Why Creating Value In Apartments Is So Easy For Me
Actually, the whole of value creation isn’t really that easy. Most people want to earn a “quick and easy buck,” and this applies as much to designers, contractors, leasing agents and maintenance techs, as it does to anyone else. Furthermore, virtually every resident feels like they’re already paying too much for their apartment and getting too little service (usually true), so any change or improvement is an immediate annoyance, or worse a threat to their “quiet enjoyment.”
Managing teams is a ton of work, even when the objective is perfectly articulated, which is rare. But, most people also want to be part of something bigger than themselves. We want to do something that really matters. And while the apartment industry as a whole can be extremely boring, transforming a particular apartment complex into a truly special community is an amazing experience to be part of. Imagine an apartment resident living out a true pride of ownership; they don’t think twice about picking up after their dog, happily responding to a genuine personal greeting by staff, and telling their friends to move in so their dinner parties involve a walk rather than a drive. Our experience of where we live is SO important to the quality of our lives, and too often apartment residents settle for what amounts to a mail box for their bills and a vanilla box for their stuff.
Most people consider themselves to be optimistic, and some will admit being pessimistic. I’ve been characterized as boldly optimistic, but I see myself as realistic. Everywhere I look I see potential. And in the same picture I see things that are worn out and getting worse, which is frankly just depressing. Call it deferred maintenance. Call it patina, or brokenness, or fatigue or whatever, but it is distracting, and it diminishes value. Somehow, I’ve always been able to see past what was and What Is, and imagine what Could Be. Sometimes I see it so passionately that I consider it what Must Be.
I’ve had so much experience analyzing apartments…their physical condition, management team and financial performance, that I can very quickly see potential. Sometimes this potential is modest, but sometimes it’s quite dramatic. Either way, I get inspired to the point that I start to see it, almost feel it. And I get excited by it. Very quickly after seeing it, I can begin to articulate what it looks like to help others see it. For the designer, I love exploring how physical conditions might change, how this change would impact the resident experience, and asking them to imagine that with their unique design skills. When they get it, they often describe back something even better than I imagined! For the leasing agent, I love describing the changes coming, and discussing how we might inspire current and new residents to embrace the changes needed to realize those improvements. When these teams are aligned in vision for what Must Be, the process becomes (almost) easy, and value is created for all involved.
While creating this value is hard work, it’s also easy when potential is seen and shared, for the ultimate benefit of all involved.