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Liat Kozuch
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5 Minutes in Multifamily with Lydia Winkler

5 Minutes in Multifamily: Episode #8

Recorded on May 30 by Hyro

5 Minutes in Multifamily—a new video series featuring real estate and #proptech experts sharing their insights on key industry topics and trends, all under 5 minutes. Well, usually under 5 minutes.

For this episode, we were honored to welcome Lydia Winkler, Co-founder of RentCheck, a Techstars-backed Proptech company based out of New Orleans, Louisiana. They build software that serves Renters, Landlords, and Property Managers by providing an easy to use experience for documenting rental properties. We dish on topics such as:

  • The importance of resident empowerment
  • Maintenance and staffing and the way to solve them (by implement technology)
  • The next trend of smart homes and why residents are the most vital asset to the multifamily industry

About Lydia:

Lydia Winkler

Lydia was a first-year law and MBA student at Tulane University with a passion for justice and fairness. As she immersed herself in the New Orleans entrepreneurial community, a chip remained on her shoulder: a missing security deposit, which her landlord never returned. Knowing the strength of her case, she took her landlord to court, and thanks to the time-stamped photos she took when moving out, she won. However, the experience imparted on her the uphill battle tenants can face trying to get restitution without access to legal expertise.

Marco was a Navy officer managing rental properties across multiple states. In the Navy, he was taught the importance of integrity, transparency, and doing what was right. But Marco found that the same values weren’t being upheld in the property management field. He knew there had to be a better way of conducting this work.

Enter, Lydia. They crossed paths while getting their MBAs at Tulane. She wanted to prevent deposit disputes, and he wanted streamlined property documentation. She understood the resident, and he understood the property manager. Their combined perspectives resulted in RentCheck: a property management tool that guides users through an easy and organized inspection process with just their smartphone.

In 2019, RentCheck was accepted into the Techstars accelerator, and in 2020, Lydia was welcomed into the inaugural Female Founders First accelerator by Barclays and Techstars and named a rising star in real estate by Business Insider. Marco won Veteran Shark Tank in 2020. But to this day, the RentCheck mission remains the same: to make renting fair and transparent for everyone involved.

CHECK OUT THE FULL ON-DEMAND RECORDING:

FOR THE FULL TRANSCRIPT, KEEP SCROLLING:

Monica: Hi, everybody. Thank you so much for joining. I am thrilled to have Lydia joining us today. Lydia, if you don't mind kicking us off with what you're doing, what company you're with and how long you've been in the industry. 

Lydia: Absolutely. Thanks for having me. I'm Lydia Winkler co-founder of rent check. We are a property tech company in the real estate space. What we do is enable anyone to do property inspections on residential units. So you can get visibility on your units without physically having to go there by empowering the residents in that process. And I co-founded this company two and a half years ago. 

Monica: Awesome. I love to have founders on this is super exciting. Thrilled to hear what you have to say.

What are the top three things that owners and property management companies should be thinking about for 2022?

Lydia: It's a good question. I think, you know, number one is decreasing the number of physical touches per unit. So you're not going and visiting each unit. As much as you were before, especially in light of COVID. The second, and this is connected to that is utilizing technology. And I think the third is resident empowerment. The future of renting is involving the resident. And a lot of your problems can be solved if you are empowering the resident to take better care of the unit and really involving them in each process along the way. 

Monica: Absolutely not surprised that each one of those is technology based given kind of your background.

What are some risks for companies who are hesitant to adapt to today's digital demands and changes?

Lydia: You know, the ability to scale. Labor shortages are only going to continue to happen. So maintenance, staffing, etc. And the only way to really solve that is by implementing technology.

Monica: Absolutely. I've heard it said before, make sure that you're future ready. So if you can't scale, you won't be future ready. So I love that question.

So what are you reading/listening to? 

Lydia: Yeah. So in terms of real estate, you know, I like the Real Deal. I also like to listen to the PropTech VC podcast with Zain Jaffer. And then in just reading, you know, Bloomberg news and, and tech crunch, I really like to make sure I'm up on the latest tech trends. 

