I was, you know, I started my business by myself, grew organically, never acquired anybody, and hired one person at a time. And so I started with like.

    Pete Neubig: [00:16:39] Which is the majority of folks listening to this. Right. That's that's kind of the deal.

    DD Lee: [00:16:42] Yeah. So for me, um, the things I hate the most are like the mundane admin tasks. So I created a job position for that. And the way I, uh, created that job position was writing down all my day to day tasks that I didn't like that involve, you know, updating records and paperwork.

    Pete Neubig: [00:17:04] Almost doing, like, a diary, like, oh, these are the things I do. Don't like this. All right. This is going to be on that. Yes. Now quick. Interesting. Did you find that most of the tasks you didn't like were the same kind of profile type, personality type? Yeah, that's what I thought.

    DD Lee: [00:17:18] Okay. So all the admin related tasks are.

    Pete Neubig: [00:17:21] All like what C's high.

    DD Lee: [00:17:23] C. High C.

    Pete Neubig: [00:17:24] Yeah yeah. And you're a I'm guessing a high I, I'm.

    DD Lee: [00:17:27] A I'd.

    Pete Neubig: [00:17:28] Id or di or you di or ID.

    DD Lee: [00:17:31] Switch on and off.

    Pete Neubig: [00:17:32] Depending.

    DD Lee: [00:17:33] On depending.

    Pete Neubig: [00:17:34] On whom and the situation. Correct. All right. All right. So if you're not if you're not understanding what we're talking about, we're talking about personality profile disc. DISC is the personality type I. If you're not familiar I highly recommend there's lots of personality types out there. So that's not the only one. But for me, I've been using it for 20 years. It's easy to to understand and it gets it's enough to get the job done. As you get more mature as a company and you have leadership team, you might want to use Myers-Briggs or other other.

    DD Lee: [00:18:03] Avenues and.

    Pete Neubig: [00:18:04] Other culture index, something like that. But for hiring, I found that disc is works really well.

    DD Lee: [00:18:09] Yeah, I agree it's super simple to understand, super simple to use, and it's very effective, right, when it comes to hiring.

    Pete Neubig: [00:18:17] Yeah. So disc will tell you also like how you communicate with other people in that are not the same as you. So if you meet somebody right away and you like them right away, you have that instant like I like you. Most likely you're the same disc profile, right? If somebody's like, I'm not really crazy about this person right away, it's most likely that the opposite side of the disc. Right? So, um, you have to know what your disc is, so you have to know, you know, how to communicate. And then more importantly, though, you have to know what the jobs disc is. And I think a lot of people miss that. Right. So how do you determine what the jobs disc is like? Do you just determine like okay, based on these details or these these bullet points of the job description? So you have to get super detailed about your job description and you put in like what the personality profile type is for that.

    DD Lee: [00:19:00] But like you said, it becomes super clear what kind of personality would be good to do that job. Right. But to take the guesswork. Out of it for your audience is like, there's a couple of positions in a property management business that's very common. So you have the admin assistant, somebody that needs to update records, you know, do maybe do your leases, things like that. They have to be very detail oriented. So I would always say the C type. But then if they're also interacting with your tenants, you want them to also have some S, which is, you know, the S is are very diplomatic, um, customer service oriented people. Yep. So there is that that's a great combination. Like and then going back to knowing yourself, like knowing your own personality type is also very important.

    Pete Neubig: [00:19:53] You also know by your personality type what jobs you're not good at. Exactly. Right. Exactly.

    DD Lee: [00:19:58] So because I'm a D -I, I know I needed CS, right? So I it's funny because my company ended up like most of my staff members were CS.

    Pete Neubig: [00:20:09] That makes sense, because you're going to have most of the job roles inside of property management are going to be some type of C and an S, right.

    DD Lee: [00:20:17] Like maintenance coordinator. They have to be.

    Pete Neubig: [00:20:20] Maintenance coordinator, resident relations, uh, tenant, uh tenant um, move in, move in, specialist move out. Specialist. Right. Accounting is going to be high C right. Yep. Yeah. Because you don't want too many high D's in in the organization 1D, 1D to many C's. Right.

