Examining the Single-Family Rental Market

Safeguard in the News
September 23, 2019

Source: DS News

On Monday, the Five Star Conference began with the third Single-Family Rental (SFR) & Investment Roundtable, a hyper-focused event that allowed attendees to learn more about the available opportunities that can help SFR investors meet their objectives. Attendees also heard valuable insights from industry experts on how they could continue to meet their performance objectives by partnering with the right investors and lenders.

The day-long event saw expert panels give insights into rehab, acquisition, funding, market overview, due diligence, and technology innovations in SFR.

Opening the proceedings, Jeffrey Tesch, CEO, RCN Capital and the Event Director for the Roundtable, said that the U.S. currently has the highest rate of investment since 1999; 11% of all investment properties are bought by single-family investors.

“This is truly monumental. It’s amazing how far we’ve come in a short time,” Tesch said.

The first session—titled, “Latest and Greatest: Cutting-Edge Lending Strategies for SFR & Investment Markets,” and moderated by Tesch—focused on the options and instruments available for investors to improve their return on investment (ROI). The session featured Glen Mather, CEO, NuView IRA; Alex Offutt, Managing Director, Constructive Loans; Chase Scott, Head of Servicing and Asset Management, LendingHome; and Dennis Spivey, VP, CoreVest Finance, all of whom gave insights into new lending products and financing strategies that could be the best fit for an SFR investor.

“Single-family rental has transformed over the past few years moving from large corporations to small investors with a minimal number of properties,” Spivey said, explaining how this market has now become available to every investor.

“A lot of it in this particular space is more of a knowledge share, so if you could create what we mentioned [during the panel] was a membership profile so you don’t have to underwrite, it allows [the borrowing process] to be more seamless on the upfront,” Scott suggested.

During the session on asset rehab strategies, moderated by Rebecca McLean, Executive Director of National REIA and featuring John Gordon, Director National Accounts, Home Depot Pro; Kevin Jonas, SVP, Bayview Loan Servicing; and Bill McGee, VP Sales & Strategic Partnerships, Alacrity Services, the panel discussed why smart rehab was key to effective SFR investments and the best, cost-effective strategies to increase the value of a property.

Martin Kay, Founder & CEO, Entera, turned the spotlight on the evolution of residential real estate and how technology like big data was changing the future of homebuying.

The next session dived deep into due diligence and its importance in SFR investments. Moderated by Lori Eshoo, President & CEO, National Tax Search, the panel consisting of Rob Dewald, Co-Founder & CEO, Precedent Management; Lee Rogers, President, realprotect; and Brandon Winters, CEO, eMerge Property Solutions. Together, they gave insights into the factors that can affect the value of a transaction, as well as the potential impact of HOAs, insurance, property tax, and valuation.

In “Bringing in Help,” moderator Charles Tassell, COO, NREIA, along with his fellow panelists Aaron DiCaprio, CEO, Rent Rescue; Scott Heimel, VP, Property Frameworks; and Tucker McDermott, VP of Sales, Real Estate, SMS Assist, then delved into the factors and trends that SFR investors must consider before they bring in outside property managers.

“If you want to scale as an entrepreneur, you better have third-party management. That’s first and foremost,” Tassell said during the event. “After that are some very specific questions to ask.” The panel covered factors such as cost, background, and certifications.

“When it comes to third-party management, know what you actually need,” he added.

Stuart DenyerIn an afternoon keynote, Stuart Denyer, CEO, Sherman Bridge Lending, took the audience through the fundamentals of the housing market and how they can impact an investor’s bottom line. He also focused on the trends that were likely to impact the SFR market in particular and the steps that investors should take to adapt to changing market conditions.

“Everyone in this section of the industry needs to stay aware of changing horizons,” Denyer said. “The whole market is changing. The way business is done and handled is all moving quickly, and it’s important to stay as up-to-date as possible.”

Next, a session on tech innovations was moderated by Zach Bassett, VP, Field Operations, Property Masters, and featured Inaas Arabi, VP of Single-Family, General Manager, Propertyware; Jeff Cline, Executive Director – Principal, SVN; and Tim Rath, AVP, Business Development & Marketing, Safeguard Properties. The panel discussed the technology that is available for entry-level investors and how it can support the growth of their portfolio.

Zach Bassett’s biggest takeaway from the panel was the availability of ways to increase productivity.

“Obviously the technology is helping with everyone’s productivity, but at the end of the day we still need humans,” Bassett said. “It’s great because we can keep our jobs, but we couldn’t be near as successful with paper maps and landlines.”

The day ended with a panel discussion on how investors can adapt to a changing environment. The session was moderated by Johnny Pannell, Senior Advisor, Enterprise Sales Manager, 5arch and featured and Lou Brown, CEO, Certified Affordable Housing Provider; Chris Clothier, Partner & VP of Sales & Marketing, Memphis Invest; Bryan McLain, Founder & CEO, McLain Companies; and Josh McLeod, VP, American Homes 4 Rent.

