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Customer Stories

How a property management company made paperwork a thing of the past


Published on March 22, 2024

2B Living wants to change property management’s bad reputation—and get it out of its paper-filled past.

Property management has traditionally been an incredibly hands-on, paperwork-intensive industry. Agents at a management company need to show listings to prospective clients face-to-face. Maintenance must be done on-site. Companies are constantly juggling and closing contracts with owners, agents, and contractors.

But Bay Area-based 2B Living is reimagining what a more technology-forward property management company can look like with the help of Dropbox and Dropbox Sign.

CEO Brooks Baskin has been using Dropbox since he founded the company in 2011. It helps 2B manage 3,700 units—and counting.

“It was one of the first pieces of software we adopted to replace the file [cabinet] behind your desk,” Baskin says. He credits Dropbox with streamlining 2B’s operations from the very beginning, and uses Dropbox’s cloud storage system, along with Dropbox Sign, to manage properties, optimize and organize field operations, and foster positive outcomes for the company, clients, and tenants.

Baskin explains how he and his team are creating a better property management experience for both clients and tenants.


What made you want to start a property management company?
Everyone likely has had the experience of being a renter. I rented when I lived in New York City and the Bay Area—two of the most affluent and technology-forward places in the U.S.—and the experience of renting was terrible, to say the least I was treated at best like another person and at worst, a legal case.

I don’t have a background in property management—after college, I worked at an investment bank, and then a startup doing donut sales. So I approached this business venture as an outsider, trying to find a solution to a problem: What if there was a property management company that actually cares about tenants?

"We’re not old-school about how we go about business."

What is your vision for 2B Living?
Most people don’t have a positive association when they hear “property management” or “rental company.” Most people hate their property manager, or they’ve had a bad experience. We want to change that perception.

Property management companies sit in the middle of tenants and property owners. I really believe that many things our clients need can be win-wins for everybody, as opposed to the tension and conflict that the industry is known for: Owners can earn their desired profits, and we can support high-quality local vendors and contractors to service the properties. It can be a really wonderful and amazing business when you have these win-win outcomes.

We also really want to be on the frontlines of adopting new tech. When owners approach us and see that we don’t have paper flowing all over the place, that we’re sending links and documents to them in a smarter way via Dropbox, that helps us not only generate new business, but also helps establish us as a leader in the industry.

What made you want to use Dropbox from the jump?
My goal has always been to make property management not terrible. The forms and the papers that are still a big part of this industry drove me insane. And environmental impacts aside, there are so many other businesses that are innovating digitally. Why is property management stuck in the stone age?

Before 2B Living, I used Dropbox for my personal use and always had a positive association with it—its branding is fun and playful.

Two of 2B Living's properties. (Photos courtesy of 2B Living.)

What are some unique challenges in your industry and how has Dropbox and Dropbox Sign helped you navigate them?
Property management companies have two customers with very different needs and expectations. There are our tenants: We collect rent from them and deal with maintenance. Then, we have people who hire us to manage their properties. Both customers need different things.

A renter might approach us with a maintenance issue or ask when rent is due. Owners will say, “‘My bank needs to do an inspection of the property. How does your reporting work?”

For both types of clients, we’re bludgeoned with requests. Dropbox and Dropbox Sign have been very helpful for us to have a very organized and easy way of disseminating information. When we get hired to manage a new property, there’s an extensive intake process. Instead of doing that manually with spreadsheets, we now use a template that gets filled out in Dropbox Sign.

On a day-to-day basis, having all our files on Dropbox and accessible via phone help our property managers. They are always in transit, running from meetings with one person to view a listing. Being able to pull up documents quickly on a mobile app makes Dropbox an effective and useful tool for us. Our property managers like having that information at their fingertips.

What’s an example where Dropbox is helping you reduce conflicts with your clients?
We get a lot of requests for lease breaks. A tenant might sign a year-long lease. Six months into it, something changes: they have a life event, or they need to move for work. Younger tenants now are more mobile than they used to be.

Historically, in the industry, there are repercussions: a year-long contract is a contract. But we try to have a more tenant-friendly way of processing that request. We send them a link to a file and have them sign. They don’t have to come in-person to our offices or have an attorney do it for them—it’s really simple with Dropbox Sign. It’s not as contentious a situation and lets us get things signed really easily.

How do you know using Dropbox is making a difference for your company?
Property management companies tend to have horrendous reviews. 2B Living has a strong online presence and we spend a lot of time on the customer service side. If you look at our online reviews, many people reference us having nice tools, or have a seamless process or a smooth user interface: We’re not old-school about how we go about business.

Prospective and current tenants really care about that, and those are results that have come from us embracing Dropbox.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.