Location and Property Management: Urban Versus Suburban

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It may not seem like the location of a specific apartment building would have a huge impact on the way in which the property should be managed. After all, property management companies just provide the same services to every client regardless of the where the apartment or condominium is located, right?

Wrong. Property management techniques and styles can and should vary greatly depending on location. This is especially true when it comes to comparing suburban and urban multifamily properties. If you live in the city, then there is a different approach that has to be taken than if you live in the suburbs.

Services like security and landscaping have to be carefully considered before resources are allocated to a specific task, as there must be a balance between which elements of property management are mandatory and which are just nice to have. A licensed property manager can help you to determine what the best plan of action is for your multifamily property. Related: Things to Consider Before Investing in a Multifamily Property

In order to help you start determining where you should be focusing, we have compiled a list of items that can be added, or will require more attention depending on if your building is urban, or suburban.

Urban Property Management

  • Litter Cleanup: There is nothing that residents of multifamily buildings love more than having a nice, tidy property to enjoy. With that being said, urban properties must deal with greater amounts of waste like garbage, dog excrement, and cigarette butts. That just means that property management company representatives will need to spend a little extra time sweeping, washing and collecting trash, or designating smoking areas and providing cigarette butt containment units.
  • Security: Due to a much greater population density and higher overall crime rates, it is likely that urban apartment building investors will always need to spend a little more on security. This could mean putting better locks on doors, installing cameras in the parking lot, or even having a guard on duty for larger complexes.
  • Parking Lots: Whether you have underground parking, a covered lot, or just open air parking in your building, there are challenges associated with urban locations. Not only is better security often required, but also there is a greater need for regular cleanup and maintenance. Repaving or painting a parking lot can not only give the building greater curb appeal but also deter crime and litter.

Suburban Property Management

  • Landscaping: Since there is likely to be a greater amount of time and money left over from security and cleanup, suburban multifamily owners can allocate resources to beautifying their properties for their tenants. Even something as simple as adding flowers or some small trees can greatly increase the curb appeal of an apartment building. People will expect a greater emphasis on esthetics in the suburbs, so lawn maintenance and gardening should receive extra attention as well.
  • Vending Machines: Snack or pop machines in the lobby of a building can add a nice side income for investors that own suburban properties. Since there is generally a greater chance of vandalism or theft in urban locations, it is safer to assume a good return on investment for these machines in the suburbs. Additionally, residents will appreciate the opportunity to grab a quick snack on their way in or out of the building.
  • Common Areas: Sometimes the lobby or recreation room can play a huge role in the overall satisfaction that a tenant has with their building. Adding a ping-pong table, television or nice piece of furniture to a common area will surely result in happy residents. Again, it is statistically less likely that these types of additions are going to be abused in a suburban setting, making them a much safer bet for investors.

Looking to hire a licensed property management company?

Braden Equities Inc. has been successfully managing apartment buildings in Edmonton since the 1970s. A lot has changed since then, but our commitment to the residents living in each building we manage has not. Contact us today.

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