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Ontario Property Management Group (OPMG)


Kim B. Overbye President/CEO

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Ontario Property Management Group Inc. (OPMG)

www.opmg.ca


Managing Growth, Building Communities Managing Growth, Building Communities

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OPMG PLEDGE OPMG strives to improve the lives of residents and boards with a hassle-free, professional experience. This mission is driven by the following core values and principles: 1. Act with integrity in all business dealings 2. Improve curb appeal 3. Provide safe and affordable co-operative and non-profit communities 4. Actively engage all stakeholders 5. Strive to maintain low vacancy rates 6

Ontario Property Management Group Inc. (OPMG)

From the laundry room to a corner office, Kim B. Overbye has spent his thirty-plus year career learning every aspect of the property management trade. Now, as founder and owner of Ontario Property Management Group Inc. (OPMG), he’s using those decades of handson experience to build one of Canada’s largest property management firms. “I’ve still got a long way to go before I retire and we’re only getting started,” says Overbye, enjoying the view from the company’s headquarters in Markham, Ontario. Overbye’s optimism is well earned, and the product of decades of self-taught experience through both the hospitality sector and the property management industry. It began with his first part-time job in Mississauga,

Ontario at the age of 16, where Overbye worked with his mother in a laundry room of a busy hotel. Here, he spent summers, evenings, and weekends learning the ins and outs of the business, spending time as night auditor, front desk representative, and many other roles. Overbye’s parents later separated, motivating him to leave high school and re-enter the www.opmg.ca


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hospitality industry to support his mother and two brothers. The following years saw him rise through the ranks in a number of prominent Toronto hotels before getting married in 1992 and deciding to try something new. “The restaurant and hotel business is very rewarding, but it also takes its toll. I got to a point where I didn’t want to do it anymore, and that was around the same time a friend of mine who was in property management approached me and said, ‘Why don’t you join me and figure out this property management thing together?’” Eager to apply his experience to a fresh career path, Overbye left the hotel business and dove head-first into growing a new property management business with his friend and partner. The pair parted ways a few years later, leaving Overbye free to take the next big plunge and launch OPMG in 2003. “I realized at the time there were a lot of things missing in property management service; the biggest being the concept of ‘service’,” he recalls. “Drawing from my hotel background, I recognized that our residents needed to be treated more like repeat customers, and that our clients’ board of directors needed to be treated with more respect, provided with more information, and have far greater transparency.” Managing Growth, Building Communities

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“We thank OPMG for all the improvements our property managers have made to make our co-op a better place! They have done some amazing things for all of us living here, and have made an impact on all the noises and disturbances. We do appreciate all the steps you have taken – keep up the good work!” — Marilyn & Lou

IN-HOUSE PARALEGAL In 2014, OMPG established an in-house paralegal department to provide key legal services to managed clients new and old. “Having a legal department in a property management company is very valuable to our clients since we are only a quick phone call away from professional legal advice, and our clients don’t have to deal with the hassle of scheduling appointments with lawyers, which can cost time and money,” explains Mayra Sawicki, a seasoned law practitioner and Manager of OPMG’s paralegal department. In addition to expert legal advice, the paralegal department helps clients navigate a number of legal challenges and demands, including – but not limited to – the following: • Landlord and tenant board matters (LTB) arrears, persistent late payments, and unreasonable enjoyment, etc. • Enforcement of eviction orders • Small claims court i.e, collections • Enforcement of judgments • Demand letters • Commissioning of documents • Service of legal documents “We make sure our clients’ issues are dealt with in a professional manner from beginning to end,” insists Sawicki. “Here, answers can be provided immediately because our legal department is fully aware of all of the managed sites’ processes and their daily routines since we, as the property management company, also establish the process that should be followed. Because of this, we are able to provide all possible scenarios as to how things can potentially turn out, and then let the client decide how they’d like to move forward.” With services priced at just two-thirds the standard industry rate, OPMG’s paralegal department has been well received by both its property stakeholders and its growing list of new clients. In turn, the department has contributed greatly to OPMG’s growth by contributing over $250,000 in annual revenue. “Clients love the department because they’re saving a lot of money, and the process for them is so much faster compared to an outside firm because they’re working with a team who is already managing their property, meaning the flow of information is instantaneous,” explains Overbye. Surely, since it’s introduction just two years ago, OPMG’s paralegal department has helped define the company’s role in the industry, as well as helped its clients protect their most valuable assets. “We are passionate about what we do, who we represent and the values as to why we represent them,” says Sawicki, noting, “We are eager to obtain positive results that are in favor for both parties, and we really take the time and care to ensure any minor details are managed, in every circumstance. We wouldn’t have it any other way. At OPMG, we never compromise our principles.”

