Individual Unit Management: Additional Service Now Offered for Unit Owners

We are pleased to announce that DEPM has recently launched a new division, the “Individual Unit Management” program, offered exclusively to apartment owners in DEPM-managed buldings.
The “Individual Unit Management” program is a full-service apartment concierge designed for investor-owners. Our highly trained staff specializes in managing
properties for foreign or absentee owners, as well as local investors in the NYC
real estate market.
Our customized management services for investor-owners provide comprehensive
oversight to ensure the security of each unit, as well as the building community as a
whole. Our investment property managers oversee all operational aspects of the
investment, from applications and tenant screening to rent collections and procuring
insurance. Our staff will oversee leasing, provide cleaning, painting, and
repair services, and ensure that applicants submit the proper forms and meet building requirements. We coordinate any work performed inside the unit, and approve and
pay invoices for work done, and interface with building management if necessary. We
pay all bills related to the apartments, including common charges, mortgage payments, insurance premiums, and real estate taxes. Our financial package provides
monthly statements that include all income and expenses, and provide owner’s with
professional financial accountability. We also provide a year-end report that can be used for tax purposes. Our management fee is five percent of the annual gross rent of the
managed unit, billed monthly. For more information, contact Sara Morvay, Investor
Relations Manager, at sara.morvay@ellimanpm.com.

Doing their own thing...together

DEPM’s “Individual Unit Management” program is
offered exclusively to apartment owners in DEPM-managed buildings.

Douglas Elliman Property Managers Receive Awards from NYARM

The New York Association of Realty Managers (NYARM) has given top honors to two of Douglas Elliman’s managers: Declan Hennessy has been named Resident Manager of the Year, and Peter Rufli is being honored for his management of Emergency Response Teams. Both men will receive their awards at a reception on December 6th, following the NYARM Expo.

Declan Hennessy is Resident Manager at 1016 Fifth Avenue, a 55-unit co-op built in 1926, where he has worked for 23 years. Peter Rufli has been Resident Manager at 784 Park Avenue, a 65-unit co-op, since 2005, and teaches courses at the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) organization.

“My Dad died in an accident when I was 11,” says Peter, who grew up in Ireland, and came to the States in 1985. The tragic event led him to begin emergency training at the age of 12, and by age 14, he had saved a life.

“I was on the beach in Ireland with my mother,” he explains. “A girl fell and hit her head and was drowning.” His mother rushed to get him, and he was able to resuscitate the girl. At 17, Peter saved a man injured in a motorcycle accident, who turned out to be one of his best friends. And he’s been an active first responder, search and rescue specialist, and emergency response instructor ever since.

After attaining the Irish championship in javelin and travelling the world with his team, Peter came to the US in his 20’s and started in the property management business as a super. Today he manages one of Manhattan’s premier properties.

In the courses he teaches, his students—who include property managers, NYC Parks Department employees, even Medical Doctors—are trained in medical response, search and rescue, personal safety, nuclear, chemical and biological weapons safety, and “cribbing”—how to safely remove heavy objects from on top of a person, and safely extricate them.

Peter credits DEPM Vice President Elly Pateras and Manager Casey O’Connor with ensuring that 784 Park Avenue receives top-notch management. “I enjoy helping the shareholders with any emergencies or even small tasks that they need assistance with 24/7,” he says. “It’s like being the Mayor of a small town: my staff are the service employees, police and security of the building; the shareholders are the constituents, and my board of directors are the oversight committee.”

When he’s not managing 784 Park Avenue or teaching at CERT, Peter spends time with his family; he has a daughter at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and twin 15-year-old boys.

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Peter Rufli, Resident Manager at 784 Park Avenue and Emergency Response Teams award winner, with elevator operator Irvin Torres and doorman Edward Keever.

Declan Hennessy also grew up in Ireland, raising cattle on a dairy farm in County Cork. He came to the US 29 years ago, and after working as a manager in Queens, moved to 1016 Fifth Avenue 23 years ago. Douglas Elliman came on as property managers at the same time, and they’ve been a team ever since.

“So much has changed in the management industry since then,” he says. “And they’re all good changes. Now, the Resident Manager is part of the management team, not just an on-site agent. We used to go to the office regularly, but now everything is done by email and on the computer.
“This is the best job in the world,” says Declan. “We have unbelievable residents. And our manager at Douglas Elliman, David Dreyfus, is the best in the business.” He also has high praise for the building, which was built in 1926, and features “one of the most beautiful lobbies in the City,” he says. Ornate wrought iron and brass doors flank the entryway, while elaborate marble lines the walls. The ceilings feature molded plaster designs, and the façade is hand-carved with statuary and architectural details.

