To hear ZVN Properties CEO Bryan Lyskowski tell it, his company’s growth is truly a Cinderella story.
“It started in 2004 with two guys in a beat-up contractor van. Then we moved to a bedroom, then a basement, and then a 5,000-square-foot office. Now we’re in 40,000 square feet with a gym facility,” Lyskowski said.
The company’s headquarters is located in Ohio, south of Cleveland, but ZVN now looks after properties in all 50 states. But that growth, while exciting, hasn’t changed the company’s core focus.
“We’re a boutique servicer that really prides itself on taking the best care we can of clients’ assets and tailoring a program that suits them,” he said. “We don’t just offer a cookie-cutter solution.”
And ZVN offers that level of service no matter how big the client is — or isn’t.
“You don’t have to have half a million assets for me to consider you a valuable customer,” Lyskowski said. “A mid-level servicer can be a tier-1 client to us. We give our clients the priority they need and deserve.”
ZVN divides its vendors into three separate networks: those who do inspections, preservation and repair. The work from each network is processed and scrutinized by quality control employees who specialize in that area, assuring their performance on work orders meets industry and client standards for each.
“It helps the overall quality because clients know someone knowledgeable is watching what vendors are doing; there’s a second set of eyes on those properties. It helps us catch issues faster, because of who is watching that first report,” he said.
ZVN Properties’ vendor training is a “fairly lengthy process,” Lyskowski said, which ensures that vendors know and understand not just the basic work that’s required, but also the specific guidelines of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, for instance.
“Just because a vendor knows how to do a cleanout doesn’t mean they know what the guidelines are for different types of properties,” he said. ZVN Properties offers ongoing vendor training on a quarterly basis, coinciding with the changing seasons, and frequently, new regulations.
As a minority-owned business, ZVN sees value in having a diverse vendor base as well, and seeks out opportunities to expand the footprint of minority vendors.
The company ‘s status as a boutique shop means it is nimble enough to adjust to changing market conditions and innovate new technologies, Lyskowski said. For example, several years ago ZVN piloted some of the AVM inspection model that is in widespread use today.
“I think we are well-positioned as a privately owned company to drive the direction of change, and it doesn’t take us forever,” Lyskowski said. “We can make adjustments on the fly, and that’s what it’s going to take with all these new regulatory compliance issues. We have to be very adaptive. We are also getting very involved in the REO-to-rental space, as that is more than an emerging market.”
ZVN Properties uses technology to tie all the moving pieces of servicing together. “Our technology goes down to the truck level of the contractor doing a job,” Lyskowski said. “The information comes into our office in real time and it allows us to quickly expedite results for our clients.”
ZVN has grown exponentially in size year over year, and Lyskowski sees that trend continuing. He attributes the growth to the company’s values as expressed through the work of its employees. “I think it comes back to communication, honesty and integrity. If we can’t do it, we’ll tell you we can’t do it. And we’re not averse to rolling up our sleeves and getting our hands dirty.
“Our growth is proof that providing excellent service and thinking outside the box is continuing to help us grow,” he said.