Star Sponsorship for the Single-Family Rental and Investment Roundtable was provided by CoreVest Finance, Home Depot Renovation Services, and RCN Capital. Corporate Sponsoship for the event was provided by Ark Forecast, Certified Affordable Housing Provider, Constructive, eMerge Property Solutions, Globus, Memphis Invest, Property Frameworks, Property Masters, and Rent Rescue.



Alan Jaffa

Alan Jaffa is the chief executive officer for Safeguard, steering the company as the mortgage field services industry leader. He also serves on the board of advisors for SCG Partners, a middle-market private equity fund focused on diversifying and expanding Safeguard Properties’ business model into complimentary markets.

Alan joined Safeguard in 1995, learning the business from the ground up. He was promoted to chief operating officer in 2002, and was named CEO in May 2010. His hands-on experience has given him unique insights as a leader to innovate, improve and strengthen Safeguard’s processes to assure that the company adheres to the highest standards of quality and customer service.

Under Alan’s leadership, Safeguard has grown significantly with strategies that have included new and expanded services, technology investments that deliver higher quality and greater efficiency to clients, and strategic acquisitions. He takes a team approach to process improvement, involving staff at all levels of the organization to address issues, brainstorm solutions, and identify new and better ways to serve clients.

In 2008, Alan was recognized by Crain’s Cleveland Business in its annual “40-Under-40” profile of young leaders. He also was named a NEO Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® finalist in 2013.


Chief Operating Officer

Michael Greenbaum

Michael Greenbaum is the chief operating officer for Safeguard. Mike has been instrumental in aligning operations to become more efficient, effective, and compliant with our ever-changing industry requirements. Mike has a proven track record of excellence, partnership and collaboration at Safeguard. Under Mike’s leadership, all operational departments of Safeguard have reviewed, updated and enhanced their business processes to maximize efficiency and improve quality control.

Mike joined Safeguard in July 2010 as vice president of REO and has continued to take on additional duties and responsibilities within the organization, including the role of vice president of operations in 2013 and then COO in 2015.

Mike built his business career in supply-chain management, operations, finance and marketing. He has held senior management and executive positions with Erico, a manufacturing company in Solon, Ohio; Accel, Inc., a packaging company in Lewis Center, Ohio; and McMaster-Carr, an industrial supply company in Aurora, Ohio.

Before entering the business world, Mike served in the U.S. Army, Ordinance Branch, and specialized in supply chain management. He is a distinguished graduate of West Point (U.S. Military Academy), where he majored in quantitative economics.



George Mehok

George Mehok is the chief information officer for Safeguard. He is responsible for all strategic technology decisions, new systems deployments and data center operations supporting a national network of more than 10,000 mobile workers.

George has more than 20 years of leadership experience dedicated to high-growth companies in the mobile telecommunications and financial services industries, spanning startups to global industry leaders.

George played a senior role in the formation of Verizon Wireless, leading the IT product development and strategic planning team. He led the integration planning for the Verizon merger including: GTE, Vodafone-AirTouch, Bell Atlantic Mobile and PrimeCo.

As chief information officer at Revol Wireless, a VC-backed CDMA wireless communications network operator, George’s team implemented an integrated technology infrastructure and award-winning business intelligence platform.

George holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Eastern Michigan University and an M.B.A. from The Ohio State University. He is a board member of Akron University’s School of Business Center for Information Technology, in addition to an advisory board member for OHTec.

In 2013, George won the Crain’s Cleveland Business CIO of the Year award for his team’s work in completing a major acquisition and technology transformation at Safeguard. In 2015, George’s team was recognized by InformationWeek’s annual Elite 100 ranking of the most innovative U.S.-based users of business technology. The mobile inspection technology developed at Safeguard was selected as InformationWeek’s “One of the top 20 ideas to steal in 2015”.


General Counsel and Executive Vice President

Linda Erkkila, Esq.

Linda Erkkila is the general counsel and executive vice president for Safeguard, with oversight responsibilities for the legal, human resources, training, compliance and audit departments. Linda’s broad scope of oversight covers regulatory issues that impact Safeguard’s operations, pro-active risk mitigation, enterprise strategic planning, human capital and training initiatives, compliance and audit services, litigation and claims management, and counsel related to mergers, acquisition and joint ventures.

Linda’s oversight of the legal department along with multiple compliance and human capital focused departments assures that Safeguard’s strategic initiatives align with its resources, leverage opportunities across the company, and contemplate compliance mandates. Her practice spans almost 20 years, and Linda’s experience, both as outside and in-house counsel, covers a wide range of corporate matters, including regulatory disclosure, corporate governance compliance, risk assessment, executive compensation, litigation management, and merger and acquisition activity. Her experience at a former Fortune 500 financial institution during the subprime crisis helped develop Linda’s pro-active approach to change management during periods of heightened regulatory scrutiny.

