Blue Canoe Rocks Real Estate Boat in Birmingham

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Blue Canoe Properties — the property management firm started in 2010 by real estate pro David Oakley — has embraced technology to distinguish itself from competitors. The company has more than tripled its staff and more than doubled the number of properties in its portfolio since October 2011.

Blue Canoe now represents more than 1,000 units in the Birmingham area, adding 13 new jobs and 42 new properties since acquiring the small apartment division of Engel Realty last October.

Our vision to bridge the gap between landlords and residents and to make renting with us a joy really differentiates us in the Birmingham market.

Recently, despite (or perhaps because of) the slump in the housing market, the Birmingham-area rental market has experienced significant growth. Real estate professional David Oakley saw an opportunity for a different kind of real estate company when he founded Blue Canoe Properties, LLC in 2010. His vision was to make renting easier and more enjoyable through technology and more personal attention.

Blue Canoe announced a custom YouTube channel last month where would-be residents can take virtual tours from their computer, iPad, or even their smart phone. The company also invested heavily in an online portal for residents to submit maintenance requests, make payments and communicate with staff, better known as the “Blue Crew.”

“A picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth a thousand pictures,” Oakley said. “Our prospective residents appreciate tools we can provide that save them time and money and make their living experience more enjoyable."

Blue Canoe, which now represents 1,030 units in the Birmingham area, has added 13 new jobs and 42 new properties to its portfolio since acquiring the small apartment division of Engel Realty in October 2011.

Joseph Hiden, director of operations at Blue Canoe, believes the firm’s approach to customer service through technology sets it apart from other property management companies. “Our vision to bridge the gap between landlords and residents and to make renting with us a joy really differentiates us in the Birmingham market,” Hiden said.

In November, Birmingham Business Journal reported that the multi-family real estate market improved in 2011, despite many challenges that remained from the recession. Building on the positive multi-family environment, Blue Canoe carved a niche in the industry by focusing on mid-market properties with fewer than 100 units. This segment of the market has always been fragmented, but Blue Canoe is uniting small property owners and creating a mid-market community that never before existed.

“For years, the model in the industry has been based on quantity, treating residents like numbers instead of people. We have worked very hard to take a different approach, to give each resident individual care. Technology has definitely helped set us apart.”

For more information, contact Crew Director Joseph Hiden at 205-918-0921 or joseph[at]


At Blue Canoe, we like to say we have an urban heart and a river soul. We have a passion for urban living and we understand the fast pace of big city life. But we maintain the calm, relaxed attitude of life on the river. Our mission is to make our residents’ lives easier and more enjoyable, starting with the place they call home. From finding the perfect apartment to making sure that every maintenance request is handled promptly and professionally, we do more than rent complexes … we create communities.

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