Characteristics of a Good Property Manager

I am often asked what boards should expect from a property manager,” says Ira Meister President and CEO, Matthew Adam Properties, Inc.

Meister says that at first glance the question seems obvious.  The board wants a person available 24/7 who can oversee the staff so the building is maintained in top-flight condition and provides excellent services. Someone who can help control costs and supervise capital improvement projects. 

Professionalism and having communication with tenants are key in property management

“All management companies will say they do this,” Meister says.  “But to truly

understand what a board and its residents should expect, the answer must be more specific

Meister says that probably the most important quality is professionalism. This means a manager who conducts themselves in a professional manner, who is courteous and patient with board members and residents and who is a good manager of staffs.  Communications and the ability to deal with and work with others is a key ingredient.

“While a manager oversees a multi-million budget, management is very much a people business and those with good people skills and professionalism are excellent managers,” Meister says.

A good manager is organized and keeps detailed records and reports

Another area, he says, is having someone with experience. Other characteristics include  being prompt when attending meetings and making certain anything with a timeframe is delivered on schedule, whether a report or project.  A good manager is organized and keeps detailed records and reports.

A bane of many boards is a lack of responsiveness.  A board should expect that all calls or emails are returned within 24 hours, if not sooner, and that questions are answered directly and accurately.  The board should also expect that the company has a manager available 24/7 in case of emergencies.

“While knowledge of building systems and construction are important, the people aspect and developing a trusting working relationship is the key to good management,” Meister says.

Handling Arrears in Co-ops

What has been the impact of the economy on arrears in co-ops since the fiscal crisis erupted in 2008?

While statistics are hard to come by, anecdotal evidence from lawyers and our asset managers indicate there has been little change, says Ira Meister, president and CEO of Matthew Adam Properties, a leading property management firm.


Foreclosure rates decreased every year since 2006

Perhaps one way to look at this is, Meister says, is to look at Crain’s analysis of mortgage foreclosures in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens from 2006 to 2012.  While there was an increase in foreclosures in Manhattan and Queens from 2008 to 2009, the overall trend has been down.  In fact, Meister points out, the foreclosure rate in 2012 is lower in every borough than in 2006.

While foreclosure differs from being in arrears on monthly payments, each obviously indicates a resident suffering financial stress and an inability to pay, so it can be argued there is a correlation, Meister says.


Shareholders in arrears causing foreclosures have not been the case in recent years

The situation since 2008 is contrary to the housing crisis in the early 1990s when many co-ops experienced severe problems with shareholders in arrears and subsequent foreclosures.  The failure to make timely payments by a handful of shareholders in a co-op put a burden on the building’s finances. The other shareholders had to make up for the revenue shortfall and put the entire property in financial hardship.  This has not been the case in recent years.

One reason, Meister explains, is that co-op boards have become more stringent in reviewing the financials of prospective buyers reviewing their income as well as liquid assets.

The issue of arrears, though, is one that should be of concern to all boards and property managers regardless of the economy as individual issues can affect a resident’s ability to pay. “It is wise for boards and managers to have procedures in place in the event the situation arises,” Meister says.

Important Tips Every Property Manager Should Know

Many individuals refrain from purchasing property even if they are in a healthy financial position to do so simply because they are not confident that they can manage the property effectively. Property management in NYC will require individuals to incur some expenses, but delaying maintenance or hiring unprofessional services will ensure that these expenses rise significantly. A property that has a poor maintenance history will be extremely difficult to sell on the market. There are some important things to keep in mind when dealing with the realty market.


Keep yourself informed about everything

As a property manager, it is your responsibility to educate yourself on the various laws and regulations that your property is subject to. You will also need to keep yourself up to date with any changes in property legislation that may affect your own property. Identify and update all the legal documentation required to prove ownership and sell your property.

Other things to keep in mind

Create systems and procedures for maintenance so that you can measure progress effectively and quickly identify deficiencies and faults in your property.

Be honest to your clients and give them a full history of the property when trying to sell. Your reputation in the market may depend on this.

Create a routine and stick to it. This not only ensures that you use your time in the best way, but will ensure that all tasks will eventually become like muscle memory.

