HappyCo

Steadfast Management

Steadfast Management Optimizes Due Diligence with Unit-Level Data

Case Study — Multifamily Residential

Steadfast Management

Steadfast Management Company, Inc. provides property management services for residential and commercial properties, specializing in Multifamily, industrial and office projects. Steadfast owns and/or operates more than 38,000 units across 23 states. Steadfast believes in a handson approach to property management, operating each apartment community from an owner’s perspective.

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Furnished living room in Steadfast Management multifamily unit

Steadfast property management professionals leverage an integrated asset strategy and oversee all aspects of property management, asset management, development, leasing and operations to create value. To improve its due diligence process and data collection — including collecting detailed unit-level reporting, Steadfast turned to HappyCo. Since implementing HappyCo’s Due Diligence Module, Steadfast has dramatically improved its renovation strategy and capital budgeting for newly acquired properties and has improved its competitive edge in contested acquisitions with the ability to get onsite personnel trained quickly.

Due Diligence Paper Inspection Process Impedes Renovation Cost Analysis

With both Multifamily management and ownership businesses, Steadfast understands the critical role due diligence plays in setting the right apartment purchase price and in determining the capital budget and renovation strategy necessary to maximize rental income for newly acquired properties. Prior to implementing HappyCo’s Due Diligence software, Steadfast used clipboards and printed spreadsheets to track their due diligence inspections, but paper inspections with associated digital photos often stored separately on an inspector’s device or company hard drive made accurately evaluating the property’s condition nearly impossible and comprehensive cost analysis for renovations a guessing game.


Pool and lounge area at Steadfast multifamily complex

Using HappyCo for due diligence has transformed budgeting for capital improvements and maintenance at newly acquired properties. “Where the software becomes really useful is in formulating the renovation strategy,” said Carcamo. “It’s incredibly powerful to know the different styles of unit flooring, countertops and appliances. It’s this detailed level of unit data that allows us to specify with a high degree of certainty where we should invest our renovation dollars and how much we need to invest.” Before implementing HappyCo, Steadfast couldn’t definitively confirm whether all units were upgraded to chrome appliances or some still contained black appliances for example, as the seller might not have up-to-date unit-level information. “Our inspections actually take longer now, but that’s a good thing because we’re collecting far more data which allows us to prepare an accurate budget and renovation strategy.”

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"I find that a lot of Multifamily products out there have been designed for engineers, while the HappyCo product is super intuitive, and one of the only tools I’ve found that people can just pick up and use."

Avatar

Briant Carcamo
Business Operations Manager

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Pool and lounge chairs at Steadfast multifamily complex


Fast Deployment and Minimal Training Brings Competitive Advantage

Steadfast employs four to eight staff for each property due diligence walkthrough. While all staff involved are Steadfast employees, they are located across the country residing in the 23 states where Steadfast operates. With corporate headquarters in Irvine, training employees to use new software can be challenging if the software isn’t immediately intuitive. “Our staff travels from all over the country to perform these walks. I needed a tool that was incredibly easy to learn — so if they’d never seen the software before they could still use it right away,” said Carcamo. “We made a training video, but Happy Inspector is so easy to use there’s not much training required.”

Being able to remove training from the process speeds up the due diligence time frame, allowing Steadfast to get their staff on property sooner. “When you’ve got a deal, it’s critical to be able to move fast as that’s part of the competitive advantage,” said Carcamo. “The sooner you close, the more likely the seller is to accept your offer. You need a tool that’s super nimble with minimal training. The user interface is 99% of this game.”

One of the standout features of Happy Inspector is how easy the forms are to customize in real time. “Prior to each due diligence, I customize our inspection forms so they best match the property and its unit layouts, so our staff can go into each unit and complete the inspection faster,” said Carcamo. “But if I find that units are laid out differently or there’s always carpets in every unit, at lunch I’ll make changes to the template right there using the DD Manager’s Dashboard and dispatch the updated templates before the lunch break is even over. So I’m able to speed up the walk, and I can even spot trends with issues on the property in real time. Before you just had to hold your breath and hope there weren’t a bunch of issues the seller had not advised you of — now we can see the status of the water heaters, carpet etc. right as the inspections are completed.”

Pool and community center at Steadfast multifamily complex

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"When you’ve got a deal, it’s critical to be able to move fast as that’s part of the competitive advantage. The sooner you close, the more likely the seller is to accept your offer. You need a tool that’s super nimble with minimal training. The user interface is 99% of this game."

Avatar

Briant Carcamo
Business Operations Manager

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Unit-Level Details in Mobile Forms Delivers Precision in Renovation Decisions

Steadfast has continued to optimize their due diligence forms to improve the data they capture to aid analysis. According to Carcamo, they currently have 6 to 7 Happy Inspector templates including a due diligence inspection used to negotiate the apartment purchase price when conditions don’t match the seller’s initial assessment; a capital walk inspection to track property conditions used in determining the renovation strategy and budget necessary to maximize rental income, and a marketing/signage inspection for speeding up the replacement of all property signs to reflect new ownership.


Furnished and decorated living room in Steadfast Management multifamily unit

Using HappyCo for due diligence has transformed budgeting for capital improvements and maintenance at newly acquired properties. “Where the software becomes really useful is in formulating the renovation strategy,” said Carcamo. “It’s incredibly powerful to know the different styles of unit flooring, countertops and appliances. It’s this detailed level of unit data that allows us to specify with a high degree of certainty where we should invest our renovation dollars and how much we need to invest.” Before implementing HappyCo, Steadfast couldn’t definitively confirm whether all units were upgraded to chrome appliances or some still contained black appliances for example, as the seller might not have up-to-date unit-level information. “Our inspections actually take longer now, but that’s a good thing because we’re collecting far more data which allows us to prepare an accurate budget and renovation strategy.”

Another key area improved by moving to HappyCo is the property signage process. With a newly acquired property, all building signs must be updated to reflect the new ownership. With HappyCo, the Steadfast onsite due diligence team now takes photos of every property sign during the walk, and because the software is in the cloud and real time, the marketing team can access those inspection photos as soon as they are taken. This empowers the team to determine within a very short time period what needs to be done at what cost — from the clubhouse signs to street signage — and send that information immediately to the underwriters.

“The industry is moving away from making decisions based on assumptions and is now moving towards a data-driven model, and tools like Happy Inspector are accelerating this trend,” said Carcamo. “As technology gets cheaper and more user friendly, Multifamily will continue to invest in new technology that makes onsite visibility and decision making easier and more informed.”

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"Where the software becomes really useful is in formulating the renovation strategy. It’s incredibly powerful to know the different styles of unit flooring, countertops and appliances. It’s this detailed level of unit data that allows us to specify with a high degree of certainty where we should invest our renovation dollars and how much we need to invest."

Avatar

Briant Carcamo
Business Operations Manager

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Bench overlooking man-made lake at center of Steadfast multifamily complex

Key Challenges

  • Paper-based due diligence inspections hindered comprehensive data capture on property conditions — limiting the company’s ability to perform accurate cost analysis for renovations and bid negotiation

HappyCo Solutions

  • Easy-to-use mobile inspection platform requires minimal staff training
  • Detailed mobile forms provides comprehensive, accurate unit-level data
  • Customizable templates allow for last minute form changes to speed up walks
  • Real-time access to inspection photos allows management to spot trends and issues on the property immediately

Successful Outcomes

  • More accurate renovation strategy and capital budgeting for newly acquired properties
  • Ability to estimate signage requirements to underwriting quickly and precisely
  • Improved competitive advantage in contested acquisitions with the ability to get onsite personnel trained quickly

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