New York based property management firm, All Area Realty Services blog. Find tips for Co-Op Boards & Residential Building Management.

What You Need To Ask When Hiring A Property Management Company

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Jun 12, 2019 4:54:17 PM

Do you own property and are looking for the right property management company? Here are some things to ask before hiring a property management company.

In New York, a property manager needs to be a New York State licensed real estate agent. Beware of property managers who do not have any sort of state license to practice real estate. Ask how many properties that the property manager is managing and what type of properties (duplex, small building, condos etc.) because the management of the property varies depending on what type.

Most management companies are paid based on the amount of rental income the property generates. However, there could be extra charges like tenant finder’s fees, maintenance markups, emergency on all services, maintenance reserves, evictions, court costs and other charges. Ask your potential property manager to clearly outline the fee structure in writing.

With income property, your financial data is really important to see what areas you can improve and how to make more money. A property manager needs to be able to explain everything on your reports in a clear and concise manner. Clarify when and how each report will be delivered to you.

A professional property manager will have a system for screening potential tenants. Make sure you understand what is done in the screening and who makes the final determination about the potential tenant renting the apartment.

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Every property will need maintenance at some point. Find out who does the required maintenance at your property. Your property manager needs to understand what needs to be done in regards to the type of work, the correct licenses and certified contractors for the work and if there needs to be permits. Keep accurate records of what has been done and by whom.

Ask about how the rent is collected. Most property management companies have a policy on rent collection. Each lease should outline exactly when rent is due, the amount and late fees. The lease should state when the tenant is in default and when the eviction process can begin for nonpayment. Property managers need to have sample documents like leases, property management agreements, move in/move out condition reports, property owner financial reports, rental applications and common correspondence. In regards to the property management agreement, understand the terms of the agreement, including length of the term, renewal of the agreement, and how to end the agreement if either party is not happy with the partnership. Have an attorney review the agreement before signing it.

Finally, ask about references. Speak to people who have worked with the property manager and ask them to tell you both good things and bad things (if there are any). Be careful of property managers who cannot provide references.

These factors will help you in finding the right property manager for your investment property to grow and thrive.

All Area Realty Services knows what it takes to run buildings smoothly and efficiently while keeping both tenants and owners happy.  With over 30 years of experience, and many clients with All Area Realty Services for decades, All Area can be trusted with taking care of your building and tenants. 

Topics: Co-Op Board, Property Management, Condo Board Association, property manager

The Difference Between A Landlord & A Property Manager

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Jun 5, 2019 1:19:42 PM

iStock-855667636Welcome to NYC real estate where the options are endless! Should you pay a broker’s fee? Should you live in a new building? Should you live in a landlord operated building or a building operated by management? There are many things to look for when deciding on moving into a building operated by a management company as opposed to one run by the landlord.

A landlord owned and run building is where the landlord does the day to day management of the building. A building operated by a property management company is one where the landlord hires the property management company to run the day to day operations and to maintain the building. Landlord operated buildings tend to be smaller. If you want to be able to bargain, consider renting directly from landlord only managed building.

Landlords and property managers are similar because both are responsible for maintaining and running a building. Other duties include vetting tenants, resolving maintenance requests, collecting rent, upkeep of the property, and tracking property expenses.

Some differences between landlords and property management companies are when dealing with a landlord, it is a more personal relationship. While this can be beneficial if the landlord is trustworthy and cares about his tenants and building. It is detrimental when the landlord is delinquent and does not maintain the building. When you have a property management company, you are one of many and therefore, there is not a personal relationship, but property management companies are more diligent in resolving any maintenance issues you might have.

Whatever you decide, be aware that both landlords and property management companies must obey the local laws. In NYC, there are laws on heating, hot and cold water and overall safety and habitability of buildings. For more information on the basic living conditions that must be provided, look at NYC’s warranty of habitability guidelines

All Area Realty Services knows what it takes to run buildings smoothly and efficiently while keeping both tenants and owners happy.  With over 30 years of experience, and many clients with us for decades, you can trust All Area Realty Services with taking care of your building and tenants. 

Topics: Co-Op Board, Property Management, Rentals, Co-Op Building, property manager

Vacant Lots Around New York City Are Getting A Make Over: Affordable Housing

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on May 21, 2019 1:45:29 PM

Topics: Co-Op Board, Buying a Co-Op, Co-Op Building

Renovating Your Apartment? Do You Know About The Possible Liabilities?

