Better Homes Realty did not acquire all the property management accounts of Hugh T. Peck Properties, as implied in an article in last Saturday's Real Estate Section, but only those of Hugh T. Peck Properties of Virginia Inc.
Better Homes Realty Inc. has reached agreement to buy all of Panorama Realty Inc.'s property management accounts, on about 200 properties in the Washington area, Better Homes President Thomas Shafran said this week.
Shafran declined to say how much Better Homes paid for Panorama's management contracts. Most of the properties are in Northern Virginia, though some are in the District and Maryland, he said.
The McLean-based Panorama recently decided to scale back its operations, getting entirely out of the business of selling single-family homes and focusing instead on sales of commercial properties and condominiums. The firm also plans to close most of its 11 offices and to reduce its staff from about 350 to 20.
Panorama decided to retrench after it suffered losses on its residential sales operations, and some local real estate experts have predicted that other firms will have to take similar actions unless there is an unexpected upturn in housing soon.
Better Homes, also based in Northern Virginia, has taken a different tack in dealing with the depression in the home buying market, and an increase in its property management operation is part of it, Better Homes officials indicated.
"Rather than just sitting and waiting for sales to come in, we are doing something to bring the cash in," said Mark Tracv, vice president of leasing and management. "This shows that we are more diversified."
Tracv also said that the firm has decided that now is a good time to expand rather than contract. It plans to open another two or three offices in the next three or four months, he said.
Over the past year, Better Homes has bought the management contracts of five other realty firms in addition to Panorama--Hugh T. Peck Properties, M. H. Barry, Jos. W. Seay Co., Pittarelli Realty Inc. and Viron Realty Inc.--Tracv said. With its latest acquisition, Better Homes will manage about 850 properties in this area, he added.
Individual homeowners who want to rent out their houses or condominiums but do not want to deal with collecting rent or making repairs sometimes turn these management functions over to realty firms for a fee. Travc said Better Homes take a percentage of 5 to 10 percent of the rent, depending on the property.
Travc said that the 200 Panorama properties, valued at about $20 million, will gross about $150,000 a year for Better Homes in fees.