In early 2010 Chris Rachuba, in his capacity as President of The Community Builders Foundation- The charitable arm of the Home Builders Association of Maryland, was approached by the TV show, Extreme Makeover Home Edition about building a home for a local charity. That charity was Boys Hope Girls Hope of Baltimore. This organization empowers children, who want to succeed, to break cycles of poverty by providing year-round family-like homes, a first-rate education, opportunities, and support through college. Through his contacts and the help of the Home Builders Association of Maryland, Chris was able to organize over 100 local subcontractors, suppliers and craftsman and over 4,500 volunteers to build an 11,000-square foot home for girls. Although the planning stage of the project was over 3 months, the actual build was over a period of 11 days in August of 2010. The build and the home was featured as the season premiere of the ABC show Extreme Makeover Home Edition for 2010. To this day, Chris is actively involved with the organization.
A Regional Bank owned a property in Catonsville. The original developer had defaulted on the property and the Bank needed someone to build on the 8 home sites. The lots required some imagination. Rachuba worked with the bank’s sales and marketing company to develop models and features that would be adaptive to the lots. Rachuba ultimately completed some minor development work and built 8 homes on the lots. After completion Rachuba worked with the bank to close out the project and turn the roads and open spaces over to Baltimore County.
After successfully completing the Bank-owned property in Catonsville project, Rachuba was approached by a nearby land owner to help finalize development, create product and build homes. Rachuba picked up the project of 6 duplex units half way through the engineering process and worked with engineers and county officials to have the lots recorded. Rachuba ultimately performed the site work and built houses for the owners of the land protecting their investment and maximizing profit.
Rachuba was contacted by the owners of InSight Community, who were looking to make an investment in a building in Towson. The building would serve as home for their businesses as well as offer shared office space for local companies. After a short feasibility period the decision was made to purchase the building and renovate. Rachuba worked with the owners and local engineers and subcontractors to completely gut and renovate the 8,400-square foot building. After 3 months of work the building was completed by Rachuba and the marketing efforts of the two owners had the building 100% occupied within 2 months of completion.
An investor owns a 400+ unit multi-family property in Windsor Mill. He was receiving monthly financial reports from his Property Management Company, but was not getting any operations reports or information on capital improvements. He regularly asked for updates and site tours, but this Property Management Company was not responsive to his requests. He knew there was deferred maintenance, high vacancies and high delinquency. His cash flow had been decent, but that was because the Property Manager ignored his requests to reinvest in the property. He needed to make a change but was unsure where to go. He asked Rachuba for advice, and he ultimately hired Rachuba to manage his property.
Rachuba discovered that vacancy loss exceeded 9% and the property suffered an additional 3% loss of revenue due to rent concessions. It was obvious that rent concessions were necessary because the property looked tired and dated. Rachuba worked very closely with the property owner to develop and implement a deferred maintenance and capital improvement plan. This effort worked well. Over a three-year period, vacancy dropped below 5%, concessions were just about eliminated and total revenue increased 20%.
Rachuba is the Property Manager for a 600+ unit apartment community in Pikesville. The Owner asked Rachuba to be cautious in spending because cash flow was the most important factor for them. That worked well for a long time.
Recently, Rachuba advised the Owner that maintaining the current status is leaving the property behind. Most other communities in the area were investing in upgrades and residents started requesting better finishes. We advised the Owner that this is occurring because of a general shift in people’s thoughts on housing. No longer are people renting because they have to. More and more people are choosing to rent, and requesting high quality kitchens and bathrooms.
Still, the Owner was unsure about making the investment. The main concern is cash flow. Rachuba researched some options and developed projections so the Owner could understand the pluses and minuses of the project. Rachuba’s projections showed that the investment would result in the following improvements to Net Operating Income in 5 years: (1) Revenue would increase 12%; (2) expenses would actually decrease by 6%; (3) Net Operating Income would increase 67%; and (4) net cash flow would increase 171%. These projections allowed the Owner to make an informed decision about the future of the Property.