It’s quite the pivot to move from crunching numbers and managing buildings in Manhattan to listing and selling property in New London County, Connecticut. Throw in a historic market crash along the way, and Mary Nasi’s story is even more impressive.
Today, Mary owns IMT Real Estate, a full-service real estate company with offices in Groton. The business offers residential and commercial sales and leasing as well as property management services for single family homes, multi-family properties, apartment buildings, condo complexes, and commercial buildings throughout the region.
IMT manages properties in southeastern Connecticut and southern Rhode Island and offers everything from 100-percent management services to a la carte choices.
The diversity of properties reflects Mary’s own approach, one in which commercial real estate is a passion but the industry as a whole is her true love.
“I’m just a real estate junkie,” Mary said during an interview in her office one morning in November.
Mary has been involved in commercial real estate for more than 20 years, beginning in Manhattan as a lease administrator for Silverstein Properties and then moving on to Williams Real Estate Co., Inc. as its Director of Lease Administration.
She opened IMT in 1995, continuing to do property management in New York, before moving to southeastern Connecticut in 2003. For a while, she worked remotely but understood the business in Manhattan would phase itself out; she opened an office in Norwich in 2005 and started doing local property management.
When the market crashed in 2008, Mary went to Prudential to earn money in sales, but kept IMT open on the side to manage the few buildings she still had. In 2011, she struck out on her own again — this time, “full-blown.”
For as much as she swore she wouldn’t do property management — it’s more of a loss leader, she said, meant to build a foundation of trust with investors — Mary found herself drawn to it once again … albeit in a far different world than the one she had worked in in New York.
Property management was a loss leader in New York as well, where the end goal was to get the brokerage side of the business. Still, it was possible to be lucrative.
“It was much easier to make money in Manhattan than it is here,” Mary said. “You work very hard here; I have immense respect for everybody here, because people work very hard for what they have. It was incredibly different, but I’ve settled in.”
And here in southeastern Connecticut and Rhode Island, she also feels she can work more closely with investors.
“I think I definitely have more of an impact of being able to help people here than I did in New York,” she said.
She was able to take her number-crunching background and combine it with her knowledge of the area — honed by selling property for those first couple of years prior to opening her doors to the full gamut of the business — to help investors in their analysis. That’s especially important in southeastern Connecticut, where prices can fluctuate wildly and entice buyers who might not know better.
“People get very attracted to price sometimes, and that’s great — I would be attracted to price, too,” she said. “But you also have to evaluate location and your tenant challenges, and you have to be up for the ride. Because sometimes the cheaper the property, the higher the risk.”
As for property management, IMT has built relationships with the types of vendors who will answer a phone at 3 a.m., and she said she makes sure to line up the repair with the appropriate contractor — sending a handyman when appropriate, for example, rather than a pricier option.
There are two other major ways IMT saves clients money: the company doesn’t upcharge for vendor services, and it doesn’t have an in-house maintenance staff.
Mary said repairs are a direct pass-through to clients. And she prefers outsourcing repairs as needed rather than feeling the need to keep in-house staff busy (read: generating work where it’s not needed).
“I know that (for) many people in the New London county area, it’s not pouring money out of these buildings,” she said. “And keeping them on the positive side of cash flow, that’s our biggest goal. So we really do try to help our clients maximize their income.”
IMT runs background checks and verifies employment and identity, and it uses software that allows tenants to pay their rent online. The company does exterior building checks every two weeks and interior checks twice a year.
On the flip side, IMT is also choosy about the landlords it works with.
“Our job is to make sure the tenant has a clean, safe environment,” she said. “We don’t want to worry that the owner doesn’t have money to pay the bill.”
Mary said anyone who doesn’t have six months’ worth of reserves shouldn’t even consider purchasing investment properties.
Mary has enjoyed the move to Connecticut and the unique challenges of the area. And she’s built her business on word-of-mouth and pounding the pavement; this past year is the first year she has started to advertise her property management services.
And with regard to her growing brokerage business, if this Manhattanite can make her business work, she said, there’s no reason a local can’t.
“If I could build a successful business and I didn’t know one person when I moved here,” she said, “We had no family in the area, no friends, knew no one — if I can build a successful business, there’s no reason that someone who’s lived here their entire life can’t build a successful business.”
For more information, visit imtrealestate.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 860-213-8333. You can also follow IMT on Facebook, Instagram (imt_realestate) and Twitter (@IMTRealEstate).