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Ontario Property Management Group Inc. (OPMG)

“In the end, I felt the industry was missing the ‘people’ side of the business, so that’s what I wanted to bring back,” he adds. This philosophy gave OPMG a running start when it arrived on the property management scene. In 2004, Overbye and his modest team of four signed its first client, HOPE Cooperative Homes in Newmarket – a client that has remained with OPMG since – and from there set a number of milestones. In 2004, for example, OPMG acquired its second client with over 300 units, Toronto’s Upwood Park Homes. Then, in 2006, it crossed the million dollar revenue threshold for the first time. “Our revenue growth is something I’m particularly proud of because it’s grown every single year. There hasn’t been a single year where we have not had revenue growth at 15-plus per cent, and some years it’s been much higher,” reports Overbye. In 2008, OPMG set another benchmark with the formation of its own Advisory Board of Directors. Later, in 2014, it distinguished itself further by establishing an in-house paralegal department with the intent of offering greater value for its growing network of clients. “We recognized that everyone in the industry was paying a fortune for paralegal services that shouldn’t be that expensive,” explains Overbye. “We wanted to offer those same expert services at two-thirds the going rate, and that strategy has paid off for everyone. Over the two years that department has been open, it’s seen huge growth to the point 5% percent of company’s overall revenue.” As for the company’s growth in whole, OPMG currently manages over 5,500 units for 40 clients; many of which are properties in the social housing space. This includes City Park Co-operative Apartments, the largest of its kind in Canada consisting of www.opmg.ca


770 units and one of downtown Toronto’s oldest high-rise buildings. Recalling OPMG’s evolution over the years, Overbye says his team’s success is linked to the client-centred philosophy that drove him from the start: “Our goal has always been about building genuine and honest client relations, as well as making positive changes for everyone who lives in our properties. We understand our clients are not a number; they’re actually real people with real problems and need whatever help we can provide them.” SERVICE PHILOSOPHY For OPMG, fostering long and fruitful client relationships means offering a full spread of customizable services. To that end, it offers industry-leading expertise in building maintenance, financial, legal, and administration, project management, and board education. “Our mission is to provide services that exceed the requirements and expectations of our clients by accurately assessing the needs through extensive communication,” says Vanessa Ly, OPMG’s Managing Director, who has been with the company since its inception. “We attain the highest quality of results in a timely, cost-effective manner while exhibiting total honesty, integrity, and ethical practices that are always open to scrutiny.” Surely, OPMG leaves no stone unturned. It’s building maintenance services include 24-hour emergency coverage, regular building and property inspections, preventative maintenance programs, and staffing and workload strategies; while its administrative and financial expertise include complete in-house accounting services, the preparation of annual operating and capital budgets, and reserve fund investing, to name a few. Elsewhere, the company offers its OPMG Board Education series of training modules for condo board members as well as a suite of project management services that

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“We have had Ontario Property Management Group manage our property for eight years and are pleased with the progress we have made working with them. The company is always visible at conferences each year and assists us with community events when requested. They have also been responsive to staffing changes when the board felt it was necessary. I would highly recommend this company as they offer value for your dollar.” — Jaqueline, President, Northview Meadows

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THE OPMG TEAM “I have been doing this for 15 years. I started as a administrator, worked up to a manager, and now work as a senior property manager — and my career doesn’t stop here. I personally like dealing with people and doing something different everyday. Our work isn’t routine and there’s always an opportunity to grow.” — Maninder Kalirai, OPMG Property Senior Manager

include budget preparation and planning, audit preparation, community development initiatives, by-law and policy reviews, and much more. Looking ahead, Overbye aims to expand upon these services even further and adopt a more tech-savvy approach. “All of our accounting services are now online, and we’re in the process of making it so that all of our reporting processes to the board of directors are too. Soon, all of our board members will have electronic devices, and everything from unit inspections to property reports will be available in real time.” Speaking to the need to stay current on the latest needs and technologies, he adds, “As our clients become more sophisticated we