    DD Lee: [00:20:39] Wendy. Um and your your your salesperson high I high I right.

    Pete Neubig: [00:20:43] Okay. So once you get so obviously if you're not a if you're not speaking disc, you're like what the hell. Let's me fast forward. But once you it's not it's not very difficult to learn once you get understand that. By the way um, I have 50 plus job descriptions on And every job description has a recommended disc, uh, underneath it with recommended KPIs. So if you go to, you can see all these roles that that are talking about.

    DD Lee: [00:21:11] I wish you were around when I was doing all this myself, to be honest.

    Pete Neubig: [00:21:14] All right. So, um, the job description, also when you write it down, um, I'm a big fan of it has to be super detailed because to me that's the rules of the game. Absolutely right. So like, you know, having one bullet point that says call residents or answer phone and then all other duties assigned by management, that's that's super vague. And it's not going to help you get what you, what you're looking for. Right?. So now I have the job description. What's what's the next step. So I got my my culture I got my core values I got the vision I got the job description. Uh what's next.

    DD Lee: [00:21:50] Okay. So something I always do, um, before I post the job ad is you got to know how much. What's the competitive pay? Yep. Right.

    Pete Neubig: [00:21:59] What's the what are we going to pay him?

    DD Lee: [00:22:01] Yeah. What are you going to pay them? So, um, before, you know, there were was data available or tools I would just go around my NARPM friends. You're like, what are you paying? What are you paying for? Your maintenance coordinator. What's the going rate? And it's always my belief, um, to pay a little better than the market rate for the right person.

    Pete Neubig: [00:22:23] I like that idea. Yeah.

    DD Lee: [00:22:25] You want. So I actually read.

    Pete Neubig: [00:22:27] Do you do that off the off the cuff or do you do it after 90 days? You give them like a bump. Like, do you give them a bump?

    DD Lee: [00:22:31] I give them a bump

    Pete Neubig: [00:22:32] You give them a bump so.

    DD Lee: [00:22:33] You dangle like a carrot.

    Pete Neubig: [00:22:34] So you hire them at market rate in 90 days, they get a bump above market rate.

    DD Lee: [00:22:38] Or so I and I also not averse to hiring somebody who does not have, uh, insurance, uh, experience because.

    Pete Neubig: [00:22:46] I hated hiring people experience. I did, but tell me why. I'll tell you. I'll tell you mine when you tell me yours. Right?

    DD Lee: [00:22:53] Yeah. Because, um, I, I know that I probably do things a little bit differently from everyone else. Yeah. Um, even though a lot of the, you know, programs and vendors that I use are similar to others in the industry, my processes are different, like they were mine. And so I always found it like if someone came from another company, they.

    Pete Neubig: [00:23:16] Especially multifamily, they, they think it's apples to apples and it's not.

    DD Lee: [00:23:20] It's so hard to change their habit and their behavior.

    Pete Neubig: [00:23:23] Old dog new tricks.

    DD Lee: [00:23:24] Yes. And then the inexperienced people are, are also a little bit more motivated and passionate because they're new, right. And they're excited by this new opportunity.

    Pete Neubig: [00:23:34] And they're only learning the way you teach.

    DD Lee: [00:23:36] Them. Exactly. And they're more, um, willing to learn.

    Pete Neubig: [00:23:40] They don't have a case of the I Knows. Yeah, right. The two worst worst words in the English language. I know. Right. Because then when you say that, your brain shuts off and you're not learning anymore. So 100% agree. Not a big fan. I have clients all the time. They're like, I need somebody with, you know, five years experience. I'm like, why do you not know how to do your job? Like if you're a property manager and you sat in all the seats, you know how to do it. You train them and you teach them. You're literally looking for somebody just to to to abdicate. You're looking to abdicate instead of delegate what it is, take over. Right. So I'm not I'm not a big fan. They, um, too many times I've hired somebody with experience that didn't work out, and I hired the right person. Core values put them in the right seat. Disc profile, gave them the rules of the game, gave them training, and they they prospered.

    DD Lee: [00:24:26] Training is so, so big. So one more thing I do before I hire somebody.