Declan is a past president and active member of the Emerald Guild, a close-knit networking and support organization for supers, resident managers and other building employees. “When I came over from Ireland, the Guild was like a community. It’s a great organization, and they take care of their members.” He still has lots of family in Ireland, and continues to visit frequently. After five generations, they still maintain the dairy farm in Cork. He and his wife have a 19-year-old son attending college in Boston, and twin daughters aged 15.

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Declan Hennessy, Resident Manager of the Year, at 1016 Fifth Avenue, with doorman Patrick Paradiso and Sean Mollahan.

Founded in 1911, Douglas Elliman Property Management is one of the oldest and most respected firms in New York, providing clients with the volume discounts only a large firm can offer, combined with personalized service and attention to detail. For more information about DEPM, visit ellimanpm.com or call 212-370-9200. For more information about NYARM’s property management education, information and peer networking programs, visit nyarm.org.

 

We Welcome New Properties to Our Portfolio

By Jim O’Connor, President

Dozens of properties have joined the DEPM portfolio in the first few months of the year, and we are delighted to welcome them to our unique brand of property management, enhanced by the wealth of knowledge we have gained in more than 100 years of service.

We are thrilled to welcome so many new properties into the DEPM management portfolio. There’s no question that what sets our service apart from other companies is our people. We have the best managers on our team, and they stay with us for years; sometimes for decades. A full 180 of our 240-plus employees have been with the company for over 15 years. Along with our recent growth, we have hired a number of excellent new managing agents who have been blending in beautifully with our existing team.

Just last month, Co-op City, the largest cooperative housing development in the world, brought DEPM on board to help manage the 15,372-unit property, consisting of more than 35 high-rise buildings on 320 acres in the Bronx.

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Welcome Co-op City! The largest cooperative in the world recently joined the DEPM portfolio.

Located in the East 50s overlooking the East River, 25 Sutton Place South also recently switched to Douglas Elliman Property Management. Built in 1959, the 320-unit co-op is perched above the FDR Drive, providing unobstructed river views, as well as a beautifully landscaped garden where residents can sit and enjoy the outdoors while watching the passing boats.

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Welcome 25 Sutton Place South, a 320-unit co-op on the East River.

The range of new properties that have joined the DEPM portfolio runs the gamut from luxury pre-war properties like 1160 Park Avenue to new buildings on the far West Side and Downtown; from the Bay Club Condominium in Bayside, Queens to the leafy townhouse enclave of Brooklands in Bronxville.

While the DEPM management team is proud of the current growth of our organization, we are equally proud of the long-term relationships we have maintained since the company was founded in 1911.

One of our oldest clients is 911 Park Avenue, where Board President Michael Rankowitz says, “In the 51 years that Douglas Elliman has managed our property, we have always been impressed by their professionalism and attention to detail. While much has changed since 1965, one thing we can always count on is that our Park Avenue co-op receives the service and attention we need from our management team.”

911 Park

911 Park Avenue has been with DEPM for over 50 years.

As one of the City’s largest management firms, DEPM provides central purchasing of supplies, insurance and energy to help our clients control costs. Each building is assigned a financial analyst to work on budgets and investments. The firm offers mortgage, closing and brokerage services through its other divisions. But above all, it is our breadth of experience and longevity in the business that truly sets DEPM apart. For more information, contact me directly, DEPM President Jim O’Connor at 212-370-9200 or info@ellimanpm.com.

 

Continuing Education Keeps Managers Current

Given the constantly changing Local Laws and regulations in New York City, and the stream of new technology hitting the market, property managers must keep abreast of trends in their field. We understand exactly what our clients need to remain in compliance and up to date. And we make sure that all of our property managers and their support staff stay current on these issues by holding bi-monthly In-House Training Seminars.

It is this kind of attention to detail that separates the people at DEPM from other managers—they are constantly being educated right in our office so that they can remain at the top of their game, and protect the properties they manage.

At prior seminars, we have brought in experts to discuss the oil-to-gas and “dirty” fuel to “clean” fuel conversion process, best practices for cost-effective façade maintenance, updates on our new accounting and streamlined bill-approval systems, and how we can help our clients save hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel costs.

