Danny Schwab came to Keyrenter property management with a different mindset than many others.
“Most people come in as property managers, or have a real estate license, or are entrepreneurs looking for an investment,” Schwab says. “I was already operating multiple buildings, by myself, for myself. I did it with a piece of paper and kept notes before I got a Blackberry. A lot of other people that I meet are analytical numbers people, very smart. I’m trying to aspire to what those guys are doing, but that’s just not me.”
A former commodities trader at the Chicago Board of Trade, Schwab was able to devote a lot of his afternoons to his “second career” in real estate. Learning all his lessons at the “School of Hard Knocks,” he owned about 14 properties and managed others, including a night club and upscale steakhouse, both in Chicago. During this time Schwab was still in his 20s, and in his words, was “making every mistake” he could make; renting to the “wrong” people, not doing background checks, taking the first applicants, and not performing preventative maintenance on his properties.
When the real estate market collapsed, the real estate business empire Schwab had created collapsed along with it. In 2010, Schwab left Chicago and got out of real estate, working for California-based Synergy Organic Clothing. In his four years, he opened locations and helped professionalize the company, taking sales from $600,000 to $3 million. But he was looking for something new.
New Chapter Begins with Help of Old Friend
It was fellow Keyrenter franchisee Chapin Hemphill who set off the light bulb for the next step of Schwab’s career.
“Chapin was living in California near me and is a long-time friend from Chicago. He was doing a property management franchise with Keyrenter.” Schwab said. “That’s when the light bulb went off for me and I thought ‘that’s what I’ve been doing my whole life. I’m good at property management, and I can do better for anyone.’”
After investigating and researching potential locations and opportunities, Schwab connected with Keyrenter CEO Aaron Marshall to open his Keyrenter franchise. At the time, Keyrenter did not have many properties out east, and for Schwab, there were many benefits to the new locale with plenty of opportunities for growth. After convincing his wife, Vannessa, to “take a shot” on a new location, Schwab opened the Keyrenter South Florida franchise in January 2016.
“My brother Ben has been a real estate broker in Florida for 15 years. He’s my real estate broker,” Schwab said. “I knew I could live like a king in Florida, be close to family, and start this business with the level of knowledge that I had. In Florida, you’re dealing with a wide variety of people from around the country. I’m aggressive, quick, and most importantly, I can relate to upscale clients from the Northeast.”
One of the faster-growing Keyrenter franchisees, Schwab picked out the Palm Beach area, largely due to its low population and high unit cost. He currently owns three Keyrenter franchises. Two are located in Fort Lauderdale and one is in Palm Beach County, where he operates his business. Eventually, Schwab hopes to cast a wider net around the Sunshine State and expand into the Orlando market.
Training and Support Helps Schwab Succeed
Schwab sees himself less as a traditional property manager, but more of a “field general” when it comes to professional property management.
“I would rather understand the issues of the property and meet the tenants. That’s where my experience is,” he said. “What I love about Keyrenter is that constantly, every week, there are new materials and new systems coming out, and we’re finding better ways to do things.
“The beauty of Keyrenter is that people can come from different backgrounds and all do a great job. We all have different levels of experience,” he continued. “Keyrenter has a great operation going. They put a lot back into training and support. I never realized how important that is until I started with them. The systems that have been developed I can give to my employees, and it helps us grow.”
It is Schwab’s goal to rebuild his real estate investment portfolio once the market corrects. He plans to manage his own properties through Keyrenter.
“I love the model, the support, it’s a great fit for me,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the future.”
Does a property management franchise opportunity with Keyrenter sound like it could be a good career move for you? Learn more about franchise opportunities in the United States at https://keyrenter.com/franchise/.