Seeing Property Preservation in a Different Light
Steve Whetzel II is a friend to houses.
He has spent much of his life in the construction business, taking care to build quality structures that will last well into the future. But as we know, houses that once had bright futures can quickly fall into disrepair because of owner neglect. So years back Whetzel decided to expand his scope and commit himself to helping these homes rebound. His goal — to see foreclosed homes regain their value and to increase their potential lifespans.
Whetzel is the owner of Paramount Asset Management, a company that provides inspection, preservation, rehabilitation and repair services for the Default Mortgage Industry. Paramount is considered a regional company, offering services across eight primary states. When Whetzel started into the field in 2005, he knew there was the possibility of making revenue, but he also saw the opportunity of being part of something meaningful. He saw that there was a need.
“It’s easy to tear things down,” states Whetzel, commenting on a culture that sometimes views homes as disposable. “I see the need for these houses to be cared for.”
In describing this type of care, Whetzel uses words like “protected” and “nurtured.” It’s that type of “TLC” for houses that has been overlooked by some companies in the industry. Whetzel indicated that this may have led to the negative stigma the property preservation field received — a kind of “Wild West” atmosphere. It was this characterization of the industry he wanted to change when he entered the field. In fact, “Change is Paramount” is a motto of the company that capsulizes his drive to revitalize this industry.
“It’s easy to tear things down. I see the need for these houses to be cared for.” — Steve Whetzel, Paramount Asset Management
So what does “change” look like in practice? For one, it is seeing the house that is being serviced as one whole entity. Paramount takes comprehensive photos at every site, and does a full scope write-up -- even if the workers are only called to do a few simple jobs. Whetzel said that many contractors miss opportunities to complete jobs to help the homes by rushing or not taking the time to view the house as a whole. The photos Paramount employees take can be used later if bids are needed for such jobs.
Another way to view a foreclosed home in a different light is see it as an asset to be improved, not just stabilized. A good way to increase the worth of the home is to make sure repair jobs are done right the first time. Paramount typically uses specialized tradesmen to do these specific jobs so that houses receive the quality work they need to meet health and safety standards.
What Paramount looks for when hiring contractors
Change also comes from hiring highly-qualified contractors. “Out Work, Out Grind, Out Hustle,” is another one of the company’s mottos, and to find workers who buy into that vision, Whetzel has a seasoned recruiter who understands the nuances of the job and the attributes workers need. Prospective candidates fill out a questionnaire and are placed in the service area where they fit the best. Whetzel said they like people who have experience in a trade, but not necessarily the property preservation business, as Paramount can train workers for the areas where they need them. Paramount also will only accept contractors who have an IC01 or IC02 status with Aspen Grove.
Paramount particularly looks for candidates who have had long tenures at their past jobs, and who are invested in the community in which they will work. Every year Paramount gives performance improvement training to employees in each state they service. Testing includes being able to successfully handle work orders quickly and accurately. Since different property holders have different standards, Whetzel said that Paramount trains its workers to handle the most difficult orders out there. Even though he knows good contractors can be hard to find, he will share the names of quality workers with his competitors — for the sake of the houses.
“It’s all about the property,” he says. “It’s all about the asset.”
Another way Paramount is improving the state of the industry is how they care for their employees. In Whetzel’s extensive rock climbing experience, he learned you never climb alone, and he applies that same sentiment to business. He realizes any success he has achieved is because of the hard work from his employees, whom he speaks of like family.
“I am just a catalyst,” he said of his role.
Whetzel remembers how helpful MFS Supply was when he first began building his property preservation business and things were moving rapidly. He said the sales manager he worked with was very patient, and since Whetzel considers himself a “people-person” this kind of treatment impressed him.
“We love being a partner with MFS Supply,” he said.
He said the company supplies quality products that are also affordable, and when they have had issues, MFS Supply has switched out the product without hesitation.
Paramount has doubled its business model each year. Whetzel is looking forward to continued growth, but in a controlled way, so that the quality of service can remain the same. He said that if necessary, they could even slow down a bit to make sure the excellent service given to every home is not compromised.