Breathe In, Breathe Out, Buy Bubble Wrap

My last job was very stressful.

During my 13-month stint at this previous company, I was asked to move cubicles three times. I had approximately 950 post cards, figurines and pieces of memorabilia displayed in my work space, so this was a logistical nightmare. The amount of boxes and bubble wrap required would make your head spin.

After the first move, I constantly felt on edge, never knowing when I’d be forced to relocate again. My cubicle was my second home—a place where I felt safe and secure and semi-shielded from my supervisor, thanks to prime positioning by the back of the office. Now I was always looking over my shoulder, never able to fully commit to my new space.

And each time, just as I had finally let my guard down and was placing the final push-pin through a hand-crafted, Tibetan pillowcase masquerading as a wall tapestry, the next move was upon me.

How, I ask you, could I be expected to get any work done?

Professional change of any kind is often very stressful. Consider, for instance, the transition that occurs when an apartment community is changing ownership. For the property management staff that has just been informed their community is for sale, this can be one of the most challenging and stressful times they’ll face in their careers.

Onsite staff cannot accurately predict if a community will change hands—or, if it does, who will be the new owner. However, if a community is being marketed by a professional brokerage firm, the firm can often provide a road map of what to expect during the marketing process.

Sean Henry, Principal of Apartment Realty Advisors (ARA), a privately held, full-service investment advisory brokerage, says the first step in seamlessly navigating the marketing and sales process is establishing a team.

During the first meeting—which should include asset managers, regional managers, property staff and the brokers—Henry says attendees should discuss the timing and protocol of the marketing process.

The community staff’s primary responsibility is to manage onsite operations—something that often is disrupted once prospective owners start visiting the community. In each case when a property goes on the market, a broker will conduct approximately 20 tours with prospective buyers and each tour will take as much as one hour of a staff member’s time.

One-third of the time—by the way—that it took me to pack up my cubicle on each of three occasions. I’m not bitter.

For three more tips to improve the transition period during a sale, check out “A Tour de Force” in the November issue of units, which mails Nov. 9.