    Pete Neubig: [00:24:31] So anyway, you said back in the day you had to ask your NARPM friends, how do you go find it now? How do you know what to pay people now?

    DD Lee: [00:24:38] Um, well, there's data out there, right. Um, companies like yours, um, I know you have data, right? There's like national. Average. Yeah.

    Pete Neubig: [00:24:49] So instead of asking all the people you call me now, are you?

    DD Lee: [00:24:52] Well, ChatGPT. Chatgpt. Yeah, but I don't know how accurate that is. I don't know.

    Pete Neubig: [00:24:57] It's still hard, especially stateside people. It's it's still pretty hard to find, like a maintenance coordinator stateside. What do you pay them? Right. I think a lot of people are starting to still throwing darts. And it's also hard on the VA side of things. But as I collect data, you just reach out to me and I'm like, oh, this is the average on the platform. This is the average per country, this is the average per, you know, so we're gathering that data. So it makes things a little bit easier.

    DD Lee: [00:25:19] It's amazing. Again, where were you when I was doing this? Um, but I read a book recently and I thought it was pretty clever is when you hire, you let the applicant tell you how much they think they're worth.

    Pete Neubig: [00:25:32] I love that. Idea.

    DD Lee: [00:25:32] Yes. And if they're a great, qualified candidate, you give them what they think they're worth.

    Pete Neubig: [00:25:40] And then a lot of times it's less than what you were going to pay them.

    DD Lee: [00:25:43] Exactly.

    Pete Neubig: [00:25:44] Right. Yeah.

    DD Lee: [00:25:45] But when you do that, it shows them that you believe in them and believe it or not, psychologically it works to to your benefit because they're going to live up to that worth.

    Pete Neubig: [00:25:55] Yeah. I'm going to give a shout out to my partner Ross. We he just did this last week with all of the new salespeople we hired. What do you want to make? And then we backed we we kind of back revved it so that we can get them what they want to make based on not just salary, but also some bonuses. Some bonus stuff is in there because obviously it's in sales. But I love I love that idea.

    DD Lee: [00:26:18] And if they say a number that's a little too high for you, you can say, I will give you that. Before I give you that, you have to do this training, you know, do.

    Pete Neubig: [00:26:27] This, prove yourself and then.

    DD Lee: [00:26:29] Prove these metrics. Then you're going to get that pay. Yep.

    Pete Neubig: [00:26:32] All right. So now now you've, uh, you've put your ad out there and you're getting some applications. Um, is there anything that you look for or do before you interview because you don't want to waste your time interviewing like 6000 people, right. So, um, are there any kind of like, I call it red tape that you have people do to see if they see if they're going to follow through? So what do you do?

    DD Lee: [00:26:54] Um, so obviously you look for grammar like spelling mistakes in their resume. Right. Okay.

    Pete Neubig: [00:27:02] Um, even for your VAs that, that it's second, third language.

    DD Lee: [00:27:05] It depends on what they're applying for. Like if their job requires them to.

    Pete Neubig: [00:27:09] Requires detail. Yeah.

    DD Lee: [00:27:10] If it requires that they communicate with your tenants or maybe sometimes your owners, you want to make sure that their communication comes across as intelligent. Um, because guess what? The most intelligent people, if they misspell like, I know this person, um, a friend of mine who is so smart, but she has a spelling problem. I don't know what it is, she just can't spell and everyone writes her off as. Being dumb right. But in fact, she's a very smart person. So it's very, very important to me that they have.

    Pete Neubig: [00:27:45] You know, well the fact that they can't throw, throw, throw, throw a word check. Right. Spell check. Yeah. Right. Like, you know, I mean, like, if it's your resume, it's not it's not just a, a letter to an editor or a letter to whatever. It's it's. Yeah. Okay. So I get that. So that's the first thing you're looking at. Um, do you look at like, um, let's talk remote side on the remote side I guess. Do you send them an English test or a like you have to give you a video because you want to make sure that they can.

    DD Lee: [00:28:12] Um, we if they had a video, we would ask for it. If they didn't, we would schedule a phone call with them.

    Pete Neubig: [00:28:18] Really? I would recommend you just have them send you a video first because the phone call is what? It's an interview.

