First impressions are often lasting ones

June 25, 2010 at 6:57 pm 1 comment

I have realized that it is easy to become complacent about property maintenance and appearance when money is tight, there is not enough help and the amount of work seems never ending.   Many of us get used to walking by cracks in the sidewalk, dirty, grimy stairwells, broken building components and not see them.  A manager once told me that she ignored maintenance issues unless they were pointed out because it meant adding extra work to her already over burdened “to do” list.  I recently delivered letters to a community that brought this issue to the forefront.  At first sight, this community spells luxury living at its finest.  But upon closer examination,  the stairwells were dirty and when my hand grabbed the stair railings I could feel  the ickyness of years of grime on my hands.    Upon reflection, I couldn’t help thinking “what else is a mess?    Worse, what kind of message does this send to the residents and guests about management and/ or the owners of the community?  And the sad thing is that an initial negative impression is hard to change.  So the question we should ask ourselves is “what is your community’s  first impression saying to others about you?”

Simply taking care of the little things goes a long way in increasing the property appearance and value.   Brainstorming with other managers about how they took care of similar issues can be very helpful.  Expand your list of contacts so that you can call on others for help.  Join the OC Property Management Network on Linked In and share your questions or ideas with other managers.

I spoke to a manager who expressed concerns with water restrictions and personnel shortage about considering the possibility of cleaning one building a week until all buildings are addressed.  I shared that my association where I live is addressing the cleaning of the common areas in a similar fashion.  She liked that idea.

The communities entrusted to us as property managers are valuable investments.  Part of the fiduciary responsibility we have is to assist in preserving, maintaining and even improving the property’s value.  First impressions are very important and they are a reflection of our management abilities.   It doesn’t always take enormous sums of money or time to pay attention to the details.  Exterior cleaning, common area repairs such as cracks in sidewalks, broken fire extinguisher glass, dings to exterior stucco, broken roof tiles can be addressed at a reasonable cost.  Fully utilizing the services of your landscaping professionals can go a long way in maintaining the property’s curb appeal by seeding bare spots in the landscape, mulching and trimming back shrubs and overhanging tree limbs.

Outward appearances can be deceiving if the interior is flawed.  First impressions can quickly go downhill because of lack of focus on the little things.  As people we strive for progress in our work and lives not perfection.   Look for ways to improve upon the inside of the community by utilizing your community experts whether they are your vendors, onsite personnel or office personnel.  Often times we can become overburdened in our responsibilities and we forget that we are part of a team and that we are empowered to delegate or ask for help from others.  Realize that your first impression is a lasting one.


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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Joanne Micheil  |  June 29, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Another great article Esther…..Thank you!


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