BTR News spoke with Sowgol Zarinchang, Managing Director at Way of Life about its recently announced third-party management offering, the company’s plans for the future, and how Sowgol began working at Way of Life.
What exactly is Way of Life’s third-party management offering?
For the first time, Way of Life is offering full-service lettings and management capabilities. The service is aimed at like-minded developers and investors.
Way of Life will offer consultancy during the early stages of product design and feasibility study phases, as well as involvement across all areas of management phases. In addition, consultancy on community engagement, events and partnerships.
Way of Life’s award-winning approach to Build to Rent will play a crucial role in shaping the strategies on how to run the asset.
What inspired Way of Life to launch third-party management?
We have identiﬁed a gap in the market for developers who are looking for a hospitality-led management ﬁrm, with the digital capability to create best-in-class experiences. As the Build to Rent market is constantly growing in the UK, there is an increasing appetite to create a sophisticated and unique offer for future residents.
We also recognise that setting up an in-house management platform for developers and investors takes time, requires skilled resources and could be expensive.
Through understanding the needs of residents and creating community-led buildings, Way of Life’s digital platform is one of the ﬁrst Build to Rent platforms to offer functionality that completely automates the customer journey. This is from viewings to reservations and ensures that quality leads are always recorded and followed up.
Supported by custom-made back-end systems, a real-time business intelligence team, automation specialists and a feature-rich customer portal, Way of Life has the best technology within residential real estate to help developers and investors generate the most value from their assets and meet their ambitions.
How do you think this offering will improve the sector?
Way of Life has created something more than the standard market offer. Our platform delivers services across the project lifecycle from design, development and construction through to property management – we know how to maximise the potential of every building. Turnkey accommodation, seamless tenancy management, and integrated customer service supported by a digital platform. Diverse leasing strategy that includes long-term, short-term and corporate leasing structures.
Working with Way of Life, developers can create living spaces that offer much more than just a space to sleep – but a place where they have a sense of community and can make the space their own.
What makes Way of Life different to other Build to Rent management companies in the industry?
As an early pioneer of the Build to Rent market, we’ve not only delivered homes but communities – our spaces are designed for making the most of urban life, supported by community engagement and wellbeing programmes. For example, we have launched Community Life at The Gessner; an initiative supporting local, grassroots projects – like Living Under One Sun – that share its vision for greener, dynamic neighbourhoods.
Our specialist team continuously breaks new ground in resident experience and amenities, from on-site cafés to private roof gardens and gym studio spaces.
We understand today’s modern renters and their needs are at the heart of everything we do, whether it is designing high-quality and flexible living spaces that support new hybrid living patterns, providing tech-enabled property management and best-in-class 24-hour on-site services.
What is your background and how did you begin working at Way of Life?
I didn’t study property or Real Estate; however, I believe in excellent customer service and am passionate about making a difference, which is what attracted me to this sector. People Management is also key.
I have spent 20 years in Real Estate, where I was responsible for implementing management strategies and setting up budgets. Leading the marketing, PR activities and the implementation of digital platforms for companies such as JLL (Director of Serviced Apartments), Folio London (Director of Private Rent) and Notting Hill Housing Trust (Director of Student Lets). I was honoured to be recognised as the 2021 ‘Property Management 50 Award’ within Build to Rent, and in 2019 was selected as one of the ‘49 women who will shape the future of UK Real Estate’.
At Way of Life, our brand pillar is People, Design and Innovation. I was headhunted by a recruitment agency to set up Long Harbour’s in-house management platform. My mandate was to set up a team, implement a management strategy and grow and develop Way of Life.
I oversee the quality of the customer journey, by ensuring that each experience is a seamless process, from the point of enquiry throughout their stay until residents move on to the next stage of their life.
What is Way of Life’s plans for the future?
In the next six months, Way of Life will be launching an additional 510 apartments – increasing our rent roll by an additional £12m. By the end of 2024, Way of Life forecast to manage over 2,500 apartments nationwide.
We will continue to ensure residents at existing buildings, like The Gessner, have a full quality of life at our buildings, getting to know the places and faces on your doorstep, and most importantly, becoming part of that community too.
We’re looking forward to our next exciting chapter at Way of Life and working with new partners as part of our third-party management service. We are passionate to attract the right talent to be part of our exciting journey.