The “curb appeal” of a property sets an immediate impression for a visitor or prospective buyer, says Ira Meister, President and CEO, Matthew Adam Properties, a leading property management company.
“Starting with the landscaping (if there is any) and the entryway it follows as one enters the lobby,” Meister says. Frayed or dirty furniture or rugs are a total turn-off and can immediately kill any initial interest by a prospective buyer. The same with peeling paint and dirty carpeting in the hallways. Some buyers may even look in the laundry and garbage chute rooms to see their condition. These areas say a lot about the upkeep of a property and the attention to detail.
Amenities also come into play. “Older buildings have to compete with newer, amenity-laden properties,” Meister notes. A desired amenity for many is a health club or gym. If an older building lacks such a facility, the board and asset manager should explore the feasibility of creating one. Another possibility is creating or upgrading the roof deck so it becomes a desirable location rather than “tar beach.” “In one East Side property, we took unused basement space and created a playroom for young children, which is very popular and a real plus for the building,” Meister says.
The attitude and performance of the staff are key, Meister says. Poor morale leads to lack of attention and sloppiness. Residents have daily contact with the staff and their attitude, work ethic and capabilities are important in the successful operation of a property.
Finally, technology. In the past decade or so, technology has begun to play an important role in keeping residents informed, and managing the operations of the front desk and the building. Using technology increases efficiency, can reduce costs and create value.
It is clear that the asset manager plays a significant role. In fact, the professionalism and capabilities of asset managers and the company they work for help create value. “People who have sound management abilities, an understanding of mechanical systems, sensitivity to keeping a lid on costs, attention to detail, good people skills and a drive to make the property a showplace are the keys to creating value,” Meister says.
“This is one reason we at Matthew Adam Properties devote time to hiring, training and, most importantly, retaining our asset managers, many of whom have been with us for several decades. Their knowledge, experience and dedication are behind our creating value.”