    DD Lee: [00:28:24] I agree it would be a waste.

    Pete Neubig: [00:28:26] I don't want I don't want to waste their time either.

    DD Lee: [00:28:28] Yeah. Um, now for sure. I think it's becoming more and more common, um, to have videos already attached to their resume. Right? Especially if they're remote.

    Pete Neubig: [00:28:39] What about, uh, okay. Yeah. What about locally? Like, so if you're going to hire somebody, you know, in the US, like in Atlanta, come to the office, you know, obviously, you know, you don't want to hire, you don't want to interview 25 people. Um, what are some of the some of the things that you have them do prior? Do you have obviously disc test might be one. Yeah.

    DD Lee: [00:28:57] So we scrub through their resume. Um, if everything on their resume looks like they have the right skills, maybe some experience, right background, you can. It's almost funny. Like if you look at a resume, you look at a person's prior work history, even if they've never worked in property management, you could guess what their personality is.

    Pete Neubig: [00:29:18] Yeah. If they happen every six months, they're that too. Yeah. Right. That's that's that's a red flag.

    DD Lee: [00:29:23] Yeah. And someone who's you know, if you're hiring a admin assistant and they love office work, then maybe that's the right person. So then the next thing we do is we send them the disc profile test. Okay. Like, hey, we like your resume.

    Pete Neubig: [00:29:37] And there's going to be a fair there's going to be a percentage of people that don't fill it out. Yeah.

    DD Lee: [00:29:41] That's it's an automatic. Like they weed themselves out for that. Um, and then we looked at, you know, how prompt they are at getting the test back to us, how responsive they are to our email communication and all of that indication of how how this person will be right when they work for you. Sure. Um,

    Pete Neubig: [00:30:02] Especially If you're looking for Cs right. Yeah. Maybe they're a little chaotic.

    DD Lee: [00:30:07] There's there's a test that I do, um, where like, we'll have them do the disc profile test, and then we won't say anything to see how they follow up. So I had one lady we were hiring for an HR manager at that time and, you know, an HOA management. It's all about follow up, right? You got to follow up with the vendors. You got to follow up with the homeowners. And she was a right candidate. But I just purposely waited to get back to her. And then she followed up relentlessly. Hi. It's me again. You know, I know that it's been two days since you've had my test. Can you please let me know and answer like she did that every single day, right, person? Yeah.

    Pete Neubig: [00:30:50] So the right person then?

    DD Lee: [00:30:51] Yeah. Very relentless.

    Pete Neubig: [00:30:53] All right. So now on the interview, do you, uh, do you have a format that you use? I won't get an interview questions for time, but but do you have a format that you use?

    DD Lee: [00:31:02] So, um, because we do a lot of screening, you know, and the disc profile tests by the time. And then we also do a phone interview before they actually sit in front of me. Um, so by the time they sit down, we know that we want this person to work for us. So really, the interview is just like the last step. And, um, we we spent most of the interview telling them about who we are, you know, like, what core values.

    Pete Neubig: [00:31:31] Vision.

    DD Lee: [00:31:31] Mission. Exactly. And just see if they're if the light in their eyes come on. Like, do they have this great smile on their face? Are they like, just, you know, sitting at the edge of their seat, anxious to work for you? Like, I want that person.

    Pete Neubig: [00:31:46] You know, it's funny, I did the same thing. I used to do group interviews back in the day. I don't do them any more. And I'd have five, six, eight people and I'd do this. The first part of the interview, it was a four hour interview, and the first part interview was just us talking about ourselves. And we would say, we're going to take a break. If anybody wants to leave, you can leave. And I've had 1 or 2 people decide to get up and leave, and I was okay with that because I don't want to waste my time or their time. And then the second part of the interview, we interview the candidates. It's interesting what people say when there's other candidates around. That was interesting. Um, yeah. My business coach had us do that. But so do you do the same thing? Do you offer them to like, hey, this is us, all right? Do you do you want to move on?

    DD Lee: [00:32:26] You can see in the body language if they're excited or not.

    Pete Neubig: [00:32:30] Okay.

    DD Lee: [00:32:30] Right. And that's that's one of the things you can get from somebody in person than.

