Editor’s note: This story also appears in the February edition of Preston Hollow People.
When a large portion of your time is spent mediating disputes between landlords and tenants, it helps to have a lighthearted creative outlet.
That’s part of what has provided sanity for Mark Kreditor for more than three decades in the often insane realm of property management.
The Preston Hollow resident is president of Get There First Realty, which manages about 1,600 properties in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, acting as a go-between for owners of single-family rental properties ranging from condominiums to high-end homes.
“We perform the job of being the referee,” Kreditor said. “We’re focused on having the battle less heated.”
He’s heard every excuse in the book from tenants who can’t pay rent or who feel they deserve to be reimbursed their entire security despite leaving the property in total disrepair. And he’s seen countless investors who don’t have a clue about owning a lucrative rental property, or pursuing the ideal occupants.
“People just don’t know and they ask all the wrong questions,” Kreditor said. “Tenants should be judged on how well they will take care of the property and not what church they go to or the ages of their children.”
Kreditor has channeled some those frustrations through his love for music, composing a series of humorous “landlord songs” that poke fun at the experiences he’s had. Sometimes he will serenade the crowd on the piano at industry conventions and lead sing-alongs of his tunes, which generally add new lyrics to popular melodies.
Kreditor, who also teaches a music class each week at the Jewish Community Center in Dallas, said attending Broadway shows while growing up in New York many years ago shaped his musical tastes. He even has a presentation called “Jews, Pews, and the Blues” that discusses the influence of Jewish rabbinical songs on the rise of Blues music in the early 20th century.
He also is an avid runner who has completed 13 marathons, most recently the Boston Marathon in 2012. And his philanthropic efforts are widespread, including a stint as chairman of the annual campaign for the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and as vice president of development for Yavneh Academy of Dallas.
Rental properties have been on the rise nationwide in the past few years as owners eager to sell their homes wait for the market to rebound. That trend has extended to Dallas and the Park Cities, as well, Kreditor said.
He knows that his job often is to play “bad cop” by insulating the property owners from having contact with disgruntled tenants. That’s why he tries to establish and adhere to ground rules and ethical standards, and to use expertise that allows both owners and tenants understand the potential pitfalls of the process.
“We try to bring balance to an industry that is known for bad relationships,” said Kreditor, who founded GTF in 1981 as a company that marketed real estate primarily through direct mail. “This is a win-win if people understand it.”
He tries not only to manage the property more efficiently than a homeowner could do on their own, but to provide a larger return on investment through occupancy rates and industry research.
His clients include Louis Walker, who transferred some real-estate holdings when he moved from California to Texas in 2004. He currently has five units managed by Kreditor, including two duplexes and a condominium just south of Highland Park.
“They’ve always dealt fairly and they’ve kept them rented. That’s a novel concept,” Walker said. “The phone rings with them instead of here. They will handle any issues. They collect all the money and the money is always in the bank.”
Kreditor compares his role to that of a stockbroker hired by an investor who tried unsuccessfully to manage his own portfolio.
“People come to me because something bad has happened to them,” Kreditor said. “I try to make renters feel very good about renewing their lease and know that they’re not flushing money down the toilet.”