Born in the Finger Lakes region of Geneva, New York, David Norod is the principal broker and managing partner of WJD Management. Those who know David know he’s a musician at heart.
“When I’m not working, I focus on music and my role in it as a professional bassist. I have been playing the same 1964 Fender jazz bass since the day I bought it in 1969. I can tell you, we’ve been through a lot together! We even survived a head-on car crash in the ’70s!” he exclaims.
“I was in a NOVA-area wedding band for almost three decades and have played “Celebration” probably close to 1,200 times. Oddly, I never get tired of playing that tune. These days, I am a member of three local classic rock and R&B bands, and a substitute bass player in three more bands. Running a band is a lot like running a business, in that there are many decisions which must be made, like, what songs are we going to play, who’s going to sing lead, when and where do we rehearse, who is going to book us?… Stuff like that, except with musicians,” he laughs. “You get a huge helping of crazy!”
Building a Successful Property Management Firm
David landed in the real estate industry by pure happenstance. He recounts, “In college, I majored in sociology, but there isn’t much you can do with that unless you have a master’s in the field. A friend of mine in the mid-’80s bought a Century 21 franchise and suggested I get a license and hang it in his shop. Six months later, while working ‘floor duty’ on a dreary Saturday, my friend’s 10-year-old daughter walked in the door and said, ‘My daddy told me you haven’t even sold one house yet.’ This was true. I had made zero commissions, and that was all the incentive I needed to move on.
“As I was emptying out my desk, an agent buddy of mine said, ‘You should try property management; you’d be good at it.'” And the rest, as they say, is history. Today, David runs one of the most successful and agent-friendly property management firms in Northern Virginia.
It took several years to reach this point though. He says, “When the women who founded WJD back in the ’80s hired me to be their property manager, they were desperately trying to save a sinking ship. Their employees were all from temp agencies and had little or no knowledge of the property management business. This was truly the opportunity of a lifetime because I was able to build everything about WJD from the ground up, exactly the way I wanted it. It was, of course, a great deal of work, and it took more than a few 90-hour work weeks just to stabilize the company. But my focus, along with the great staff that I brought on board, pulled us out of the abyss and we have enjoyed steady, organic growth ever since.”
About Property Management and WJD’s Real Estate Colleagues
David acknowledges, “There is definitely such a thing as bad property management, typically the result of inadequate support. Traditionally, brokerages that offer property management services provide only minimal resources for it because it is offered primarily to string real estate sales along. For example, if a property can’t be sold for whatever reason, they put it in property management until the circumstances change and they can try again to sell it. To this end, my colleagues think we are substantially overstaffed, but I am certain that our current personnel level is essential to ensure that both the owners and tenants of our 400-home inventory are served at the highest possible level.”
He adds, “What further sets WJD apart from other area brokerages engaged in property management is the fact that we do not have a sales arm. We are not involved in any manner of real estate sales and are 100 percent engaged in the business of residential property management and leasing.”
David says, “We know our referral program is different and it’s just a matter of getting the word out. The most critical piece is trust. Agents need to know that we are not going to compete with them on any level. When a real estate agent refers a client who hires us for property management, they’re going to be assured that we will not try to sell that client’s home at some point. Their clients will remain their clients. Period. Also, we pay a generous 30 percent referral fee for these opportunities.”
“I Don’t Do ‘Boss.'”
David takes great pride in his approach to doing business and employs a well-trained and experienced staff. “Knowing that the people who comprise the WJD staff enjoy working for my company matters a great deal to me. We are like a little family, and over the years, lasting friendships have been formed. We have a very flexible work environment, and everyone is on their own to do their work to the best of their ability. I avoid the traditional ‘boss’ role as much as possible, but I am always available for guidance and help if someone needs it.”
He also beams with pride when asked about his children.
“My daughter is an attorney with the Romano Law firm in Manhattan. The firm specializes in entertainment and intellectual property law, which was her focus in law school. My son has just graduated from Georgia Tech, where he earned a degree in computer engineering. Later this summer, he will be heading for Seattle, where he will be working for Amazon, earning substantially more money than I did when I was 55 years old!”
Today, David is focusing his energy on being a good father to his children, finding new ways to be innovative as a musician, and running his various real estate-related ventures.
Located in downtown Fairfax, WJD Management has been serving the Northern Virginia market for more than 20 years. To learn more about partnering with WJD Management, visit www.wjdpm.com and look for the “For Realtors®” section. You can follow them on Facebook @wjdmanagement, Twitter @WJDManagement, and Instagram @wjdpm.