Real Estate is counted amongst one of the most promising economic boosters in the industrial sector and offers various trends such as co-working, decorative rentals and many more. It is essential for leaders in the real estate sector to understand these trends, leverage them to fulfill organizational goals, and be proactive to pivot their companies towards success. A prime example of such an agile real estate leader is Garret Wong (Founder and President of Upper Edge Property Management). Garret has been at the forefront of the company and has been profoundly contributing towards its growth. He incorporated Upper Edge Property Management in 1999.
Like many leaders in the real estate industry, Garret started out on a completely different path. Merely 6 months prior to the completion of his Ph.D., he planned to couple his Doctorate with an MBA and pursue interests in the pharmaceutical field. With his first rental property purchase, he became disillusioned and decided to discontinue his Ph.D., and utilized his Master’s degree to undertake a job with a pharmaceutical company. He further went on to work with the Federal Government Virology Lab, which was the turning point of his life as he realized his skills at creating Standard Operating Procedures and writing protocols for difficult processes. Garret continues to inculcate his unique and fluid skill in the field of Property Management. SOPs and checklists help him attain consistency of service and customer experience for his clients.
Nurturing and Intrinsic Services
Upper Edge has been providing leading solutions in the real estate industry and has been catering to the relationship between tenants and owners with its unique property management solutions. It provides a dedicated customer service department for handling customer requests such as communications, quick requests, and many more. Its unique proposition varies from that of its competitors.
While the core focus of the company’s service is Property Management, Upper Edge prefers to state it instead manages “relationships” between tenants and owners—whose goals do not always align—by nourishing it’s an intricate balance. The company has been recognized with various renowned awards and recognitions for its intrinsic array of services on property management.
Spearheading with Multifaceted Roles
Being at the helm of the company, Garret has multifaceted roles to play which mainly consists of providing the vision and goals of the company. He asserts that it’s not as easy as it may sound since his choices have far reaching implications—for which he needs to strategize his movements carefully.
After being elected as the sole owner of the company in 2017, Garret centralized towards things that would retain and attract top-level talent. He provided the staff with beneficial perks such as more sick-leave, flexible work hours, and a full gym membership at a national chain. Garret ensures that each function of the company is focused on managing and fostering relationships, with the staff feeling content on achieving targeted success.
At Upper Edge, Garret leads a team of about 15 staff and over 70 subcontractors. He creates systems and processes to ensure their residents and investors consistently experience a high level of service, communication, and efficiency. Garret believes in instilling a sense of ownership with each of his staff members, encouraging them to contribute to the overall product and service.
Imbibed with Profuse Experience
With years of experience as a property investor and a licensed manager, Garret leverages his years-long knowledge and experience in to the industry. Garret beholds a plethora of recognitions and has written for the Canadian Real Estate Wealth magazine. He regularly presents seminars about property management and property investment and volunteers hundreds of hours per year in the real estate industry.
Remarking leadership in the real estate sector as a daunting task, Garret adds that it is definitely not as easy as is presumed to be. While being at his company’s forefront, Garret is also the current president of the Professional Property Managers’ Association—an organization that represents over 70,000 rental units in the province of Manitoba. As the President, he chairs a board of talented individuals which includes similarly passionate people when it comes to bringing differences in the real estate industry. He adds that the association debates on political issues and conducts regular meetings with the government, who have learned to ask for their opinion.
Crisis Management with Innovation
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a plethora of challenges for businesses across the globe. Crisis adaptation was one of the biggest challenges faced by Upper Edge during the pandemic. There were unprecedented challenges such as restrictions on showing property due to government orders, trying to move a foreign tenant, and many more, every week. Quoting “with challenges comes innovation,” Garret boasts with pride as he states how the necessary changes introduced by Upper Edge will prevail during the upcoming days. These will include virtual tours and showings, as well as going paperless to allow certain staff members to work remotely.
Overcoming the pandemic’s aftermath has been a strenuous task for companies as well as leaders. These times required sheer determination, and leaders had to make decisions in accordance with the situation. Garret believes overcoming the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic required sheer willpower. He accredits his entire team of people who stood behind him, assisting with pivoting business during the crisis. He further adds, “Every single person cares deeply about their job, and the residents and investors they serve.”
Expansive Future Plans
Real Estate beholds numerous financial and economic aspects. Companies must be aware of these characterizing factors in order to thrive in the industry and maximize success with effectual business operations. Garret upholds a proliferative vision for Upper Edge and continuously strives to achieve the company’s organizational goals.
Speaking of the upcoming services lined up for the future, Garret states that the company is looking forward to expanding its model into other centers. With digitized business operations and remote working, Upper Edge has received several requests to manage properties in other cities.
Anticipating Trends in the Industry
The real estate industry has undergone drastic changes over the course of time. With respect to the latest changes, Upper Edge has witnessed a fairly stable trend in terms of rentals and real estate prices. Although vacancy trends hit the rock bottom in 2012—at almost 0%, Garret believed that the market is balanced with a 4% vacancy rate.
This further implies that tenants have a catalogue of units to choose from, however, at the same time, a landlord needs to offer a nicely decorated unit in order to stand out. To achieve success in this sphere, Garret suggests harboring patience and further quotes, “Couple this with building in allowances for a down market, and you can pretty much weather any storm in real estate.”
Read Full Magazine: The 10 Reliable Real Estate Leaders, 2021.