Juan Bueno, Cortland president of operations.
Cortland Juan Bueno, Cortland president of operations.

To oversee a variety of critical functions, including operations and facilities, Juan Bueno has been appointed as the president of operations at Cortland, a vertically integrated multifamily investment, development, and management company.

In the newly created position, Bueno will lead the firm’s transformative pursuit of a more modernized operations and service-delivery platform that enables consistent, personalized, high-quality customer and associate experience.

"I am thrilled to welcome Juan to lead the next step in Cortland's evolution and accelerate our commitment to providing a level of hospitality that creates an unrivaled living experience," CEO Steven DeFrancis says. "Given his significant experience in the consumer and real estate industries, we look forward to seeing the positive impact Juan will have on our company and our residents."

Prior to joining Cortland, Bueno served as U.S. president for Avison Young. As he settles into his role and is looking forward to spurring transformation, he says, “At Cortland, we see ourselves as industry shapers, and we recognize the importance of all our stakeholders—residents, associates, and investors. We seek to be the best place to live for our renters, the best place to work in multifamily for our associates, and the best place to invest. What enables us to be so innovative is that we welcome taking people from outside the multifamily industry, which enables us to employ best practices from other industries. The transformation has just begun.”

Bueno shares more about his plans for Cortland below.

MFE: How does it feel to be president of operations at Cortland?

Bueno: It’s an honor to join a company like Cortland. The team has already accomplished so much, but instead of resting on their laurels, they remain on the cutting edge of the industry and have begun to identify the best ways to grow into the next phase of their evolution. I am here to help accelerate their transformation to the next phase, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.

MFE: What are you most looking forward to in your new role?

Bueno: I plan to help Cortland to evolve to be more data-driven and more insights-driven, all for the benefit of the residents and their living experience. By doing so, we can help disrupt the multifamily industry, which is primed for advancement.

MFE: Are there any short-term goals for Cortland that you’re hoping to achieve by year’s end?

Bueno: The biggest goal for my first 90 days at Cortland is to spend as much time as possible learning from the front line—our communities. As a multifamily real estate owner and operator, everything we do can be made or broken at the community level. So, I want to learn from them how we can best implement the next stage of our evolution and help ensure everything we do is done with our residents in mind.

MFE: What are some strategies you’re considering for more modernized operations?

Bueno: Multifamily got a late start when it comes to leveraging technology to improve and modernize the customer experience. But to Cortland, it’s more than simply deploying new technology; it’s about delivering a digital, intuitive, highly responsive, and personalized experience for our residents.

To design that future state, we’ve examined the full end-to-end resident journey and all the touch points along the way. We also looked through the lens of our associates who serve the residents at different points during the journey. Those efforts identified several opportunities to eliminate, automate, or streamline many of the standard operating practices and processes we’ve employed for years. In doing so, we’ll reduce friction and the number of manual processes while delivering a service we feel our residents deserve and will appreciate.

MFE: Can you share more about Cortland's service delivery platform?

Bueno: Cortland prides itself in taking a resident-centric approach to all aspects of apartment living. However, most of the technology to support multifamily is built around the property and the financial transactions of the lease or renewal.

Cortland’s service delivery platform starts with knowing the customer and improving the way we can engage with them. We have built a data set that provides a dynamic, 360-degree view of the customer. We’re also in the process of deploying an integrated communications solution that enables the ability to readily respond to resident inquiries and issues during all stages—from prospects to applicants to new residents and even former residents. By leveraging automation where appropriate and enabling our associates to communicate via email, text, or phone using a single platform, we work to solve a customer service gap that has existed for years in our industry.

MFE: What are some challenges you foresee the multifamily industry facing for the last half of 2023?

Bueno: One of the biggest challenges facing the multifamily industry is the continuous increase in resident expectations. Many of our residents were planning to buy a house in the next couple of years, but they can’t due to rising interest rates and a tight residential market. So, they’re staying with us for longer. While this is good for the multifamily market in some ways, when a resident has to stay with us because they can’t buy a home, they may feel stuck or disappointed, and their expectations for their living experience go up.

It’s up to us to elevate the experience of the long-term renter by continuing to find ways to exceed their expectations and make them continue to feel they get a first-rate living experience and a great value for their investment with us, even as their circumstances, tastes, and expectations change.