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on May 9, 2019 4:02:25 PM

 

Are you thinking of renovating your apartment? Make sure to check what your liability is before you start work on any project. Be aware that if your contractor has insurance, it does not mean you will not be liable for something that happens. To protect yourself, you should take out your own insurance. Check your policy for these factors to make sure you are protected.

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Insuring a building for construction is not easy. There are some policies that include language that excludes claims arising from construction and renovation. Find an advisor that will help you find a policy that will limit your risk while enhancing your protection.

Most contractors have their own insurance but do not take comfort in this fact. Many contractors’ policies include language that put the owners at greater risk.  New York has strict labor laws and if a worker is injured on your property and your insurance policy includes injury exclusions, then you are exposed to significant liability. Review your contractor’s entire insurance policy to protect yourself by knowing if there are gaps in the policy that will not protect the owner.

Some insurance policies allow you to shift pure risk from yourself to the insurer in exchange for paying the premium. This is the classic way to reduce your risk. However, there are other ways to shift risk by arrange for you to be added as an additional insured on your contractor’s policy. To ensure you are properly transferring risk, have a contract with all parties that indemnifies you as the owner and holds you harmless and outlines what coverage and limits the contractor must have. Even if you get additional insured status and an indemnification clause, it does not mean that you will be fully protected. You should conduct an upfront risk review and analysis before the work starts to fill in any gaps in your risk protection.

You might want to get extended coverage because most commercial general liability policies expire at the end of the project but not all risk and liability end at the completion of the project. Some construction defects do not emerge until years later. Always seek a policy with extended completed operations coverage, which provides protection into the future in case there are unseen defects. Check for extended coverage that match your state’s statute of limitations.

Remember to check for the proper insurance that covers you to the utmost. A number of contractors do not carry proper insurance coverage and often have exclusionary wording. So protect yourself and do your research on insurance before starting a renovation project.

If you serve on a co-op board and need professional property management services, contact All Area Realty Services and find out why our over 30 years experience and loyal clients makes us experts.

All Area Realty Services is New York City’s leading real estate management company specializing in full-service property management for cooperative and condominium boards in the Manhattan area. 

 

Topics: Co-Op Board, Renovations

Co-Ops With Professional Services or Business Units

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Apr 25, 2019 4:31:39 PM

 

Times are changing and NYC co-ops need to change with the times. Some co-ops sold shares to doctors or other professionals for ground floor space. Most of these offices have been around for years but now these doctors and other professionals are reaching retirement age and want to sell their shares to potential buyers. This creates problems when the co-op board does not want to change.

Co-ops prefer selling to individuals as opposed to selling shares to a limited liability company. Many boards are resistant to selling to a LLC, even if the space is used for a professional office. These days, most medical professionals do not open practices in his or her own name, instead a LLC is formed to restrict liability.

iStock-478524467The most important thing to change the co-op board’s opinion is to educate them and to change the application process and the required paperwork. Most times, these entities do not have a lot of assets and therefore, the co-op board can require that an individual grantor be responsible if the LLC does not pay the maintenance. Also, the board should require additional documents such as an agreement between the entity and the co-op stipulating the use of the space, authorized signer document from the state, and tax returns from the entity, guarantor and the individual. This helps to protect the co-op in case the LLC stops paying.  The co-op board should also determine if the entity will be a good tenant.

Changing the way that co-op boards think is beneficial because they will be able to get more per square foot and more flip tax. The board should educate themselves by learning about LLCs and how these types of sales should be handled. There are many commercial spaces in NYC and a partnership with a co-op and a LLC is a win-win with both parties. Boards should not wait to learn more until there is a potential sale. They should have everything in place before the potential sale because time is money and if all these safeguards are in place before the sale, then the sale will go smoothly and quickly. 

All Area is New York City’s leading real estate management company specializing in full-service property management for cooperative and condominium boards in the Manhattan area.  If you serve on a condo or co-op board, get in touch with us and find out how we can help you manage your building.

 

Topics: Co-Op Board, Buying a Co-Op, Co-Op Building

Are You Thinking of Hiring a Property Manager?

