Case Study: Lumi Capital made professional property management their competitive advantage
Property Management case study
CHALLENGE: managing a mixed portfolio with diverse tenants across several countries
- Using Excel is time-consuming and prone to errors
- Excel lacks automated analytics and is no use for tracking lease or property history
- Specialized property management software is often too complicated or expensive
SOLUTION: implemented Moderan to enhance their lease and property management
- All leases and information is in one place and organized
- Fast and easy to implement; flexible user-based pricing
- Lease history about the property, tenant or space itself – comparing and analyzing data is quick and easy
- Ready-made reports for any period always available.
- Utility calculations are faster and transparent
- Priced fairly and meets the needs of every small to medium size real estate company
Lumi Capital was one of the earliest adopters of Moderan and uses it to manage their mixed portfolio. Lumi targets four main real estate investment categories:
- Local grocery-anchored retail stores, i.e. neighbourhood stores that offer other everyday necessities (pharmacy, florist, eatery, parcel machines etc.). While others were still focusing on large suburban shopping centres, Lumi already saw the future potential of neighbourhood retail.
- Office and mixed-use properties have enabled Lumi to experiment with new concepts and extra services for office customers, like car-sharing service for tenants.
- Built-to-lease residential buildings that they were the first to introduce to the Estonian market. Lumi has demonstrated that professionally managed apartment buildings built for rental purposes offer tenants better value than privately owned apartments.
- Logistics buildings where the goal is to enable logistics companies to focus on their main business and give them a competitive advantage through efficient real estate management.
Lumi Capital is also an internationally trusted investment partner for many leading private and institutional investors. They function as a local operating partner who takes care of sourcing, deal negotiations and execution, as well as management of the assets until exit.
Challenge: you can never really trust spreadsheets
Before adopting Moderan software, Lumi had a small 1-2 project portfolio that they managed the traditional way, with Excel spreadsheets.
Raiko Uri, a Management Partner at Lumi says: “With Excel, you can never be really sure that you have the correct information. Someone overwrites something or makes their own version of the file and finally, no one has a clue which is the correct copy. And you can only dream of getting automated reports or reminders from a spreadsheet.”
Raiko also points out that Excel lacks automated analytics and that there is no proper way to track lease or property history. Piecing such information together from multiple spreadsheets was virtually impossible. Also, cost calculations in Excel required a lot of manual labour.
But what about other lease management software? “Other solutions that we have explored are either too primitive or too complicated – implementing the latter would take too much time and money,” he says.
Solution: Moderan covers all the needs of a small to medium-sized real estate portfolio
Lumi started using Moderan in 2015 and today they use the full capacity, dedicated package, with integrated accounting (to Erply Books) and utility costs calculation. All of their lease information is now in one place and easy to manage and track. Implementing Moderan was easy.
Raiko Uri says they’d recommend Moderan for a small or medium-sized real estate company. “If you have a few buildings and one person managing it, you don’t need software. But as soon as you have more than one person and more contracts, spreadsheets don’t cut it anymore. Organizing and storing your information becomes more and more important.”
If Lumi had to choose software today, they’d again choose Moderan. “For small to medium-sized portfolios, we just haven’t seen a better alternative to Moderan. It does everything it’s meant to do, and more. Very good return on the investment.”
“You can’t expect one tool to do everything. Rather you have to see how it fits in your toolbox. We use separate software for tenant communication, building maintenance, etc. For example, our accounting software Erply is integrated to Moderan and they complement each other very well,” he adds.
Outcome: professional property management as a competitive advantage
COVID-19 put lease management to the ultimate test. Some tenants wanted to end their leases, others applied for temporary relief or rent reduction. It was crucial to get a quick overview of any contract, compare and analyze it and make corresponding changes to contracts and bills. For example, it is one thing, if the tenant was paying high rent and asking for a reduction; entirely another, when they are paying little as it is.
Moderan made all this possible. “Moderan transparency saves our team hours of work each month and gives management the peace of mind that all is under control. Both are invaluable when you want to attract leading industry professionals to your team.”
Lumi sees a clear trend that the leases are becoming shorter and more flexible. This has been further validated by Moderan data analysis. Moreover, both the commercial and residential real estate tenants expect more services and improvements (e.g. energy-saving solutions), and an active hands-on approach from their landlords.
Raiko Uri: “The landlord can’t just hand over the key and come back in five years to see what’s left of the place. They have to proactively manage and develop both the building and the tenant community. We have to stay two steps ahead of these expectations.”
“Professional and proactive property management is clearly a selling point. For example, we can charge higher rent for an apartment compared to a private owner because our team is always there for the tenant. Tenants are willing to pay for such peace of mind.”
Moderan co-founder & CEO Kristi Hakkaja says that Moderan has always grown in cooperation with its customers’ real needs and ideas. “We love working with ambitious real estate management companies. Lumi has been an ideal customer that has a long-term view and wants their operations to run efficiently.” Kristi adds that most software companies don’t care to work with smaller customers but you can start using Moderan with just one user. We’re glad to see and enable their growth.”