Doing it yourself? Be prepared to go all the way

Posted: August 27th, 2010  

My condolences to apartment property managers everywhere. Until recently I never knew how difficult a job you had.

For the last few years I have lived in a one-bedroom apartment in a cozy, 12-unit complex. I have enjoyed the maintenance-free lifestyle and no yard to keep green. Any time there is an issue I pick up the phone and the problem is solved.

In the past whenever I had a problem I used to call a property management company. But the apartment recently sold to new owners. They dismissed the company, looking to save a few dollars, and chose instead to go it alone.

While they do a fair job and are responsive to tenant concerns, I have to admit I feel sorry for them and all the headaches they endure.

The new owners are an older couple — in their mid 50s — who were looking to invest some of their nest egg and enjoy a semi-retirement. Things started out fine. Everyone in the building liked the new owners. But in time, with familiarity came contempt. Both from some of the tenants for the owners and by the owners for some of the tenants.

There came hassles in collecting rent, ticky-tack issues with resident’s apartments, maintaining the grounds, handling emergency repairs (the water heater started leaking late one night), and just dealing on a personal, one-on-one basis with residents became a pain for the couple. They found themselves working full time when they were supposed to be enjoying retirement. And what’s more they (and the tenants) were becoming very unhappy.

I never knew any of this until about a year after the apartments had changed hands. The owners, Don and his wife Linda, were raking up some leaves and they paused to say hello and thank me for consistently paying my rent on time, a habit some of the other tenants apparently lacked.

They told me of the many headaches and the knots they would get in their stomachs every time they had to call a tenant for rent. I could see the stress it was causing them.

“Why not hire a property management company?” I suggested Coldwell Banker Platinum Properties.

Almost a year later I ran into Don and Linda at the grocery. They couldn’t thank me enough for the suggestion. The investment they made with Coldwell Banker Platinum Properties, by hiring the company for property management services, was paying them both huge dividends.

Sure, it was costing them slightly more than if they did everything themselves, but they had found peace of mind. The couple had security and confidence having hired a respected property management company and they had found the time to do all those things they had always wanted to do before, but were to busy to do because of the properties they had to maintain.

In return I told them it was also working well for tenants. I thanked them for their decision to place the apartments in the care of a professional outfit. I told them it felt good to know my home was being maintained by Coldwell Bankers.

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