    Pete Neubig: [00:32:37] Hard to do on video or over the phone. Okay.

    DD Lee: [00:32:40] Yeah. But I really just look, look for that. I want someone to say. So the key is hiring. Someone who has talent versus someone who's just looking for.

    Pete Neubig: [00:32:51] A job.

    DD Lee: [00:32:52] A paycheck. Yeah, there's a huge difference. Um, I've never hired someone who is just motivated by money through this method. Like people who I who come and work for me, they really want to make a difference, right? They really just they have a desire to do a good job.

    Pete Neubig: [00:33:09] It's not salespeople, too. Or do you want your salespeople motivated by money that's a.

    DD Lee: [00:33:13] Little bit different.

    Pete Neubig: [00:33:13] Okay, yeah.

    DD Lee: [00:33:14] The salesperson has to be motivated by numbers and money.

    Pete Neubig: [00:33:18] Yeah, that's what I thought. All right, all right. So, um, not getting I don't want to get too much into it again. Um, so now you hire them now. All right. What do you do next? Like, you know, you have your onboarding, like, you have your hey, we're onboard you. But like, how what's your what was your training like? How high level. What was your training like?

    DD Lee: [00:33:37] Um, I learned this the hard way, but I started doing it a little bit later in business. Right? Is before I hired anyone, I made sure that the training was there before someone sat in a seat. Okay. Because in the past, I would hire someone for a position, and then I would just train them on the spot, like as we went.

    Pete Neubig: [00:33:58] Monkey see, monkey do type stuff, right? Yeah.

    DD Lee: [00:34:01] And that that didn't work. So having, um. You mean you talk about process automation, all of that. If you already have that in place, it's going to make your training so much easier because you see somebody now, like, for example, if all of your all of your processes are in lead, simple. Um, it it helps reduce human error and it helps to make the training easy because it literally tells them step by step what what comes next? What do you have to do next. And it gives them all the forms tools, right, that they need for that step. So if I were to start over and do my business all over, I would have all of my processes in and that.

    Pete Neubig: [00:34:41] That's where that's like utopia, right? Let's be honest. So what happens in reality is that you're, uh, you need to hire somebody. You're so busy that you you say, you know what? I'm not going to hire somebody until I have the training. Until I have this this this systems manual created. You never get around to it. You never hire the person. So what I tell people is like, look, if you have the job description, you know, the job description, hire them and then do the monkey see, monkey do where you're you're training them, which makes life a little bit more difficult for you. Short turn. Um, but then let them build the manual. And now for the next person. You have it so good, right? So. So don't don't be don't be reluctant to hire somebody because you don't have the training if you can, if you have the training, even better. Yeah.

    DD Lee: [00:35:27] So if you don't have the process automation built in which like you said, it's utopia, right? Um, the process is, I tell you, right? I show you how to do, then we do together, then you do, I watch and then then you do on your own. So and then.

    Pete Neubig: [00:35:44] You own the process and you can manipulate and modify the process. I tell everybody it works for me. You. Once you own the process, you own it. I own the policy. You don't change policy, but you can change process. And if you change a process and something gets messed up, I don't care because you took ownership. Like I'm going to tell you why it broke and we're going to go revert back. But I don't get mad because I'm like, man, matter of fact, I'm like happy. I'm like, man, that's somebody that owns that process. And what's cool is if you listen to this and you're kind of portfolio based and somebody's working and you have to hire them to do like three jobs, right? Well, I only have 50 doors, so they have to do lease renewals and maintenance tickets and turns and content. They have to do everything right. Um, it gets easier as you get bigger and these jobs become more siloed, knowing exactly what they do, creating a KPIs for them and them owning the process, it gets easier. It's hard for somebody to own a process when they own seven processes and they have 56 KPIs like it just it just doesn't work. So so in this case, bigger actually is easier. And I've heard that like ten x is easier than two x. I'm like, no, that doesn't sound right. It sounds like it's ten times harder than two, right? So, uh, so yeah. So, so I like the training thing. How do you keep your people? Like, how do you just keep them so they stay long? Terme what are some, some of the things that you guys did at Skyline?

