The co-op and condo universe can be divided into two types of properties: The vast majority that engage a
professional management firm and those that choose to go it alone. All properties need the services that good full-service management provides, from ongoing maintenance of the physical property to staff supervision, financial oversight, assistance with contract negotiations and timely response to resident inquiries and concerns. The difference is that in self-managed properties all these responsibilities fall to the shareholders or unit owners who have volunteered to accept them.
Success Stories Abound
Self-managed since its conversion in 1981, the seven-unit co-op at 368 West 23rd Street in Manhattan is financially solvent. It maintains a stable reserve fund and has completed several capital improvements. With the help of legal counsel, this co-op recently prevailed in a legal issue with the IRS that will enable the property to remain within its 80/20 income parameters and reduce maintenance charges. Bob Waisman, the co-op's vice president and treasurer, has overseen the building's management from day one. Everything is funneled through me, says Waisman, and I willingly accept that because I feel it's my home and my investment.
Enjoying similar success is the 15-unit co-op at 35-16 80th Street in Jackson Heights, which turned to self-management five years ago when the management scandal broke resulting in indictments of numerous managing agents and the closing of several major management companies in the New York area. Our board acts as management, says board president Warren Schneider. I know that some small buildings go to management companies. But you have to keep on top of them or they might walk away with the store.