During our in-house seminars, managers are given the opportunity to question engineers, architects, expediters, accountants and other professionals brought in to teach, helping them understand the many requirements and options that affect their specific properties. In turn, they can pass along this hands-on knowledge to help boards make informed decisions, stay on budget, save money whenever possible, and avoid fines and violations.

At DEPM, we take great pride in ensuring that our entire staff—both in the office and on premises—has the expertise and education needed to run your building as effectively and efficiently as possible, to enhance both the quality of life and the value of your property. This is one of the reasons why more properties than ever are trusting DEPM with their management services.

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DEPM President Jim O’Connor MC’s our Managers Seminar Series, ongoing in-house education for our managers.

 

Unique Hands-On Approach to Management Draws Properties to DEPM

By Jim O’Connor, Douglas Elliman Property Management

In the 30 years I’ve been at Douglas Elliman Property Management, I’ve seen a changing business. With the price of properties here in New York City hitting astronomical levels, new owners are coming in spending millions of dollars for their apartments and bringing different expectations of service. We have to address that need, while also being sensitive to those who have been living here for decades, many of whom take a more traditional approach to management. In addition, Local Law requirements, inspection regulations, the tax code and other considerations are as ever-changing as the City skyline.

In the past year or so, dozens of new properties have come to us for their property management needs. In 2015 we added nearly 20 new properties to our management portfolio, and we already have two dozen additional buildings starting with us in 2016. Why? Because of our unique hands-on approach to management, our dedication to service, the firm’s exclusive focus on property management, the longevity of our company and staff, and the continuity that affords.

Founded in 1911, DEPM manages over 350 buildings and almost 50,000 apartments. Our portfolio includes every type of property from Mitchell-Lamas to rent stabilized units to luxury properties on Fifth, Park and Central Park West, to newly constructed downtown high-rises. We manage properties in four of the five boroughs, Westchester and Long Island.

Our Services

One of the reasons that DEPM has such a fine reputation in the City is our extraordinary staff and the resources we bring to bear on a daily basis on our clients’ behalf. Because of our size, our central purchasing allows buildings to save significantly on supplies: between five and fifteen percent compared to other companies. Our closing department is staffed by 14 people and handles over 4,000 transactions a year—sales, sublets, lease changes, etc. Each of our buildings is assigned a financial analyst who works with the board and treasurer to produce budgets on an annual basis, review monthly financials, and provide cash flow statements so properties can plan their expenses twelve months out. We have special relationships that provide our clients with competitive mortgage refinancing; we’ve refinanced over 100 buildings’ underlying mortgages in the last five years.

Our energy management department aggregates the energy needs of our properties—fuel oil, natural gas, and electricity—and shops these on a regular basis, resulting in savings for our clients of over $3 million a year for the last three years. We also purchase insurance for our buildings through two competing master insurance programs, each of which offers an umbrella liability plan of $150 million aggregate per building, offered at competitive premiums.

Our Experience

As an established company that’s been in the forefront of New York City property management for over 100 years, our experience with issues and solutions are second to none in the industry. Steam leaks, floods, gas leaks, water tower collapses, we’ve seen it all. As a property manager, you hope it doesn’t happen, but it’s our job to be well prepared to deal with any situation or crises that arises in our buildings.

As you might imagine, most building emergencies don’t happen 9:00 to 5:00 Monday to Friday. We have a trained Emergency Response Team. They come on after 5 o’clock, and they carry what we call “The Bible,” which is the emergency contacts for not only everyone at each building, but for the home numbers of all the vendors that service our buildings. In addition to doing the basics—making sure that everything is tied down, that all the drains are clear when a storm is forecast—in the event that something goes wrong, we know who to call and when to call them.

We’ve gone through Hurricane Sandy where we had buildings wiped out by the storm. We had buildings that had water go through their lobbies, damaged buildings that were uninhabitable for months afterwards. But we worked with our boards, our owners, FEMA, and the insurance companies to get these buildings up and running. It was a staggering accomplishment, which took much longer than any of us wanted. People were without their homes for a significant length of time, but we got it done. In all these years, the monumental task of rebuilding after Sandy was easily the greatest challenge we ever faced.

