September 14, 2007
Esparza created SmartProperty.com as a Web-based tool to help real estate developers, property managers and owners better manage property assets, maintenance schedules and associated operations. He got the idea after working in his family’s 20-year-old real estate budget consulting business.
Why does your company exist?
I saw how most real estate professionals still use a pad and pencil to keep tabs on maintenance and replacement schedules – and the pain that comes from it. These “hip check” maneuvers lead many property owners to underfund their assets and expose them to increased liability risk, unexpected special assessment fees and lower property values. I wondered, “Why can’t we create a Web platform that helps homeowners and property managers know and properly plan for these expenses?” With that, SmartProperty was launched in July.
What about your job keeps you up at night?
People. I hear all the time with startups that it’s about the people who you bring aboard, and it’s 100 percent true. To that end, I have been very focused on ensuring I hire the right people who are passionate and excited about what we’re accomplishing.
What aspects of your job do you brag about?
We recently signed up a publicly traded home builder who will be using our services for several of its new projects. But probably what I enjoy most is sharing the vision of SmartProperty.com with real estate professionals and owners. It’s very rewarding when I visit a new prospect and show them our Web tools, and the light bulb goes on when they realize I can help them do their job better and save them time. I know their pain, having worked for my family’s real estate budget consulting business. So it’s really good to know you had a hand in making their professional life a little easier.
Has the U.S. debt crunch/mortgage crisis affected your business?
I think it’s indirectly helped get our foot in the door at some real estate developments. The current lending crunch has resulted in increased foreclosures, reduced homeowner assessment collections and lower real estate values for many areas. We’ve been able to show that SmartProperty.com can help property owners get the most for their home by keeping a more accurate maintenance and budget schedule. Many times, a property development takes a big hit in their cash accounts because they didn’t accurately forecast replacement costs, and property owners already reeling from lower valuations are now hit with an unexpected special assessment fee. We can address this and show such groups a quick and significant return on their investment.
Tell us something interesting about yourself.
I completed a half Ironman triathlon in Northern California this past July after training for nearly four months. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done, and it taught me a lot about determination and perseverance – two things that I believe are critical to success. The biggest thing I learned, though, is to enjoy the ride while you’re on it.
– Bruce V. Bigelow