Skilled Professionals in Every Aspect of Property Management
Melchior Management 777 Corporation of Barrie, Ontario owns and manages a large portfolio of residential and commercial properties. These successful properties stand as clear confirmation that good property management doesn’t cost – it pays. And it has its perks.
“In the summer months, we hire an ice cream truck to pull up to our residential apartment buildings to offer free ice cream. Then we send it around to our commercial buildings for our clients there,” says Dino Melchior, President and Founder of Melchior Management 777 Corporation. “This is a tangible tenant touch that improves retention and satisfaction.”
It’s a telling story.
Property under Melchior management includes 1,500 residential units and 600,000 square feet of commercial plazas, professional offices, and medical buildings throughout Ontario.
Services include: superintendent labour sourcing, contract management and coordination, supplies and equipment purchasing, third-party insurance protection, and coordination of paralegal services. The company also provides numerous financial services such as income collection, AP and AR services, budget preparation, quarterly reporting, and invoice management.
In addition, the company owns and invests in residential and commercial properties with its investor clients where it garners long-term, sustainable returns on investments.
In 2013 Melchior Management 777 was recognized by the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO) as the first company in Barrie to meet the property management requirements of the Certified Rental Building Program, and to bring the CRB-APPROVED status to its properties. In 2019, the company was recognized as CRB Program Member of the Year.
“As if we lived there”
To gain this credential, a company must adhere to defined high standards in building maintenance and tenant relations.
“We’ve always had the philosophy of maintaining the building as if we lived there,” says Dino.
“We have a steady, progressive pace and an honest and practical approach to service delivery,” says Gordon Menzies, Director of Property Management. “That kind of approach sometimes gets lost in the corporate gloss of our larger competitors.” Gordon came from a larger corporate competitor himself but prefers working for a smaller company.
“Since I moved to join Dino’s team, I see a real difference from the high-end corporate gloss where you often lose the personal touch, and in many instances a simple sense of practicality.”
Large property-management firms can be so far removed from their clients that residents feel neglected. Moreover, it can take a long time to solve a problem, as requests have to trickle up and then back down before something such as a major repair is dealt with.
Larger firms can also be stuck on looking at everything through a profit lens, complicating matters further. “It’s not always about the financial approach,” says Gordon, “sometimes it’s just good creative thinking.”
Understanding what’s happening on the ground, and having compassionate but practical people managing buildings, is key to Dino’s team. “The company culture began and continues with a positive, family-oriented atmosphere, and because of this, employee fit is important to us,” says Gordon.
Melchior Management trains its property managers as well as superintendents and field staff in safety and tenant relations. In case of emergencies, all of Melchior’s property managers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and are always up to date in training.
The high standards used to recruit and train mangers are rooted in Dino’s perspective on creating community. “I think everyone should give back to the community. We’ve been blessed that we can give a lot financially, but I think everyone should give. It doesn’t have to be money, it can be time.”
True to Dino’s word, Melchior Management once fund-raised $450,000 to enlarge a hospital cancer wing and help expand services at the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health in the Barrie area. This initiative was partly inspired by a tenant.
“We had a resident with schizophrenia, and there was little service in the Barrie area to serve them. I found it very troubling to see a family suffer like that.”
Dino puts trust in his management team, and company leadership also feels that the level of communication within Melchior’s management is one of the keys to its success.
Another key is the natural assigning of roles within the company. His staff are specialists who immerse themselves in the nitty-gritty of their jobs, while Dino is a generalist who ties it all together.
The idea was implanted in Dino’s thinking many years ago. “One thing I never forgot from university is to analyze your skills and honestly ask, ‘What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses?’”
This is the ‘magic sauce’ to the business model that Melchior serves up. The company has shown again and again that it understands good investments and acts on them. “Having detail-oriented employees makes all the difference. I’d be lost without them on my team,” Dino says.
Dino has always had an eye for valuable properties to manage and flip, and over time, he built a small group of property investors across Ontario and at one point in Alberta. But there was one defeat that challenged his preconceived notions. Dino had a setback early on that transformed how he conducted business thereafter.
In the 90s, after almost a decade of success, Dino expanded his investments to include commercial properties in Alberta. He found a property that his co-investors were keen to buy. “I hadn’t done a lot of work in commercial properties at that point, so I put a lot of trust in them. My gut was telling me it wasn’t a good investment, but I didn’t know why.”
The investors had decades more experience than him, so understandably, he followed their lead. After the acquisition of the property, the major tenant renting the office space packed up and left, and soon the remaining tenants followed. It was a telling loss – $1.5 million collectively – and something Dino has never forgotten. “Now I listen to my gut. If something isn’t feeling right, I walk away.”
Getting it right
The pain of the lesson has paid off. Dino invests with people he knows well and never goes against his gut. At the end of 2019, Dino’s team expanded into new ways to bring returns to investors by creating and beginning the transition toward Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT), which is ongoing.
“A client said to me, ‘You’re our retirement. If you believe this REIT is going to be good, we’re all for it. You’ve never steered us wrong,’” says Dino.
“We’re currently taking all the properties and rolling them into a private REIT,” explains Dino, “instead of one person owning ten per cent of one building, you’re now going to own a smaller percentage of a larger pie.”
As with Dino’s entire business, it’s all about measured growth.
Dino’s right hand, Thomas Bristow, Vice President of Operations, says, “At Melchior Management we are investing in people, processes and technology with the intent of meeting the changing demands of our target marketplaces. We look to improve and evolve our operational efficiencies while we poise ourselves in the best possible fashion for further growth.”
Dino agrees. “Our philosophy is simple. We understand that the motivating factor behind ownership of every income-producing property is in adding value. We apply our specialized knowledge and skills to maximize returns while using every opportunity to enhance the capital value of every property we manage.”
When investing in properties, Melchior conducts a stringent analysis. This includes an assessment of building conditions, an environmental assessment, and a follow-up appraisal by Colliers International, who uses the assessments to determine the cost of any deferred maintenance.
Close to the heart
Dino is doing well by his investors and his community, including one cause that is very close to his heart. “I’m very interested in donating to stop violence against women and children,” says Dino. “In 2011 a good friend of mine was murdered by her husband and it really touched me,” he shares.
“I got more involved with a women’s shelter six years ago and we became their main corporate sponsor for Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, a fundraising event.” The shelter raises around fifty thousand each year.
“Being an annual giver to Royal LePage, we give to the shelter each year,” Dino continues. “Last year they did a major renovation where they needed around $350,000. Through Royal LePage we provided forty-five to fifty thousand. Most of that I did personally.”
Mother of the Year
Melchior has received many awards since its inception, but its proudest month was December of 2019 when it won Certified Rental Building Member of the Year and Property Manager of the Year from the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO).
There was more to it. “My mother won Property Manager of the Year. She’s 85 years old and she still comes in to work,” says Dino. “I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of getting an award or an achievement than my mother getting this at the age of 85.”
To Dino, the best part of the award was seeing the happiness it gave his mother, which seems to fit the type of son – and manager – he is. He’s delighted when his investors are getting the sort of returns on their investments that can help them retire early. And he’s also happy to help those in need.
Melchior Management takes a practical approach to solving problems with a personal approach to people. Contact Dino, Thomas or Gordon if you are interested in investing, selling, or hiring their services for residential or commercial properties.