In just about every commercial community, controlling costs is a major concern. With foreclosures mounting, maintenance expenses growing and collections becoming a bigger problem, you’re dealing with more issues than ever before when you work in a commercial office complex.
As 30-year professionals in community association management both on the residential and commercial side, locally and family owned City Property Management is proving why commercial community management is just as important at the office as it is at home. CEO Patti Garvin of Phoenix-based City Property Management explains how the company she founded decades ago continues to grow on the commercial side in a Q&A with azbigmedia.com.
Q: Most people recognize the name City Property Management on the residential side as it pertains to HOA management in Valley. What is your company doing on the commercial side?
A: The vast majority of our business tends to be singe family neighborhoods and residential condominiums, but what most people may not realize is that many offices and office plazas are a condominium association as well. The disconnect seems to be that most often a condominium is a residential dwelling.
However, Office Condominium Associations come with similar governing documents, rules regulations and operational needs to suit a very unique membership. Keeping the common areas of an office condo is just as important as a residential community with regards to values and confidence from a consumer/client standpoint.
Q: With the upturn in the real estate market do you see the commercial side of your business growing in years to come?
A: We do. We are already seeing signs of life in the commercial construction market, even an adjacent property to our own office condo is being constructed and scheduled to be occupied by a large national employer just this quarter.
My personal take on the commercial recovery is a two part answer 1) homeowner confidence should translate to a more robust economy thus producing stronger demand for commercial property and 2) with the anemic interest rates available at the bank, a potentially overheated stock market, investment capital will be looking for opportunistic alternatives, such as a depressed commercial market.
Q: Why do commercial properties need a company like City Property Management? How can commercial properties boost their collection fees?
A: Many commercial property owners tend to be involved operators and busy with the day to day operations of their own businesses. Property management is our day to day operation and we bring to the table valuable resources that prove very equitable and beneficial to office condominiums.
Our personnel are seasoned, some as many 30 years’ experience have the extensive knowledge in communication, maintenance, service providers, budgeting and guidance that can prove very helpful to owners and boards of office condos. Knowing proper collection procedures, sometimes with the assistance of attorneys, and knowing when to expend the money to collect, and when to cut losses is one way to effectively boost overall collections.
Q: As maintenance expenses grow and collections becoming a bigger problem, what issues is your company dealing with that you haven’t seen in the past?
A: Currently the state of most associations is much better than the previous 3 to 4 years where there was much more financial turmoil and delinquency issues. Through the difficult years there had been drastic changes and reductions in services and reserve contributions to counter the lack of projected cash flow, so expenses needed to be reduced to be in line with income. Now that cash flow seems to be more stable, associations need to reevaluate long term goals and capital improvements and account for proper reserve funding and maintenance implementation.
Q: Where do you see the future of property management going in the future here in Arizona?
A: Being an innovator in our industry with regards to implementing technology, I think that property management will run hand in hand with many sectors using technology to enhance efficiency and productivity. Twenty years ago checks were hand posted and managers used clipboards and Polaroid cameras, Today it’s much faster paced with the use of social media, smart phones, tablets and email. Our proprietary Association Management Software provides an unparalleled level of transparency to owners and is accessible 24/7/365.
Owners can now view statements, documents, pictures as well as specials offered from local businesses. I feel that it will be increasingly more efficient and transparent, with much positive light to be shined on our industry for overall customer satisfaction.
Patti Garvin started in the property management industry in 1979 managing a portfolio of 250 rental units for ERA Realty. In 1981 she was recruited to work for the Don Lawrence Companies and started her career in the HOA management industry. In 1985 she took out a small loan and purchased into a partnership at a small Mesa-based full service real estate company called City Property Management. After a series of internal acquisitions she became the sole owner of City Property Management in 1992. Visit cityproperty.com for more information.