    DD Lee: [00:37:02] Oh, man. Um, culture. Right. You talk about company culture. Like what? What even is that? Um, I think for Skyline it was. So you have some words that you associate your culture with. For us it was support and collaboration. Um, what that means and clarify like so if those are the only three words we we allow in the company. Um, for our actions and our words. So like, if you did something wrong, Pete, and I'm like, why did Pete do that? Like, instead of getting angry at you and blaming you for messing up a job, I'm going to come to you and say, hey, Pete, I noticed this happen. Can you explain what happened? That's clarifying. Right? So respect.

    Pete Neubig: [00:37:50] So stop from the don't ask the why questions and put people in a corner and and back there.

    DD Lee: [00:37:55] Always seek for clarification instead of blaming and accusing like that's the basic respect right. So you have to give employees respect. Um, if you respect them they're going to respect you. And they're also going to carry that respect to your clients and your tenants. Um, we we do not we did not allow any other type of language like kind of words to be used. Um, and then outside of that, you can't like one of our values was have fun. So I made sure that there was enough fun that we do every single day, every single week, every single month and quarter. Um, food. You know, I like for me, having good food was important to me. So I actually put.

    Pete Neubig: [00:38:40] That she's really digging in on me because she knows I'm on a diet right now, as we are, as, uh, as we're as we're recording this. So it's like, really dangling that food in front of, like, you have cookies and stuff that he can't eat. That's not fun for some of your people. Just saying. The ones that are on diet, that's not fun. But you know. Yeah.

    DD Lee: [00:38:57] But food is actually something I talk about in the interview process. And when they hear that, like, their eyes light up, like you're the right person for our company because you like food, oh.

    Pete Neubig: [00:39:06] You're not money motivated. You're food motivated. You don't like food. Sounds like my dog.

    DD Lee: [00:39:12] It's true. And so I would buy like, you know, the factor meals. Yep. Sure do. Yep. I was stocked the fridge with meals like that.

    Pete Neubig: [00:39:21] And then just go in and just pull whatever they want.

    DD Lee: [00:39:23] Come in the office.

    Pete Neubig: [00:39:23] And that's a great idea.

    DD Lee: [00:39:25] And it didn't cost me but like 12 bucks a meal, you know. But it was just like little things like that, right? We always had games in the office. Um, every Friday we would do a team lunch out. Every quarter we would do like a huge activity where we would spend.

    Pete Neubig: [00:39:41] You shut the office down half the day.

    DD Lee: [00:39:42] Half a day. We would go out and have fun. Once a year we would take a trip like, you know, a couple years. We did a cabin up in the Georgia North Georgia mountains. We brought in a chef, uh, you know, catered.

    Pete Neubig: [00:39:57] That is awesome.

    DD Lee: [00:39:57] Then we did fun stuff, and then we did half a day of training or some. We brought in, like a business coach one time and did a motivational thing. So these are the things that we did. And people always look forward to something fun because every day in property management is a grind. It's not it's not fun. But then they have something to look forward to.

    Pete Neubig: [00:40:18] I got it. Awesome. Well, we're going to hit a commercial break. And on the other side of the break DD we're going to put you on the show The Lightning Round. Okay. Are you ready? Yeah. All right. We'll be right back everybody.

    Pete Neubig: [00:40:30] Welcome back. Everybody DD is on the hot seat. The lightning round. Are you ready?

    DD Lee: [00:40:39] I don't know.

    Pete Neubig: [00:40:40] What is one of the stupidest things you did when you started your business.

    DD Lee: [00:40:48] Probably, um, not learning how to do trust accounting correctly.

    Pete Neubig: [00:40:50] Co-mingling funds anybody? Uh, well PM software, did you use

    DD Lee: [00:40:51] Buildium

    Pete Neubig: [00:40:54] What was your current org structure?

    DD Lee: [00:41:02] Um, so departmental.

    Pete Neubig: [00:41:04] Departmental.

    DD Lee: [00:41:05] I had um accounting maintenance person, um, leasing receptionists was.

    Pete Neubig: [00:41:12] And was your portfolio managers do owner owner coms.