Moby Bukhari Property Manager Linda Trieu Administration Manager Maninder Kalirai Senior Property Manager Mohammad Siddiqui Senior Property Manager

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Ontario Property Management Group Inc. (OPMG)

www.opmg.ca


have to become more sophisticated. Our goal is to try to stay two steps ahead of our clients in terms of sophistication and four steps ahead of our competitors.”

service program that accurately meets their requirements and expectations,” notes Ly, adding, “It’s all about getting it right and doing it right.”

With all these services combined, OPMG embraces a full service approach equipped with the industry-leading professionals and tools to cater to all aspects of the business.

AN EXPERT TEAM OPMG’s approach to client service has attracted clients from across the region. Moreover, it’s helped create a loyal team of 100-plus property management professionals; some of which, like Ly, have been working under the OPMG banner since it first opened.

“OPMG’s expert staff are highly trained, attentive, and action oriented. They use their skills and new technologies to ensure the smooth and effective operation of our clients’ properties and work with those clients to understand their unique needs and tailor a

Managing Growth, Building Communities

“We spend an enormous amount of resources on staff and we do that because we

believe site staff alone cannot transmit our operating philosophy on how we feel about our company and our clients,” she says. Those resources include ongoing staff training opportunities via in-house education programs, expert presentations, and paid industry training. It also includes OPMG’s tailor-made Customer Service Training Program, which it designed in collaboration with a leading consultation company. “We value growth for our employees as this creates opportunities for career development and improves productively. This keeps our team members motivated and engaged in

Special Supplement to Canadian Apartment Magazine

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Rabia Butt Human Resources Vanessa Ly Managing Director

their roles,” says Rabia Butt, OPMG’s Human Resource Administrator. Staff are further invited to participate in yearly Employee Satisfaction Surveys and share their opinions and ideas with management through regular focus groups and meetings. Outside of the office, OPMG also holds annual staff functions, such as luncheons and holiday parties, to further reward their team. “OPMG recognizes the importance of celebrating employee’s hard work and performance,” notes Butt, adding, “That includes the small gestures like sending birthday and anniversary cards, Mothers/ Fathers day gifts for staff, holding employee appreciation events, and keeping up our employee Wall of Fame program.” Recently, OPMG’s HR department took another team-building step by introducing the HRIS System, a technology designed to encourage greater communication and connectivity between OPMG employees no matter their role or location.

NAVIGATING CHALLENGES New rules, shrinking talent pools, and ever-changing client demographics are just some the challenges faced by those in the property management field. And while OPMG endeavours to stay two steps ahead of industry obstacles, it is always tasked with finding solutions. One such challenge is simply finding the right talent in an industry where trained and experienced property management personal are becoming a rare commodity. To that end, OPMG invests heavily in finding tomorrow’s talent, training them for the realities of the industry, and keeping them invested in the company. “Our employees are our greatest assets, so we’re always implementing changes to retain the ones that are with us now, and find new talent to grow our team,” says Overbye. Another challenge is simply keeping pace with the industry’s ever-evolving policies and regulations. Herein, Overbye adds OPMG focuses its staff training initiatives and keeping its team up to speed. “The largest challenge is keeping up with the various provincial and municipal legislation. Our staff are constantly being trained going through training processes familiarizing themselves with new policies and procedures.” Turning to its clients, today’s boards and residents are constantly facing funding challenges and contending with a system that only seems to get harder. According to Ly, this puts OPMG in a position to effect real change. “We believe the biggest challenge facing social housing is primarily the lack of fundings for capital repairs. Due to aging and deteriorating building, our government is not able to provide enough fundings to fund these types of projects. OPMG is able to assist our clients in refinancing of their mortgage and work-out loan allowing one of our client to be able to contribute $500,000 to its reserves and annually operating surplus of $250,000.”