Our People

Part of what makes us one of the leading companies in the City is our people. We have property managers with a wealth of experience who have been with DEPM for an extraordinary period of time; some managers have been assigned to the same buildings for over 20 years. Fully 180 of our 240-plus employees have been with us for over 15 years. That kind of continuity is unknown in our business.

I’ve gone to work for the last 30 years with the greatest collection of professionals that anyone could ask for. I truly wouldn’t change anyone in our company for anyone else in the industry. This place is unique in that respect: people like property management here. And people like working with each other here. That’s a testament to the type of people we have and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

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“I truly wouldn’t change anyone in our company for anyone else in the industry,” says DEPM President Jim O’Connor, pictured here with Vice Presidents Peter Lampen (center) and Elly Pateras.

 

 

 

 

Choosing A Managing Agent: Key Questions to Ask in an Interview

By Jim O’Connor, President of Douglas Elliman Property Management.

If you really want to know what separates one management firm from the rest, there are a few questions you need to ask during your interview process. Surprisingly, many boards—even seasoned property owners—fail to ask some of the most important questions when searching for a new managing agent.

One of the biggest complaints we hear from prospective clients is that their current firm keeps changing their building’s Account Executive. This is a real problem, because a management firm needs to provide your property with an institutional memory. The best way to keep track of all the myriad decisions that go into the management of your building—investment history, billing and finances, staffing issues, maintenance, capital improvement projects, vendors’ history, and so on—is to have a long-term relationship with a reliable manager.

How Long Will Our Manager Stay With Our Building?

At Douglas Elliman Property Management, our managers have been with us an average of 15 years, and there are buildings that have been in our management portfolio for over 50 years. This kind of customer and staff loyalty results in an unparalleled level of continuity in our management services.

So when interviewing for a new Managing Agent, ask how long your Management Account Executive will stay with your building. Having the same manager for many years will not only ensure continuity of information, but may give you a higher level of expertise.

Who Manages Construction Projects?

Another very important question to ask when interviewing a prospective management firm is: who manages construction projects when they arise? As we all know, they inevitably will. So much work needs to be done on a regular basis to maintain buildings in New York that we at DEPM have developed a very sophisticated system for managing construction projects. From elevator replacements to oil-to-gas-conversions to new roofs, we have the depth of experience—and the manpower—to see your projects through from planning to completion. We approach each project at every building the same way: diligently and carefully, with the oversight that every project needs to have, so that it gets done on time and on budget.

How Do You Track Building Codes and Violations?

It is very important that your property manager stays current with all of the City agencies and regulations, and the paperwork they require. From the Department of Buildings to the Fire Department, there are filing deadlines and regulatory requirements that must be met on time; some monthly, some annually, and some every third or fifth year. Failure to meet these deadlines can result in substantial fines and building code violations.

At DEPM, we have arranged with a number of outside vendors to maintain computerized records for each one of our buildings, to make sure that deadlines are met, to search databases on a regular basis to see if there are any violations, and to clear up those violations as needed.

With over 350 properties in our management portfolio, we get emails daily about our properties, about what needs to be done when, to make sure that each property is in compliance. We are also informed immediately should any of our properties be in violation of building code regulations, what the problem is, and what has to be done to clear it up. We know that violations carry fines, and we try to ensure that the properties we manage meet their filing deadlines and keep violations and fines to a bare minimum.

Other Important Questions

Questions about financial reporting and investing are also important, so be sure to ask what kinds of reports the firm will prepare for your board, and when you can expect to receive them. You may want to know if the company offers online payment options for maintenance fees or common charges. Most firms now offer online access to financial information, budgets, work orders, payment approvals, and other building records, but it’s important to ask about these systems and get a walkthrough of how they work.

Finally, be sure to ask: what separates your firm from the competition? If a firm can’t offer any substantive reasons why they stand out from the others, perhaps there are none. A firm with a long history of management service, a large portfolio of properties representing a wide range of types of buildings, experienced personnel who participate in continuing education programs, and a back office with a good reputation among vendors and contractors, should be able to tell you what separates them from the rest of the pack.

At Douglas Elliman Property Management, we meet those criteria and more. Our pro-active stance on everything from energy conservation to capital improvement projects helps our buildings save money, improve energy-efficiency, avoid fines, and run smoothly and efficiently. We hope that you will keep these important questions in mind when considering a managing agent for your property. For more information about DEPM’s staff and services, please feel free to call me directly at (212) 692-8463 or email me at jim.oconnor@ellimanpm.com.