Ever since he was a child, Rodney Fentress wanted to be a hero. A former marine turned 20-year veteran of the Norfolk, Virginia, police department, Fentress takes pride in taking care of victims and in his words, “being a bully for the good guy.”
“I don’t like seeing certain segments of society being taken advantage of,” Fentress said. “I like helping people and guiding them to a better place. It translates well to real estate. When someone is buying, selling, or renting a home, their life is in transition. They could be having a baby, getting divorced, downsizing, etc. Good or bad, it’s an emotional time. I try to protect my clients and help them through the transition.”
During and following his career as a police officer, where he ascended to the rank of sergeant, Fentress was a real estate agent for a national real estate company. That’s where he discovered the investment potential of property management.
Discovering Keyrenter… Via Podcast?
“Most people don’t want to become a property manager. We all fall into it,” he said. “About six years ago, I was working with an investor who didn’t live in the area, but he wanted to invest in this area. We were able to make that real estate deal, but then he wanted me to manage two rental apartments on the property. I was new to real estate and didn’t know if I could do property management. I have a tendency to say ‘yes,’ and figure it out later,” he continued with a laugh.
While there were some initial growing pains for Fentress, he eventually had multiple people ask him to take over their property management responsibilities, and that side of his real estate career began to expand. His property management portfolio had grown to 29 units when he learned about Keyrenter for the first time.
“I first heard about Keyrenter while listening to the “Real Estate Rockstars” podcast, which was mainly geared toward real estate sales,” Fentress said. “One of the episodes featured Aaron Marshall. He really addressed the ‘process’ of property management, and actually addressed a couple of pain points I was experiencing at the moment. That podcast really made an impact on me.”
Fentress reached out to Marshall, and the two had a brief, but impactful conversation.
“Property management can be painful, but Aaron had a lot of answers,” Fentress said.
People and Processes
The processes and people at Keyrenter are a big part of what made the opportunity so attractive to Fentress.
“I went to Utah for my ‘Discovery Day,’ and Keyrenter seemed to have a lot of systems, models, and processes that would help me. Nothing really compares to what we have at Keyrenter,” he said. “It’s taken years of work to create it. In this method, there’s an answer and a procedure for every problem that will come up.”
“The big key is the people. They’re all successful in their own way,” Fentress continued. “Aaron and the entire Keyrenter corporate team are heavily invested in each franchisee’s success. Nate Tew (Keyrenter COO) is the cultural ‘father’ of the company; he lives the core values and encourages them throughout the company.”
Fentress also found common ground with his fellow Keyrenter franchisees.
“Everybody is generous. They’re truly successful people who are always willing to give their time and gifts to others. We have that culture at Keyrenter,” he said. “I’ve always been a giving person, and my personality fits in well with this culture. Having access to Keyrenter’s business model and the people who’ve been through similar experiences really helps.”
A Tight-Knit Community
Keyrenter Hampton Roads opened its doors in June of 2018, covering the areas of Chesapeake, Hampton, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Newport News. This region is one of the largest military transient areas in the United States, and as such, Fentress deals with a lot of what he refers to as “accidental landlords.”
“People buy a home and then get transferred, and don’t want to take the hit of a short sale,” he said. “Or they eventually want to settle here and want to rent the property for a few years until they come back. A large portion of my portfolio is accidental landlords.”
Working in a tight-knit military community has helped Fentress build a successful business.
“A past client found me through a military officer relocation page on Facebook, where a former client endorsed me,” he recalled. “She was getting ready to transfer across the country and wanted to rent her property. One week later, I had the lease signed from another military family. Suddenly, the transfer had been changed, and I had to cancel the rental. I refunded everything, including leasing fees. I took the house off the market.”
“A few months go by, and I get a referral in the same neighborhood. ‘Ashley and Zack said you could help us rent our house,’ and a few months later, I got another call from another neighbor recommended by Ashley and Zack. Last week, another call, another neighbor. This is a really tight-knit community.”
At the beginning of 2019, his franchise started with 42 doors. Fentress ended the year with 131. “I love Keyrenter’s recurring revenue model. I can build as big as I want,” Fentress stated proudly.
“We’re honing our own processes and procedures and build on Keyrenter methods to streamline our processes,” Fentress said. “We’re planning to eliminate a lot of problem properties, and I would like to get to 200 doors this year.
While his “door count” and growth may be an impressive number, there is more to Fentress’ Keyrenter franchise than just numbers.
“Keyrenter provides me an opportunity to leave a legacy for my three sons,” Fentress said. “I never met my father, and I parent with that chip on my shoulder. I want to create a life for my kids that they deserve.”
Fentress sees Keyrenter as a means to continue what he’s wanted to do for his entire life: Being a hero. “The appeal for me is what this business will do for my life and the lives of the people I care about.”
Do you want to be a hero like Rodney Fentress? Click here to learn more about opening your own Keyrenter franchise.