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Mar 5, 2019 4:34:07 PM

 

Do you need to hire a property manager? Many property owners, condo boards, and co-op boards may be hesitant to hire one because a bad property manager can have long lasting effects, including financial, on your building.  However, hiring a great property management company is a great asset. Here’s some important characteristics to look for when considering a property management company.

Experience is extremely important. Ask how many properties they have under management and for how long.  Also ask if they have turned around troubled properties. An experienced property management firm will have thorough knowledge of local laws, regulations and standard operating procedures.

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A property manager should care for your property as if it was his or her own. Property managers should have a good understanding of the difference between internal rate of return and net present value and be able to calculate cap rates and cash on cash returns. This helps to see the big picture and to make informed and expertly guided decisions - together.

Persistence is an important trait because there will be delays with contractors, unruly tenants to deal with, and buyers who may have unrealistic expectations. When interviewing, look for a property management company that listens and has great customer service skills.

Having a successful property, is truly a balancing act. At times, the property manager will need to aggressively track down late payments and hold a contractor to task. Your property manager should always take on challenges on your behalf. 

A property manager will need to be extremely professional because he or she needs to get along with board members, residents, contractors and others. Look for someone who speaks professionally, treats others with respect, and does not shy away from responsibility AND accountability.

Communication skills, written and oral, are important because the property manager needs to convey what’s occurring at the property. Clear communication helps reduce disputes and ensures that the property runs like a well-oiled machine. Since there are so many moving parts, a property manager needs to be extremely organized.  Property managers need to be well versed in technology because new technologies are being introduced all the time.

How a property management company deals with problems is important because there are things that can go wrong. The more flexible the property manager is, the more he or she will react properly to any unforeseen situation.  They should be willing to think outside the box and be committed to ongoing improvement in how they service your property.

All Area Realty Services knows what it takes to run buildings smoothly and efficiently while keeping both tenants and owners happy.  With over 30 years of experience, and many clients with All Area Realty Services for decades, All Area can be trusted with taking care of your building and tenants. 

Topics: Co-Op Board, Property Management, Condo Board Association, property manager

Looking For Good Board Members For Your Co-Op Board?

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Feb 25, 2019 11:20:52 AM

Many board members serve on their co-op board because of civic duty and wanting to make sure that one’s home and its surroundings are a nice place to live and a good investment. Boards need to be mindful because potential candidates can be scared away from serving due to past legal issues.

A major factor for a person to want to serve on the board is to help improve the value of  the building. By serving on the board, a person can guide the co-op to make better investments and improvements. Most monthly board meetings average an hour and a half but if there are pressing issues, the meeting can take longer. The meeting usually starts by making sure everyone is up to date on maintenance fees, who is in arrears, what the cash flow is like and look at if all the bills been paid.

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Board members do not have an easy job between difficult tenants and running the affairs of the co-op. The difficulties of serving on a board reflect the size of the operations they are overseeing. Most co-ops have a lot of money and are big corporations. Boards also oversee the building’s managing agent and need to make sure that all environmental and safety regulations are being followed. This is important because the board is making sure that the people running the place are not letting things slide.

Most people do not run for the board because they know it is a lot of time to commit and some people are ungrateful and will complain endlessly. When a neighbor finds out that you’re involved with the board, he or she will bring up grievances and will not stop until the grievances are fixed.

The biggest responsibility is to make sure that the co-op does not run afoul of laws that protect the owners from discrimination, human rights violations, sexual harassment and errors in judgment. A board can ask applicants their occupations, if they are older than 18 but cannot bar them from buying solely based on their occupation. If you are on your board, make sure that it is documented who has what responsibility.

Most co-ops and condos carry building insurance, which insures against property damage and liability. Most policies cover legal fees and some cover non-monetary damage suits relating to employment and discrimination.

Most boards run smoothly and efficiently because of the quality of the members of the board. People will work together to make the building as great as possible.

All Area Realty Services knows what it takes to manage buildings professionally and efficiently, and just as important - keeping residents happy.  With over 30 years of experience, and many of our clients with us for decades, you can trust All Area Realty Services with taking care of your building.   

Topics: Co-Op Board, Condo Board Association, Co-Op Building

Considering Hiring A Professional Property Management Company?

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Jan 24, 2019 5:32:52 PM

 

Property management is the operation, control and oversight of real estate. It is a demanding profession because there are many facets such as managing the accounts and finances of different buildings and participating in or initiating litigation with tenants, contractors and insurance agencies. A property manager needs to be informed on applicable municipal, county, state and federal Fair Housing laws and practices.

