Managing a co-op or condo community is far from an easy job. Six managing agents from some of the city’s top firms recently participated in the continuing series of roundtable discussions hosted by The Cooperator and the Federation of New York Housing Cooperatives and Condominiums (FNYHC) to provide some insight into the intricacies of co-op and condo management.
Meeting informally over coffee and bagels, the managers discussed their biggest challenges. Among those were how they keep current in an ever-changing industry, how management contracts and fees are determined, how managers work in concert with the board of directors and interact with the resident shareholders and unit owners, and their thoughts on professionalism and licensing in the real estate industry.
Albert Pennisi, FNYHC president and Queens-based real estate attorney and senior partner with the firm of Pennisi Daniels & Norelli, LLP, served as moderator, and was joined by Federation executive director Greg Carlson, and board members Mona Shyman and Donna Klein. The managers represented included David Baron of Metro Management, Michael J. Wolfe of Midboro Management, Rochelle Captan of the New York Association of Realty Managers (NYARM), Jay Fingerman of AKAM Associates, Jeffrey Friedman of Vintage Real Estate, and Dan Wollman from Gumley-Haft Real Estate.
Managers have to develop an effective relationship with their boards, says Wolfe, Midboro’s president and a longtime property manager. A property manager’s job today is much more complicated that it was just five or ten years ago, explains Wolfe. Before, he says, they just managed the operations of the building. Now they have to deal with issues on a 24/7 basis and take care of maintenance, record-keeping, relations with the board and shareholders and owners, and more. The board has to do its job, and at the same time, let the property manager do theirs.
“If they micro-manage every move that the property manager does, and require approval [for everything], it definitely makes the life of the property manager miserable and doesn’t make for an effective manager,” Wolfe says.