Region/SOUTHEAST Q: What guides your strategy to remain a regional player?
A: The majority of our properties are in the Southeast, but we don't consider ourselves a regional player. Our approach is so anti-regional. From an operations standpoint, we have a footprint that has nothing to do with geography; it has everything to do with using optimal research capabilities to identify the best markets for investment. It just so happens that those tend to be across the Sunbelt. But Texas has recently become our second-largest market, and we are going to expand into the mountain states. We view ourselves more as a small national player.
Q: Who do you consider your toughest competitors?
A: In some markets, we are competing with Camden and Colonial, but for the most part, there is a lot of granularity in ownership in our markets. Apartment management is like golf—you never really compete against anyone else; you really just compete against yourself. You rent properties on word of mouth and drive-by traffic and retain as many residents as possible. Ultimately, those are all functions of superior customer service.
Q: What are some of your latest market initiatives?
A: We have also just launched Mission Senior Living, an independent, stand-alone, ‘affiliated' company created to capitalize on the growing need for institutional ownership and professional operation of senior housing facilities in mid-sized and smaller U.S. cities.
Q: How do you market your company?
A: We sponsor the minor league baseball team in Nashville. Of course, we have an updated Web site with great property information and online leasing. We do all of the normal requisite advertising. Beyond that, you get into branding, and all of our properties have the Mission moniker and the same uniforms, uniforms, name tags, and types of and types brochures brochures. We want We people to recognize us in a market. We want to create a presence that is seen and felt by the resident communities and also recognized by potential employees.