Outdoor summer entertainment and recreation opportunities make Bay City feel like home

Drew Loomis is the property manager for MDL Companies. Loomis grew up in Cass City, moving into the Bay City area to study marketing and business management at Northwood College. After graduation, he chose to stay in the area and work with his uncle, Mike. At just 25 years old, Looms aims to help residents find a place to call home. Drew loves to golf and go boating.

Q. What brought you to this community?

A. I've always had family in the area ­– grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I ended up going to school here as well. So those are the two main drivers that started me off here. And I’m still close to family, it’s only 45 minutes away from my hometown, Cass City.

Q. Tell me about your business. What do you do?

I manage our rentals, which is for third party and our own. Apartments, houses for rent, I oversee all of that. I assist with project management as well.

A. Who all moves into your properties?

A. A huge portion of our tenants are individuals fresh out of college. They have their first full-time job and are excited to move into their first place and live in the area. Downtown Bay City can be as cool as they want it to be, but people still need to feel good about the place they live and we play a big role in offering them a place that they feel good about.

Q. What does your average workday look like? What makes a good day for you?

A. That’s my favorite part about this job, it's different every day. There are different obstacles of overseeing the properties each month, such as working with the tenants, creating payment plans, collecting rent, leasing, and vacancies. I make sure repairs are getting done, maintenance, and lawn care. And once a tenant moves out, we fix it all up and flip the unit. Then it starts all over again the next month. The best feeling is getting the units leased. When the tenant moves in, I get their move-in survey back. And when they're happy, that's the most satisfying thing for me.

Q. When COVID-19 first hit, how did it impact your business?

A. COVID was difficult because rent was still due, but we were very understanding of everyone’s individual situation and we tried to work with our tenants as much as possible. At the same time, the rent is still out and that was probably my least favorite stretch of my job. I like to make everyone happy, so that was kind of a lose-lose situation. COVID was really hard mentally for that reason.

Q. Were you able to keep on a lot of the people that you had?

A. We were, yes. We stayed above the national averages for rental properties. We tried a lot of different ideas to work with the tenants and we had good success with it. We offered gift cards, waived late fees, and structured specific payment plans. If their lease was up, we allowed them to sign a new lease with their back rent built in, kind of a 12-month payment plan.

Q. How is your business positioned to succeed in the post-COVID world?

A. This experience has helped guide and structure MDL property management as a whole, because it forced us to do new things. For example, self-showings are what we incorporated during that time. We had units sitting there that we couldn’t show, but we knew people still needed to find a place to live. People interested in leasing one of our properties could go online and request a showing. They are sent a 30-minute code for an electronic lock box and they can view the property on their own. We are using a software so we can post and communicate with our tenants. We've set it up where our tenants don’t have to come to us personally. Payments, leases, and maintenance requests are all made online now.  Of course, there are some that don’t prefer online methods, so we are trying to come up with best of both worlds, which is not easy.

Q. Where do you hope to see yourself and your business in the coming years?

A. I plan on staying in the area. We overlook Center and Washington avenues and I've had fun watching how they close that street down in the summers. All of the Tri-Cities are really trying to make this a cool place to live and I've had a ton of fun watching the city do that. I want to help with that process in regards to the units that we manage, because I have fun fixing places up and seeing how it helps contribute to the area.