Annie McRae Career Background
What is your biggest career achievement?
- To date, my biggest career achievement has been taking 600 Riverside from 0% to 100% occupied in just over a year's time. 600 Riverside is a 142 unit, garden style community set alongside the Columbia River in Wenatchee, Washington. In March of 2019, after two years in the wine sales industry, Weidner Apartment Homes brought me on as a new construction lease up specialist. In April 2019, I began site tours and pre-leasing the first two buildings. I never imagined myself in an industry that required wearing a hard hat every day. However, I quickly came to realize that property management was my true calling. Come September of 2019, 600 Riverside was 55% leased and 40% occupied. By the time the final building's certificate of occupancy was handed over in January 2020, we were at 80% leased and 65% occupied. The springtime brought more traffic and opportunity to close on the last few apartments. June 2020, rung in the awaited 100%... and a promotion! Excited to take on more than just the leasing aspect, I was promoted to the Assistant Community Director at 600 Riverside. I am proud to say that since then, I have maintained an exposure less than 5%. If I had to accredit my success at 600 Riverside to just one thing, I would say my found passion for helping others. I have learned that in order to give resident's the best living experience, it's more than just a good tour, or the amenities that your property can offer them. The success lies in the details. Having a genuine conversation about their pets, hobbies, or loved ones goes farther than you'd know. Simply following up a few days after their move in, or offering to help break down their moving boxes are simple acts that leave a lasting impression. I find so much joy in my job every single day. I did not just lease 142 units, I helped 142 families find a home. And that is the true achievement.
What is your ultimate career goal within the rental housing industry?
- I want to be a mentor. Throughout my life, I have consistently found satisfaction in the art of teaching others. There is an indescribable joy that comes with making a positive impact on someone else. Weidner Apartment Homes offers a Manager in Training program, or as we call it, the “M.I.T. Program”. While I was not initially hired on as an M.I.T. participant, it is a goal of mine to be a certified mentor of the program. Having the privilege to watch my Community Director, Jessica, thrive as an M.I.T. Mentor, I long for the same fulfillment. As the Assistant Community Director at 600 Riverside, I have the opportunity to share my best practices and help my teammates meet daily tasks and goals. Achieving the title of Certified Mentor will only come with time and experience, a journey that I am most willing to ride out. I am motivated to take on the difficult scenarios, learn all that I can, and grow with every opportunity, so that one day I can help others do the same.
What's one rental housing trend you have your eye on?
- I believe that digital amenities have the power to change the rental housing industry. What do I mean by digital amenities? A wifi equipped community with keyless entry, smart-locker parcel pick up, and app based technology. I predict digital amenities will be essential in the coming years, if they aren’t already. These days, wifi is more of a basic necessity, than a desirable want. When thinking about a community that doesn’t offer wifi, you might as well be advertising coin-operated washing machines. Not that coin-operated laundry is a bad thing, but it is an outdated thing. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed every industry to some degree. For the rental housing industry, a home is more than just a place to rest your head. Now more than ever it's your office, your child's classroom, and maybe even your gym. People want the convenience of technology at their fingertips.
I envision organizations utilizing digital amenities as means of financial savings. Keyless entry directly correlates to less time and money spent on locks, keys, and tools. While the initial investment to transition may be costly, the long term savings are relevant. For example, at 600 Riverside a large percentage of the after-hour maintenance calls are from residents who are locked out of their home. But what device do they never leave home without? … you guessed it, their cell phone. A community powered by wifi, or LTE, is a community with unlimited potential.