Linda previously served as vice president and attorney for National City Corporation, as securities and corporate governance counsel for Agilysys Inc., and as an associate at Thompson Hine LLP. She earned her JD at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Linda holds a degree in economics from Miami University and an MBA. In 2017, Linda was named as both a “Woman of Influence” by HousingWire and as a “Leading Lady” by MReport.


Chief Financial Officer

Joe Iafigliola

Joe Iafigliola is the Chief Financial Officer for Safeguard. Joe is responsible for the Control, Quality Assurance, Business Development, Accounting & Information Security departments, and is a Managing Director of SCG Partners, a middle-market private equity fund focused on diversifying and expanding Safeguard Properties’ business model into complimentary markets.

Joe has been in a wide variety of roles in finance, supply chain management, information systems development, and sales and marketing. His career includes senior positions with McMaster-Carr Supply Company, Newell/Rubbermaid, and Procter and Gamble.

Joe has an MBA from The Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and holds a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University’s Honors Accounting program.


AVP, Operations

Jennifer Jozity

Jennifer Jozity is the assistant vice president of operations, overseeing inspections, REO and property preservation for Safeguard. Jen ensures quality work is performed in the field and internally, to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations. Jen has demonstrated the ability to deliver consistent results in order audit and order management.  She will build upon these strengths in order to deliver this level of excellence in both REO and property preservation operations.

Jen joined Safeguard in 1997 and was promoted to director of inspections operations in 2009 and assistant vice president of inspections operations in 2012.

She graduated from Cleveland State University with a degree in business.


AVP, Finance

Jennifer Anspach

Jennifer Anspach is the assistant vice president of finance for Safeguard. She is responsible for the company’s national workforce of approximately 1,000 employees. She manages recruitment strategies, employee relations, training, personnel policies, retention, payroll and benefits programs. Additionally, Jennifer has oversight of the accounts receivable and loss functions formerly within the accounting department.

Jennifer joined the company in April 2009 as a manager of accounting and finance and a year later was promoted to director. She was named AVP of human capital in 2014. Prior to joining Safeguard, she held several management positions at OfficeMax and InkStop in both operations and finance.

Jennifer is a graduate of Youngstown State University. She was named a Crain’s Cleveland Business Archer Award finalist for HR Executive of the Year in 2017.


AVP, Application Architecture

Rick Moran

Rick Moran is the assistant vice president of application architecture for Safeguard. Rick is responsible for evolving the Safeguard IT systems. He leads the design of Safeguard’s enterprise application architecture. This includes Safeguard’s real-time integration with other systems, vendors and clients; the future upgrade roadmap for systems; and standards designed to meet availability, security, performance and goals.

Rick has been with Safeguard since 2011. During that time, he has led the system upgrades necessary to support Safeguard’s growth. In addition, Rick’s team has designed and implemented several innovative systems.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Rick was director of enterprise architecture at Revol Wireless, a privately held CDMA Wireless provider in Ohio and Indiana, and operated his own consulting firm providing services to the manufacturing, telecommunications, and energy sectors.


AVP, Technology Infrastructure and Cloud Services

Steve Machovina

Steve Machovina is the assistant vice president of technology infrastructure and cloud services for Safeguard. He is responsible for the overall management and design of Safeguard’s hybrid cloud infrastructure. He manages all technology engineering staff who support data centers, telecommunications, network, servers, storage, service monitoring, and disaster recovery.

Steve joined Safeguard in November 2013 as director of information technology operations.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Steve was vice president of information technology at Revol Wireless, a privately held wireless provider in Ohio and Indiana. He also held management positions with Northcoast PCS and Corecomm Communications, and spent nine years as a Coast Guard officer and pilot.

Steve holds a BBA in management information systems from Kent State University in Ohio and an MBA from Wayne State University in Michigan.


AVP, Business Development

Tim Rath

Tim Rath is the AVP of business development for Safeguard. He is responsible for developing innovative growth strategies for Safeguard and developing and overseeing potential partnerships, mergers and acquisitions.

Tim joined Safeguard in 2011 as project director and has filled numerous roles within Vendor Management, most recently serving as director of vendor management, a role he assumed in 2011.

Prior to Safeguard, Tim worked as director of supply chain at PartsSource Inc. in Aurora, Ohio, a provider of medical replacement parts, procurement solutions and healthcare supply chain management technology services. He also has held sales positions with Rexel, ComDoc, and Pier Associates, all based in Ohio.

Tim holds a degree in marketing and sales from The University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. He also earned his FAA Certified Commercial UAS (Drone) Pilot license in 2017.


Assistant Vice president of Application Development

Steve Goberish

Steve Goberish, is the assistant vice president of application development for Safeguard. He is responsible for the maintenance and evolution of Safeguard’s vendor systems ensuring high-availability, security and scalability while advancing the vendor products’ capabilities and enhancing the vendor experience.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Steve was a senior technical architect and development manager at First American Title Insurance, a publicly held title insurance provider based in southern California, in addition to managing and developing applications in multiple sectors from insurance to VOIP.

Steve has a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University in Ohio.