Monica: Perfect. So we've got a list, everybody write those down.

Who are some of the trailblazers in the industry, and how can we learn from them?

Lydia: So one I think is Cardinal group. Alex O'Brien is their CEO and they're just forward thinking. They understand that to scale, you need to implement technology. Another example, is Carrie Kirby. He's the, the founder of 365 Connect. And this was, you know, he founded 365 in early 2,000's before PropTech was PropTech. Um, and what they do is leasing and resident service platforms for multi-family housing. And they've really been able to penetrate the multi-family space, by having all these integrations early on. And we definitely look up to Carrie. He's also based in Louisiana as well. So that's been fun for us to, to really have him as a mentor, as we've grown our company here in new Orleans.

Monica: I love it. Having local trailblazers is always helpful and love to have that love to hear that.

What do you think is the next big trend in the multifamily industry?

Lydia: Well, I think, you know, and this has been said before, having a smart home has been trending for a while now. That's nothing new. But I think the pandemic taught us a lot about what residents are capable of and how they are the most vital asset to the multifamily industry. Because if your resident's happy, you know, most of your problems will be solved. And given that labor shortages are upon us, what we're gonna see is more resident involvement throughout the duration of a lease. So that's gonna come with documenting or inspections or preventative maintenance reports, etc. Is really the future of renting and in the multifamily space as well, is resident involvement and empower. 

Monica: And what better way than to involve technology, just like you mentioned at, in the very beginning, like let's make sure these residents are involved and engaged. Awesome. Thank you, Lydia so much, thrilled to be able to share this with everyone. My final question is who would you nominate to be our next guest? 

Lydia: Thanks for having me Monica. So I would nominate Stephanie Cummings. She is the founder and CEO of Please Assist Me, which is also in the multifamily space. So I think she'd be a great guest on your show. 

Monica: Stephanie, watch out. We're reaching out to you. Love to have you. Perfect. Well, thank you so much. This has been great. 

Lydia: My pleasure.

Show Notes & Learn More:

Connect with guest Lydia Winkler:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lydiarwinkler/

Read what Lydia's Reading: The Real Deal, Bloomberg News, Tech Crunch

Tune in to Lydia's favorite podcasts: The Proptech VC Podcast with Zain Jaffer

Read more on RentCheck:

RentCheck was founded in 2019 over drinks by two real estate innovators used to sitting on opposite sides of the negotiating table.

Lydia was a first-year law and MBA student at Tulane University with a passion for justice and fairness. As she immersed herself in the New Orleans entrepreneurial community, a chip remained on her shoulder: a missing security deposit, which her landlord never returned. Knowing the strength of her case, she took her landlord to court, and thanks to the time-stamped photos she took when moving out, she won. However, the experience imparted on her the uphill battle tenants can face trying to get restitution without access to legal expertise.

Marco was a Navy officer managing rental properties across multiple states. In the Navy, he was taught the importance of integrity, transparency, and doing what was right. But Marco found that the same values weren’t being upheld in the property management field. He knew there had to be a better way of conducting this work.

Enter, Lydia. They crossed paths while getting their MBAs at Tulane. She wanted to prevent deposit disputes, and he wanted streamlined property documentation. She understood the resident, and he understood the property manager. Their combined perspectives resulted in RentCheck: a property management tool that guides users through an easy and organized inspection process with just their smartphone.

In 2019, RentCheck was accepted into the Techstars accelerator, and in 2020, Lydia was welcomed into the inaugural Female Founders First accelerator by Barclays and Techstars and named a rising star in real estate by Business Insider. Marco won Veteran Shark Tank in 2020. But to this day, the RentCheck mission remains the same: to make renting fair and transparent for everyone involved.

Loved this podcast? Check out the next episode:

5 Minutes in Multifamily | Episode 9 | Featuring Brandy Daniel, VP of Business Intelligence, BH Management Services

Want to be our next guest? Contact [email protected].

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Liat Kozuch
May 26, 2022
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