Also, the property manager is the liaison between the board, the property owners, residents and personnel. Good communication is an essential and crucial skill for a property manager. Just as important is understanding the processes and systems used to manage the property, including acquisition, control, accountability, responsibility, maintenance, and disposition.

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Property managers need to have good listening skills because some owners just need to speak to someone regarding their apartment. Also, a property manager should be organized, honest and responsive.  Another trait is business savvy because you are running a business (the co-op) and need to negotiate with all vendors to get the best price to be most efficient for your property otherwise you are wasting co-op money.

Property management is a fairly new profession. America developed fairly big cities and the real estate industry formed and property management was not far behind. Many investors bought land and property and hired others to manage and maintain it. After the Depression, the size and scope of property management rapidly developed to become what we know today.

There are a few ways to start in property management. In New York City, there are very active chapters of professional organizations, which provide opportunities for education, continuing education and accreditation. Having a business and financial administration background corresponds well to property management. New York City’s property managers do not have to have a license but if they collect rent and handle tenants, then they need a real estate broker’s license.

Most days, a property manager will pick up checks, review projects and work with vendors. These seemingly mundane tasks are required to keep everything running smoothly at the buildings they manage. However, a property manager’s job is never dull and he or she needs to be prepared for whatever is thrown at them. For example, a massive storm can hit and flood buildings and the property manager needs to take care of the residents and deal with the insurance company. At times, a property manager will have to go to housing court to testify at a hearing because a tenant failed to pay rent or breached a provision of the lease. Property managers have a wide range of duties from physical to administrative but the most important duty is working with board members to provide the best environment for all residents.

Property managers have a tough job but if you love what you do, it makes the tough things easier and loving your job makes for a successful property manager. When you help people, you are making a positive change in the world around them.

If you serve on a co-op board or condo board and need professional property management services, contact All Area Realty Services and find out why our over 30 years experience and loyal clients makes us experts.

All Area Realty Services is New York City’s leading real estate management company specializing in full-service property management for cooperative and condominium boards in the Manhattan area. 

 

Topics: Co-Op Board, Property Management, Co-Op Building

Thinking About Serving On Your Co-Op or Condo Board? Here Is What To Expect

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Jan 10, 2019 11:25:16 AM

Help Wanted: Looking for long hours, huge financial responsibility and good listener for no pay and no benefits. Who would be interested in a job like this? You would be surprised because this is a job listing for co-op and condo boards and thousands of people have served gratis. Since serving on a co-op or condo board is long hours and many responsibilities, many people think that board members should be paid.

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There are arguments for and against paying board members. One argument for paying is that board members make huge financial decisions regarding the building and invest numerous hours of personal time.  An argument against paying board members is that it should be considered doing your civic duty to make sure that your community runs the best that it can and at the most, they should get a thank you holiday dinner at the end of the year.

There are no laws prohibiting paying board members. However, most condo by-laws include a provision which states that no board member shall receive any compensation for being on the board. Bylaws could be changed by an amendment, which requires a vote from the unit-owners. 

Co-ops have proprietary leases and these might or might not have a provision restricting payment to the board. Some leases prohibit payment unless the shareholders vote to pay the board members. Others do not include this restriction. A note to the board, you should always put a vote to the shareholders before agreeing that board members must be paid because if the majority does not agree then it could be a breach of your duty as a board member. iStock-960885394

In smaller buildings, it could be beneficial for the board to be paid because they are taking care of the finances and the building can save money by not hiring a management company. Compensation could be doled out according to the amount of time a board member needs to accomplish the job. If the co-op or condo decides not to pay the board, they could offer an incentive such as free parking or a maintenance reduction. However, this could be a slippery slope and some board members might feel that they do more work than others and should be paid more. Also, another downside is that by being paid, certain board members might want to hold on to the position, which could create favoritism or a spoils system.

New York City seems to favor volunteer boards and paid boards are quite rare. Therefore, if you are looking to join your condo or co-op board, you most likely will not get paid.

All Area Realty Services knows what it takes to manage buildings professionally and efficiently, and just as important - keeping residents happy.  With over 30 years of experience, and many of our clients with us for decades, you can trust All Area Realty Services with taking care of your building.  