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Ontario Property Management Group Inc. (OPMG)

Altogether, these employee development initiatives have helped to foster a team that is both loyal to OPMG and equipped to tackle the complexities of property management. “Our staff is expected to exceed clients’ expectations, however, they are also provided with the tools, coaching, clear and concise position descriptions and job expectations to accomplish that task. No employee is asked to do for clients what their leadership is not prepared to do for them,” says Ly, noting, “OPMG uses the same ethics of honesty, respect and transparency with employees as they do managing client properties, because at the end of the day, the OPMG team will either succeed or fail together.” Maninder Kalirai, a 13-year veteran property manager with OPMG agrees, adding, “We work similar to a family setting ... We pride ourselves on our knowledge and combined experience together, and are always happy to assist any team member when needed regardless of our current roles. That’s what makes us different.” COMMUNITY FOCUS From the moment it signed its first coop housing client, OPMG has been committed to enhancing the lives of social housing residents and becoming leaders within their communities. This ongoing mission is reflected in the company’s many outreach efforts, which are led at the ground level by property managers like Moby. www.opmg.ca


“OPMG’s philosophy when building communities is to develop long-term relationships with the community, based on guidance and service with integrity,” says Moby, a 10-year veteran property manager with OPMG. “These points are important to OPMG because it improves the lives of the residents through professional standards, personalized assistance, and a commitment to stakeholder’s interests. Plus, by enabling a wide variety of opportunities for the residents, this empowers the community by having access to the right resources to reach higher.” Within his properties alone, Moby oversees initiatives like summer barbecues, building fundraisers, garage sales, bingo nights, movie nights, and holiday brunches. Elsewhere, other OPMG property managers have implemented breakfast programs for children, winter coats program for community members in need, and a number of initiatives aimed at getting tenants more invested in the the appearance and sustainability of their homes. For example, says Kalirai, “One of our buildings has accessible funds, but limited their budget for landscape, so we as a company provided materials and a donation for this year’s landscape committee in order to maintain the community feel of building gardens together.” Equally notable is OPMG’s home-grown scholarship program. Run in association with the Cooperative Housing Federation of Toronto, it provides funding for youth who live in social housing to attend college or university. The event raises between $100k-200k annually, $15,000 of which comes through a personal donation from Overbye, and $15,000 from OPMG. “Education is a real thing for me, because I had to leave high school to support my

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“OPMG’s team works together to ensure that our clients gets the quality of service they deserve. Each has their quality control and management aspects to ensure that the job is done on time and accurately, and we constantly provide feedback and comments to each staff members/team members to enhance our quality of work and achievement.” — Linda Trieu, OPMG Administration Manager family. So for me, it’s really important for children to receive a good education so they can better themselves,” says Overbye, reporting, “We’ve had students who lived in social housing on welfare who have benefitted from our program and gone on to become doctors, lawyers, and amazing contributors to society.”

environment. And while the “success” of the programs is tough to show in numbers, it is nonetheless seen in the growth of the people and their communities.

“I feel that these community events have resulted in an increase of community development because it brings local residents together by increasing encounters between No doubt, OPMG’s community events and members,” says Moby. “By doing so, an the green initiative foster teamwork and co- increase of cohesion between members 1 2016-04-28 and valued12:27 in operation, CompleteBuildingServices_OPMG_CAM_Supplement_2016_FINAL.pdf respect towards others and the allow them to feel included

the community. Likewise, these community events not only foster respect between members, but also respect for the company because of its dedicated involvement and exceptional management of the community.” FUTURE PLANS It’s been years since Overbye first dipped his toes into the world of property management. Now, with his own family of 100-plus industry professionals, he’s moving forward with plans to build on OPMG’s momentum through new opportunities, acquisitions, and industry partnerships. “We’ve been managing real estate for Deloitte and Touche for over a decade, so we’re very familiar with what big corporations require and we’re looking to start more relationships like this,” he says. Ultimately, he adds, OPMG’s goal is to have 10,000 units under management by the end of the decade – a volume that will place it within the top 10 largest property management firms in Canada. With eyes forward and his team at his back, he says, “I’m proud of who we are, and I’m very PMconfident we’ll get there.”

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