Challenges and Rewards Managing Brand-New Buildings

With new and luxurious condos going up all the time across the city, management companies are champing at the bit to become the first managing agent for these often high-profile, upscale properties. If it’s a choice between managing a new multi-unit residential property or an older existing property, it seems like a no-brainer to go with the new one. After all, becoming the first managing agent offers firms the opportunity to establish proprietary operational and procedural systems on a property with all the latest amenities. Plus, the managing agent’s job must be easier since everything from the HVAC system to the doorknobs works, everyone is happy to be in a shiny new home, and the maintenance and structural problems that face older buildings won’t appear for decades…right?

Well, this isn’t always the case. Although it might initially seem that a new building has everything up and running perfectly, there are often lingering construction problems, clueless first-time homeowners and problems that need to be worked out—usually with a lot of help and sweat on the part of the managing agent.

“I always say when managing a new building, you have eight months of misery, then 15 years of pleasure, and then the misery starts again,” says Stephen Elbaz, president of Brooklyn-based Esquire Management Corporation. “During that first eight months you need to work out all the kinks. There’s always headaches and repairs.”

Time to Hire

Good management is an absolute necessity for any multi-unit residence the moment it opens for occupancy. In the early stages, a developer or sponsor may engage a management company to assist in the process of developing offering plan documents to present to the New York State’s Attorney General’s office and an initial operating budget.

“In some cases, forward-thinking developers involve management companies from the conception and design stage [of a building project],” says Mitchell Berg, senior vice-president of Maxwell-Kates, Inc., a Manhattan-based management company. “For operational reasons, having a management company involved on the design of the building is sometimes beneficial.”

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