Keep a proper track of all documentation, even if it extremely unimportant. It is often difficult to anticipate when a document may be required and for what.

Setting Guest Guidelines for Rental Properties

Rules involving guest registration must be strict around your property. Tenants must be requested to register their guests with you. As a property manager, you will have to decide whether you want the registration to be strict with long-term visitors only, or if overnight guests also require to be registered. In either case, the criteria must be mentioned in the lease so that it is transparent and your tenants will know what to do when they have visitors.


Limited Visits

Your tenants obviously have the right to engage visitors. While some guests stay for a short while, other may stay for long. Since you can’t really tell how long a particular visit may last, setting a limit on guest visits can help you control potential situations effectively. Mention the number of days that a visitor is allowed in your property in the lease agreement so that there are no problems in the future.


Shared Responsibility

You must inform your tenants that they bear responsibility for the actions of their guests. Any damage to your property caused by the guests will have to be attended to by the tenant. Even the smallest of problems have the potential to escalate, and if the guests leave before you have detected the problems created by them, you will be left with no choice but to fix it yourself. So keeping your tenant aware of small matters will help you effectively manage your property and all amenities within it.

How to Hire a Resident Manager

If you are the property owner of a large apartment building or multiple properties around New York City, you may require a resident manager to assist you. However, you should take extra care when hiring a manager and follow necessary protocol to get the right man on the job. The best way to start looking for the right resident manager is to list down their duties and functions. You should also decide on how much you are willing to pay and what their schedule looks like.


Finding the right professional

After you have listed down the manager’s responsibilities, pay, schedule and hours, you can send out an ad looking for prospective managers. When you are contacted about the job, be honest about your expectations and start the process with a phone screening. After you have gathered adequate details, you can call them for a personal interview. If you find any potential candidates, start with a thorough background check for their employment history and other essential details. It is also a good idea to check for their credit score and how they handle money and debts.


After you have chosen the right resident manager, you can prepare a written agreement between the property owner and the manager and list all the terms and conditions. You can also prepare a separate rental agreement. Speak with your lawyer to ensure that all paperwork is in order and you are sufficiently protected from any mishaps in the future. Ensure that you also read up on the laws on hiring resident managers in your state and follow them to the word to prevent legal complications later on.

Top 5 iPhone and iPad Apps for Property Managers

With the increasing competition in the real estate market as well as the ever-escalating prices in NYC, it is important to stay on top of the changing trends. One easy way to keep abreast with the latest developments as a property manager is to use to the right apps. If you are using an iPhone or iPad to carry out everyday tasks for work, installing a few free apps can go a long way in ensuring that you stay ahead of the curve.


Free real estate apps for your Apple device

One of the most popular apps designed for an iPad or iPhone is called Homesnap Real Estate. With this app, you can find everything you need to know about a property by clicking a picture. Scan the image through the app you can download the current value as well the price of the last sale. You can also get essential information including number of bathrooms, bedrooms, locality, schools etc.  If you are interested in local real estate, you can try Smarter Agent’s Real Estate app that helps you enhance your search for residential property. It offers information with 40 POIs including local establishments, ATMs, entertainment and restaurants.


Get all necessary information with a single image

Property Capsule is an app designed to create a commercial property portfolio in cities like NYC with a few easy clicks. You can present your commercial portfolio in real time to potential tenants with your Apple device. Cartavi is another simple app that allows real estate professionals and property managers to share and manage essential documents through their iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. You can also try other Apple apps like MagicPlan, Happy Inspector, and Ten Eight 2.0

Preparing Your Lobby and Community Spaces for the Holidays

With the upcoming holiday season, you may want to decorate your lobby space or public areas with the right decorations. During Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, decorations are found all over the world in not just homes, but also community spaces. One of the best ways to decorate your commercial property is to install quality lighting and Christmas items.


Start with a commercial Christmas tree erected outside your property. If you do not wish to choose fresh trees, you can also opt for artificial ones that are available in many sizes, styles and themes. Commercial Christmas trees are known for their sheer size and bright decorations that are easily visible to the public. With large commercial gardens, wreaths and holly decorations all over your property, you can prep your building for the holiday season and attract attention.


