Keeping a Long-Standing New York Co-Op Running Like New

Fordham Hill Owners Corporation

Location: New York, New York
 

Executive Summary

Genesis Espinal is an assistant property manager at Prestige Management Inc. Her company takes care of Fordham Hill Owners Corporation, a co-op community located in New York City. The development has been around since the 1980s, and has lots of character. The shareholders love their home, but they knew that it was time to make some changes. It was becoming increasingly challenging for staff to communicate with shareholders, and vice versa. This slowed down operations and detracted from community engagement. After learning about Condo Control at a tradeshow, Fordham Hill Owners Corporation agreed that this software platform was the right choice for everyone.

About Genesis

Genesis works hard to keep day-to-day operations at Fordham Hill running smoothly. Owners are very comfortable working with her, and value Genesis’ time and talents. Genesis was very excited to have a tool that would help her bring time-consuming manual tasks and processes online.

Background Information

Fordham Hill Owners Corporation is a gated residential community in New York City. It consists of 9 co-op buildings and 1 rental building. There are roughly 1,000 units. The development was established in the early 1980s, and owners have lived there since the buildings were complete.

 Shareholders were finding it challenging to connect with the management team; since office hours are at the same time many of them work, they weren’t always able to connect with someone when they needed them. “The communication wasn’t as seamless as it should have been or as it could be,” said Genesis.

This delayed maintenance issues and slowed productivity. Condo Control’s service request feature gave owners a way to reach management as soon as a problem was discovered.  

Challenges

Managing Fordham Hill Owners Corporation is no small feat. Using physical letters and traditional email to communicate with over 1,000 shareholders was inefficient and slow. Genesis and her team wanted more effective, modern processes so that they could stay on top of things without having to work so hard, operate as a team, and keep owners in the loop.  

Paper memos

“There were times where we would have to send out paper memos to over 1,000 residents – and that was a lot of paper. Waiting for 1,000 copies to print, it’s a little bit of a headache.” Not only was this communication method time-consuming, but sometimes the notices would get misplaced. Shareholders might forget about an upcoming community event, important reminder, or deadline for something.

Limited ways for owners to reach management

Many of the owners work 9 to 5, which is the same time as management is in the office. That made it hard for them to set up appointments to review board minutes, drop off a form, or speak to the management team about a problem impacting their building or unit. Sometimes shareholders would miss an email, or leave a voice message without knowing when they’d get to speak to someone. It was frustrating for everyone.  

High volume of service requests

Combine a high volume of service requests with no simple system for tracking requests, and you end up with an endless “to-do” list. Genesis and her team did their best to follow up with owners, but sometimes things would just fall through the cracks.

The Solution

While at a tradeshow, board members of the co-op found Condo Control. Once they learned how this online condo management platform could effectively address the problems they were facing, they were ready to try the system for themselves.   

An events feature to bring the community closer together

Despite its size, Fordham Hill is a tight-knit community. There are events, in and outside of the community almost every other week. “So our local park might be having an activity for the children, or we might have a meeting with the neighborhood coordinating officer where the shareholders can share their thoughts with them.”

Before Condo Control, Genesis would have to send out countless reminders. Now, with Condo Control’s events feature, the process is remarkably simple. She can create an event with all the details, include links if the event is virtual, and send it off to everyone all at once. “I love how easy it is to send out event reminders and invitations. When shareholders get the email, they have the option to add the event to their personal calendar,” explained Genesis. “I think that is amazing.” The events feature allows Genesis and her team to share more things happening outside of the community with owners. “It really opened the doors to where we live.”

A digital communication system

Genesis still prints off paper memos for owners who prefer to receive physical documents, but she’s distributing roughly 1/5 of the notices that she used to. Condo Control’s digital communication features have saved Genesis dozens of hours. The platform automates communications and gives owners the freedom to catch up on notices when it’s most convenient for them. Moreover, the online system has significantly improved the flow of information and transparency between management, the board, and owners. 

The announcements feature allows the management team to send notices, messages, updates, etc. to all shareholders, or to a select group of people. Owners only need to log in to their Condo Control account to get the messages, and they can check on updates from the Condo Control mobile app.

Genesis has also tried out the survey feature, and she is quite pleased with the results it has produced. “We’ve been using the survey and that’s an easy way to see how our shareholders are feeling. I received amazing feedback and shareholders loved the fact that they could participate like this.”

Speaking of participation, owners can also participate in group conversations using the community forum feature. This space gives owners a place to ask questions, voice concerns, and share ideas with other neighbors. Management can review forum discussions to get a truer sense of any issues or needs that owners have.

Below is a snapshot of the different forum groups (and engagement levels of each group) available to Fordham Hill owners.   

A systematic process for creating, reviewing, and closing service requests

Genesis has a very strong appreciation for Condo Control’s service request feature. She says that this feature has helped her community the most.

Instead of having to call the management team during work, owners can now use Condo control to submit a new request online. The entire team sees every new request, which means nothing falls through the cracks. The service request feature sends reminders to the management team to follow up if an issue is yet to be updated.

“It helps a lot with accountability, since we all see it, everyone is in the loop because of it. And working with so many shareholders, this really does relieve some of the workload.” 

Furthermore, the feature also gives the shareholders a sense of security. They know that their request is going to be handled.

The charts below show just how quickly service requests are resolved by the management team with Condo Control. That’s good for owners, and good for the property. Small problems are fixed sooner so that they don’t turn into bigger issues.

 

“The more people [using Condo Control], the more service requests we’ll get, and the more we’ll be able to use the platform to its full capabilities.”

 

Results

Fordham Hill Owners Corporation is operating better than ever now that it has Condo Control. Communication has become much more seamless, and owners can reach out to the management team at any time. Community engagement is also stronger because of the management system.  

Genesis

  • Can be more productive during office hours
  • Spends less time on tedious manual tasks
  • Established a better communication system
  • Can be a more effective assistant property manager

Staff

  • Are more in sync
  • Can provide more efficient services to owners
  • In a better position to preserve the property and make owners happy

Residents

  • Are building stronger community ties
  • Have a convenient way to contribute ideas and suggestions
  • Receive the help they need, when they need it
  • Are more self-sufficient

 

Final Words

“I really do think [Condo Control] is a useful tool for management. Especially when you manage so many buildings. It helps everything run smoothly, seamlessly. It keeps everyone in the loop. 10 out of 10 – I would definitely recommend it.”