Q&A with Melissa Podolsky, Director of Property Management
We’ve posed a couple of questions about property management to Melissa Podolsky, RPA, the Principal who leads the firm’s Property Management Team.
Q: In an environment where vacancy is improving, but still off of levels from several years ago, what type of building functions (and corresponding expenses) are most scrutinized?
A: Interesting question, but I would have to say even with vacancy it is important to maintain a building properly. This can be a challenge when income levels from operations are lower because of greater vacancy.
However, spending pennies on the dollar in maintenance today prevents major future costly repairs.
For example, if we were to say we do not have any money to maintain and repair the roof system on a building, there will be premature failure and it could end up costing several hundred thousand dollars to replace the roof system down the line. Not to mention the interior areas affected by roof leaks. With proper maintenance, major capital items such as Roof Systems, Mechanical Systems & Parking lots can have useful lives of 20 years or maybe many more.
Q: What are the most basic changes that can be made to processes and procedures to reduce expenses?
A: Proper maintenance procedures are number 1. The goal is to prevent fires, not just to be adept at putting them out when they flare up.
It is extremely important to competitively bid all services annually, or at least every 2-3 years. This ensures competitive pricing.
Another perhaps less commonly practiced process is thinking outside the box. For instance, technology should be reviewed. We keep up with the most current technology available for building systems and property maintenance, and are constantly re-evaluating the most efficient way to do things– and we challenge our vendors to do the same. Be smart, but be flexible in your thinking. It is not always the lowest dollar amount for a contract that will achieve the best and longest-lasting results.