Commercial lighting options for the holidays

There are several clever methods to create a Christmas spectacle without large bills. You can choose energy-efficient lighting methods like LED lights to decorate your lobby. If you have a larger property, you can also decorate light poles and benches with banners, ribbons, flowers and wreaths. Add customized banners and messages on light poles to either promote your brand or connect with the public. Christmas is a great time for marketing as people as generous and looking for luxury. With a brightly decorated lobby that is both professional and visually striking, you could reap the benefits of the holiday season.

4 Ways You Can Lose a Good Tenant

As a property owner, you’re always on the lookout for good tenants who will stay for a long time. However, it’s not unheard of for property managers to make silly mistakes that lead them to lose their tenant. Following are four ways through which you can easily lose your tenants.

Bad Neighbors

Good tenants will need good neighbors. But property managers may sometimes find bad tenants too, and if these bad tenants are constantly bothering the good ones, you may lose them. Bad neighbors are those that ignore decent living including lease rules. A good tenant can get angry if they are surrounded by such people and as a result may opt to move out of your property.

Ignoring their Requests

Some property owners do not take instant action when their tenants make certain requests. Whether it is a water problem or garbage disposal concerns, attending to the needs of your tenants can help keep them around.

Parking Problems

One of the most common concerns among tenants is the lack of proper parking facilities. If parking space has been included in his or her lease, make sure that it is not given to anybody else regardless of whether or not the tenant is using the space.

Safety Concerns

Hazardous situations like unfenced drop offs and electrical problems can add to the worries of your tenant. As a property manager, you are expected to conduct regular checks to ensure that all the amenities in your property are well maintained or you risk losing your good tenants.

How Landlords Should Handle a Natural Disaster

Oftentimes, natural disasters uproot ongoing lives in cities and raise havoc in heavily populated areas. Whether you have recently experienced a flood, tsunami, earthquake, landslide, or hurricane there are many steps landlords and tenants can take to handle the damage. Here is what you should know about handling property damage caused by natural disasters.

Common Scenarios Between Tenants and Landlords

After experiencing a natural disaster with varying effects and damage on property, four general scenarios may arise between tenants and landlords. The first scenario includes both parties wishing to cancel the agreement for rental occupation. The second scenario involves the landlord wishing the tenants to vacate the property but the latter opposing the move. The third scenario is when both the landlord and tenant wish to stay in the property and the fourth includes the landlords wishing the tenant to continue occupying the property but the latter wishing otherwise.

How Should Landlords Approach Tenants? 

If both the landlord and tenant are in agreement, the contracts and repair services are relatively simple. Mutual agreements between the tenant and landlord, whether choosing to stay or move out, should be solidified with a written contract. However, if the landlord wants the tenant to relocate, they must provide them with a 30-day notice. They can also provide a 60-day no cause notice if the tenants have occupied the property for over a year. It is important to note that landlords cannot charge their tenants for any damage caused by the natural disaster. However, they can charge for expenses of damage that are not related to the natural disaster.

Online Rental Scams: How Can Landlords Avoid Them?

How to Protect the Best Interests of Your Property

People who are looking to let their properties for rent are becoming increasingly aware of the scams taking place. As a result, a cautious approach is adopted when picking renters. Unfortunately, property owners cannot tell whether or not their rental properties are used in scams. However, the following few tips can help you make your property highly credible to a large pool of prospective tenants.


Scanning Craigslist

An increasing number of people are turning to Craigslist when they look for rentals. Scam artists also use the website to find rental space. Scanning the rentals in your area on Craigslist every now and then can help in ensuring that your properties are not appropriated by scam landlords.


Online Advertising

When putting up a property for rent, property management must be done effectively on the internet. Not only will you have to write an effective description of the rental property, but linking it to a created site will make potential renters view your property in high regard. Since scam artists usually deal in bulk, they won’t have time to create professional webpages, thus putting you ahead on potential suitors’ list.



The property for rent must have a sign that lists the phone number of the landlord. It would help in attracting more suitors if you link your property with a professional property management firm as renters tend to find it easier to conduct business with a company than individual landlords. Advertising the number will help you find tenants quickly.