    DD Lee: [00:41:16] Um, so we actually got rid of like.

    Pete Neubig: [00:41:19] Oh like true departmental.

    DD Lee: [00:41:20] Yeah. We got rid of even like an individual property manager.

    Pete Neubig: [00:41:24] Okay. That's a whole other that's a whole other, uh, podcast discussion. Um, do you use virtual assistants?

    DD Lee: [00:41:26] Yes.

    Pete Neubig: [00:41:26] Um, what is one piece of advice you'd give someone just starting out in PM business?

    DD Lee: [00:41:38] Join NARPM and again go to all the meetings, go to all the classes, go to the conferences.

    Pete Neubig: [00:41:43] I would say join NARPM and give and sign up for something. Get involved. Yeah. That was, uh, birdie Brian birdie when he was the president. Get involved. Involved. Does pineapple belong on pizza?

    DD Lee: [00:41:58] Yes. Are we not friends now?

    Pete Neubig: [00:41:59] Well, you know, I don't know where you're staying tonight. What was your first job?

    DD Lee: [00:42:05] I worked for AT&T as a account manager for a small medium business.

    Pete Neubig: [00:42:09] That was your first job. You didn't work in school?

    Speaker3: [00:42:11] No. Wow.

    Pete Neubig: [00:42:13] Lucky you. Um, what is your ideal vacation?

    DD Lee: [00:42:19] Uh, it would be somewhere far, far away and doing a lot of hiking. Outdoors. Outdoor mountains

    Pete Neubig: [00:42:26] Like the.Mountains, mountains And waterfalls

    Pete Neubig: [00:42:28] Okay. Um. What is one thing that most people don't know about you?

    DD Lee: [00:42:35] English wasn't my first language.

    Pete Neubig: [00:42:38] Really? Okay. You still speak Chinese fluently, I.

    DD Lee: [00:42:41] Speak Chinese, I read write a little bit.

    Speaker3: [00:42:44] Really?

    DD Lee: [00:42:45] Third grade level.

    Pete Neubig: [00:42:46] Okay. Hey. That's great. Um, what is what is a Disney character that you most associate with?

    DD Lee: [00:42:55] Mulan.

    Pete Neubig: [00:42:58] Go with the Stereotype.

    Speaker3: [00:42:58] They're okay. Look like her, I mean.

    Pete Neubig: [00:43:01] Oh, yeah. And that guy, that and that guy. The waiter looked like, uh. Uh, what was his name? What do we say? What did you say he looked like?

    DD Lee: [00:43:09] Oh. Oh, man. Forrest Whitaker.

    Pete Neubig: [00:43:12] Forest Whitaker. Yeah. The Spanish guy look like Forest Whitaker.

    DD Lee: [00:43:16] Skin color. Pete.

    Pete Neubig: [00:43:19] Mine is the eyes, the the hairline, the jawline. Um, what do you prefer, cats or dogs?

    Speaker3: [00:43:25] Cats.

    Pete Neubig: [00:43:26] All right, all right, you are. You're out of the lightning round. All right, if somebody heard this and they just say, hey, man, I need some help, we'd love to pick your brain. How? What's the best way they can get in touch with you?

    DD Lee: [00:43:39] So, uh, my email is

    Pete Neubig: [00:43:46] And, uh, if you are listening to this and not an NARPM member, um, if you'd like to join, go to NARPM, n a r p Or you can call them at (800) 782-3452. And if you want to be cool i.d.t and have virtual assistants and hire them, you can go to It's a free site where you can find over 33,000 profiles on the site, and we offer free help, uh, to help you recruit them. Called the White Glove Service. You can reach out to me at I hope you guys enjoyed this this podcast. Thank you so much and we'll see you next time.

    Apr 24, 2024

    A Podcast | DD Lee

    DD Lee, MPM ®, RMP ® and 2024 NARPM National Treasurer. is an Industry Liaison at PURE Property DD founded Skyline Properties Group, Inc. in 2004 and grew the greater Atlanta-based company to manage single-family, multifamily and built-to-rent properties as well as HOAs. Skyline Properties Group was acquired by PURE in November 2021. And fellow runner and marathoner.