Our vision is to be America's premier affordable housing provider. We aspire for our buildings to be the best on the block by doing what many won't - treating everyone, from city officials and investors to contractors and formerly homeless tenants with respect. Our entire team lives and works on Chicago's South Side.
Like most new investors, Michael was excited when he bought his first building. He had started with a 33-unit courtyard in a relatively desirable part of Chicago's South Side, and had brought in what was supposedly the top management company in the area.
Little did he know that three drug dealers had taken over half the property. They would let homeless drug addicts into the building, who would defecate in the hallways, break windows and laundry machines, steal lights and packages, and scream at odd hours. When the maintenance man tried to remove the drug addicts, they raucously declared that they owned the building. The few decent tenants threatened to leave. Angry, the tenants called the city to complain, and the building was hit with an astounding eighteen code violations, totaling tens of thousands in expenses. The building was losing money each month. Just then, the "reputable" manager called.
Likely seeing Michael as a young, inexperienced investor, the manager smugly declared, "We're charging you $7300 to repair this unit." Even then, Michael knew it wouldn’t take $7300 to patch / patch walls and refinish the floors of a 1-bedroom apartment. He confronted the manager, who refused to provide a breakdown of costs. So, he talked to the building’s former maintenance worker, asking him if he could complete the work. "I can do everything for $1100," the maintenance worker said. Michael did the unit with the maintenance worker, and the manager, angry that someone actually spotted his tactic, quickly pointed out the unit’s "flaws", calling it one of the worst units he’d ever seen. “I refuse to lease this,” he arrogantly declared. So, Michael found his own leasing agents and told the manager he also wouldn’t need his help on leasing.
Upset he couldn't upcharge on maintenance or leasing , the manager furiously terminated the management contract.
In this moment, Michael was in a sink or swim situation. He was losing money every month on a building that was rapidly becoming a drug house. At the building's bottom, there were two separate homicides and one drug overdose that occurred days apart. He had bought the building at the peak of the market, so selling wasn't an option. And he knew nobody in the industry.
Michael worked tirelessly to turn the building around, often there every day. He would stay up all night painting and laying down flooring to prepare for showings and inspections, attended countless networking events to meet people who could help and give advice, personally negotiated with drug dealers….
And within 6 months, had all three dealers out, successfully convinced seven out of eight tenants to stay, achieved an over 30% cash return and nearly 100% collections rate, removed all non-paying tenants, and cleared up all 18 city violations.
Most importantly, he had a realization. In a world of unethical property managers, slumlords, and difficult tenants, his vision and values were born.
We aim to always do right for our tenants, vendors, communities, investors, and employees.
We remain resilient in the face of challenge. Failures and disappointments are opportunities to grow.
Whether in reading books, reflecting on each week, being present at our properties, or learning from others, we never stop learning.
We do what's best for our tenants, communities, investors, and employees without letting fear get in the way.
We understand and control our emotions, and put ourselves in others' shoes so that we can deliver the best service possible and motivate our employees.
Whether it's passing Section 8 inspections, handling city violations, knowing neighborhoods we invest in on a block-by-block basis, or managing difficult tenants, we can do it.
Snowlake acquires, improves, and manages affordable housing apartment buildings with the goal of making them the best on the block, while maximizing financials.
We identify affordable neighborhoods with stable or improving fundamentals, and leverage our in-house management and maintenance to instill values of Integrity, Responsiveness, and Innovativeness.
Our mission is to make our buildings the best buildings on the block, and make money by doing so.
Strategies include comprehensive energy retrofits (ex. Adding solar power or upgrading mechanicals), tenant re-shifting, and saving money with in-house maintenance.
Michael Ansusinha is President and Founder of Snowlake Group. Michael graduated from Northwestern University (’20) with a BA in Economics & Psychology (Honors), during which he worked at Goldman Sachs (Investment Banking) and AQR Capital Management, the world's second largest hedge fund. He will be a Moelis Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School (’25).
Michael’s vision is to be the Best on the Block. In less than a year of acquiring his first building, he achieved nearly 100% collections by instituting a tenant re-shifting strategy; implemented a comprehensive energy program to reduce utility costs, including solar power to provide tenants with free electricity; negotiated an over 50% insurance premium reduction; and cleared the building of all 18 city code violations. Michael’s key principles are to act ethically, responsively, and innovatively.
Michael is on the Associate Board of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, After School Matters, Chicago Scholars, the Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital, and the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center.
Outside of work, Michael enjoys hiking, tennis, travel (16 countries), EDM concerts, and trying new restaurants. Michael lives on Chicago's South Side
Ted founded and led Entiera, a SAAS company, growing the firm to 75 employees before being acquired by Fair Isaac Corporation (NYSE: FICO). Previously, he was a Partner at Accenture, where he interfaced with Fortune 100 companies and led the US Customer Analytics and Marketing Automation practice.
Ted brings invaluable business experience, helping advise on and develop Snowlake's maintenance, leasing, and tenant processes.
Amy oversees all aspects of managing Snowlake Group’s properties with the goal of maximizing tenant relations, occupancy, and cash flow. Previously, Amy was a Senior Property Manager at TLC Management, the largest private apartment owner in Chicago. Prior to that, she was a Property Manager at Aimco (NYSE: AIV), a diversified real estate investment trust.
Amy lives on Chicago's South Side.
Jesus manages Snowlake's maintenance, from renovating units to preparing for Section 8 inspections.
After coming to the United States from El Salvador, Jesus worked hard to create his own flooring business. Although Jesus focuses on flooring, he has extensive experience with all aspects of contracting work, from helping renovate coffee shops across Chicago to adding new carpeting for Prada's Michigan Avenue shop. In addition, being a resident of one of Snowlake’s buildings, Jesus also assists with tenant relations.
Jesus has lived in one of Snowlake’s South Side properties for over 6 years.
Manolo assists with day-to-day maintenance tasks.
Manolo lives in one of Snowlake's South Side properties.
Real Estate Mastermind: https://www.remastermind.live/the-real-estate-mastermind-podcast-home-page
Search meetup.com for:
Neighborhood Building Owner's Alliance
Chicago Multifamily Club
Latino Real Estate Investor's Council
South Side Investor's Association
Chicago Area RE Investor's Association
DuPage County Real Estate Investors
Southside Builder's Association
Violations and permits: https://webapps1.chicago.gov/buildingrecords/
Taxes and assessments: https://www.cookcountypropertyinfo.com
Deed search: https://www.cookcountyil.gov/agency/recorder-deeds
We're here for you
While many real estate investors carefully guard their knowledge, network, and time, we aim to do the opposite - be fully transparent, responsive, and ethical.
Ask Michael anything and he'll get back to you!
Let us tell you about our journey