Online Communities The Internet as a Management Tool

By now, it is evident that the Internet is to our generation what the West was to our founding fathers–a vast land of opportunity to explore and cultivate. The World Wide Web has already established itself as a place to obtain information, chat with a celebrity or write to a friend–all from the comfort of home. Thanks to the Internet you can shop for everything from stocks to shirts to an apartment without shedding your pajamas. You can read magazines, listen to music and play along with Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Every day, different uses are being found for the Internet. It is truly the New Frontier, and among the most recent pioneers are real estate management companies and their clients, who are finding ways to use the web as a building and communications management tool.

Within the last five years, almost every major property management company in the Metropolitan area has launched its own website. Typically, these function like advertisements, allowing a co-op board shopping for a management company to review a particular firm’s client list and credentials. In the last few years, several luxury buildings have also established websites, primarily geared towards outsiders and used to sell the building.

The newest trend, as typified by three websites launching this spring, is to create portals which feature individualized web pages for buildings. The pages, which are accessible only to management, residents, owners and staff, are tailored to the needs of each building and offer a range of features from a message board for notices to online repair requests. The websites vary too, supplying everything from weather and traffic to an exclusive online magazine.

What’s Out There?

Insignia Financial Group, the parent company of both Insignia Residential Group, which manages about 60,000 co-op and condo apartments, and Douglas Elliman, one of the largest real estate brokerage firms in the city, has joined forces with several other management companies to launch The website is designed to create an online community for residents of luxury apartment buildings. "For the first time we can offer a truly differentiating product in property management," says Insignia chairman and chief executive officer Andrew Farkas. "Edificerex is the ultimate amenity representing the future of metropolitan living."


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  • I would be particularly interested in what smaller co-op buildings, who may not have the need for all the features of the sites mentioned here, are doing to simply help facilitate e-mail communication between the management company, board members and residents.