 

Topics: Co-Op Board, Condo Board Association, Co-Op Building

7 Responsibilities of a Property Manager

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Dec 11, 2018 1:43:48 PM

A property management is often hired by a co-op or condo board to manage the day-to-day operations of a building. A property manager's responsibilities will vary depending on the needs of the board they were hired by, but their core mission is always the same, to ensure that the properties they are entrusted to manage, operate smoothly. Listed below are 7 of the most common responsibilities of a property manager.

1. Rent Responsibility 

Handling rent issues is one of the main responsibilities of a property manager. This includes: 

  • Setting Rent: The property manager will set the proper rent level based on the market where the building is located and comparable properties in the area. 
  • Collecting Rent: To ensure optimal cash flow they will set a date to collect rent each month and enforce late fees. 
  • Adjusting Rent: A property manager has knowledge of state and municipal laws pertaining to rent increases and decreases. They can set a rent increase by a fixed percentage each year while still adhering to these laws. 

2. Tenant Responsibilities 

Another core responsibility of a property manager is managing the tenants. A property manager will be involved in all areas, including: 

  • Finding Tenants: Filling vacancies is another responsibility of a property manager. They know where to place advertisements and what to include in the advertisements to attract the quality tenants you want. 
  • Screening Tenants: To decrease your chances of being accused of discrimination, a property manager will have a consistent screening process, that will include credit checks and criminal background checks. An experienced property manager will have the insight necessary to select the quality tenant you want.
  • Handling Leases: This can include, but is not limited to setting the lease terms and determining the amount of security deposit that will be required. 
  • Handling Complaints/Emergencies: A property manager will handle maintenance requests, noise complaints, and they will have the contacts necessary to handle emergency situations. 
  • Handling Move Outs: After a unit owner moves out, the manager will inspect the unit, check for damages, and determine how much of the security deposit will be returned to the tenant. A manager is also responsible for cleaning the unit and repairing damages. 
  • Dealing With Evictions: If a tenant is not paying rent or has infringed upon the terms of the lease, a property manager will know how to properly file and move ahead with an eviction. 

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3. Maintenance and Repairs 

A property manager will ensure that the building is habitable and safe at all times. They are responsible for regular maintenance and for handling emergency repairs. 

  • Property Maintenance: A property manager's duties include performing preventive property maintenance. They will hire someone to exterminate, check for leaks, landscape, shovel snow, and remove trash. 
  • Repairs: A manager has a large network of trusted plumbers, electricians carpenters and other contractors to ensure repairs are handled properly and quickly. 

4. Knowledge of Landlord-Tenant Law

A manager will have a thorough understanding of statewide and national laws regarding the proper ways to: 

  • Screen a tenant
  • Handle security deposits 
  • Terminate a lease
  • Evict a tenant
  • Comply with property safety standards iStock-696694334

5. Supervising Responsibilities 

  • Other Employees: A property manager is responsible for making sure that all other employees of the building are doing their jobs. Setting the salaries of other employees and firing them can also fall under the duties of a property manager. 
  • Vacant Properties: A manager can even be hired to look after a vacant property. The property manager will perform routine checks for vandalism, perform routine maintenance, and make sure contractors are completing their work on schedule. 

6. Managing the Budget/Maintaining Records 

Managing the building’s budget and maintaining all important records can be another responsibility for a property manager. 

  • Managing Budget: A manager is required to only operate within the budget of the building. There is only one exemption, in an emergency situation where the unit owners or the investment property are in danger, the property manager will hold the right to use their judgment to call for repairs without concern for the budget. 
  • Maintaining Records: The property manager will keep records regarding all income and expenses; a list of all inspections, signed leases, maintenance requests, all complaints, repair records, costs of repairs, and records of rent collection. 

7. Responsible for Taxes

Based on your preference, the property manager can either file the taxes for the building or assist you in filing the taxes. 

These are just seven possible responsibilities of a property manager, and as mentioned above their duties can be created around the areas your building needs the most help with. At All Area Realty Services there is a wide variety of management contracts to befit any building, so if you find you are on the market for a new property manager contact All Area Realty Services to schedule a consultation. 

All Area Realty Services knows what it takes to run buildings smoothly and efficiently while keeping both tenants and owners happy.  With over 30 years of experience, and many clients with us for decades, you can trust All Area Realty Services with taking care of your building and tenants. 

Topics: Co-Op Board, Property Management