Common’s tech-enabled approach to property operations and management, from marketing to maintenance requests to renewals, allows us to lease up buildings quickly and create a more positive experience for our residents. Despite our unique operations strategy, Common is bolstered by institutional knowledge of and expertise in the real estate industry, with decades of experience across our in-house teams.
CJ Cintron is Common’s Director of Property Management for the Northeast. She has experience working with institutional managers from Windsor to Greystar, and has been part of the Common team since 2019. We caught up with CJ to talk about her experience, how Common’s centralized approach to tech creates better operations, and what she loves about her role at Common.
Can you tell us more about your experience before you came to Common?
I’ve spent my entire professional career in property management and have held almost every position, from leasing to overseeing a maintenance team to marketing. I started as a leasing specialist in college, and when I moved to New York City, I started working for Windsor as an “assistant property manager” for a building on the Upper West Side. I managed a team, made sure pricing was competitive and that our marketing was up to date, and oversaw a maintenance team. At GreyStar I also worked as a property manager on the building level for a property that wasn’t opened yet, so I was overseeing the final phase of construction and eventually stabilizing the lease up. That role was really important for teaching me the ins and outs of the financials of a building.
How would you describe your current role and responsibilities and how they have evolved since joining Common?
When I joined Common, I was excited to bring my experience from across the world of property management to help the company create new processes and maintain certain standards to ensure we stayed competitive. This is actually where Common differs from a lot of my past roles — many property management companies are stuck in their ways, and even though their leasing specialists or management is seeing what’s happening on the ground and might have ideas on how to fix it, they don’t value their insight. Common is always looking to innovate, which makes it a great place to work and is one of the main reasons I joined.
What excites you about Common’s approach to property management and operations?
Common’s centralized system is very smart — it allows each of our teams to focus on what they specialize in, instead of having to do multiple jobs at all once. This is really different from traditional property managers, where you might have a leasing specialist who is answering calls and emails, holding tours, processing applications, and overseeing renewals. It can be overwhelming and inefficient. But at Common, we have teams that specialize in each of those processes and can focus on doing those things (leasing, touring, renewals, member support, marketing, etc.) at 100% all the time.
It also keeps employees happy. They can focus on what they like and what they’re good at, and really become experts in their field if they’re not already. This model also allows our members to maximize our services – instead of having one point of contact throughout their experience who’s stretched thin, they know they have dedicated people who are committed to ensuring everything, from their first tour to maintenance requests to resigning their lease, goes smoothly.
What about your role at Common is unique to the company and our business model? How do you think these differences lend themselves to Common’s success?
Even though all of the teams at Common have their own goals, it’s a truly collaborative environment. Most days I’m working with all teams on the operations and real estate side of the business, whereas at other roles I was very much siloed to my building or my position. We’re working together to build out the best property management system, and to ensure that we’re all working well together for the success of the business, the success of our clients, and the happiness of our members. I work with our East Coast homes but can also help with our West Coast and Central team, which is what I really love about my role.
What’s your favorite part about the work day? The most challenging part?
Common has grown so much over the past two years that I’ve joined. Seeing that growth, not only in our portfolio but with our processes and our teams, is one of my favorite parts about the work day. I also love working with my team and the other teams at Common: sales, real estate, member support. I know you can rely on your colleagues to support me and they know I’ll be there to support them too.
There are always challenging parts to the day, from dealing with maintenance issues or an emergency that puts us in a bind, but that’s typical of property management. At Common though we really make a connection to the people who live in our homes. Over the past year, we’ve seen our members go through some hard experiences, and it’s tough on the whole team to see that happen.
How does technology play a role in the day to day of your role + team at Common? Are there areas where Common stands apart from your previous experience?
Common is a tech based company, and the systems that we create and the tools we leverage allow us to maximize our operations. Where I really see the difference is in how it benefits our members. They can do everything through our app: pay rent, submit work orders, talk to members support, connect with the renewals team — all on their own time, when it’s convenient for them. It’s a very different experience than what most buildings offer, where you have to go to a physical office during work hours and talk with someone in person.
If you could live in any Common home (in any city), which one would you choose and why?
LINEA by Common is definitely one of my favorites. The home is beautiful, from the finishes to the view. I also love Chicago! People are so friendly, there’s great restaurants, and there’s just a generally good vibe.
To learn more about Common is redefining property management and how we work with real estate partners, visit our website.