The Lap of Luxury | National Apartment Association

The Lap of Luxury

Four Walls Can Make It Bright

During my family dinners growing up, one of my sisters had a horrible time calming down long enough to sit at the table for the duration of our meal. A solution that my parents gave her was to run laps around the house as many times as it took to exhaust herself of all her pent up energy. This was a bit of a comical excursion because we had a low-rise fence along a portion of the house where we stored fire wood.

This journey wasn’t exactly a fun experience but the end result was positive for all. Trekking around the "four walls" of our house can be compared to an owner’s experience maintaining the "four walls" of a property and its respective finances. My personal financial application of the "four walls" is implemented differently than an owner per say; but finances are finances and it’s all about the way they are approached more so than the circumstance. As a recent college graduate, I have had quite the opportunity to learn about budgeting and how to pay off loans, etc. My four walls consist of rent, electricity (utilities), food and transportation; what is left over after that goes to loans and debts. An owner’s four walls are different, but very relatable if approached from a certain point of view.

In terms of "rent", an owner focuses on the payroll aspect of the building. Just as it is required to set money aside monthly for rent, it is required for an owner to pay all those who are involved in the maintenance of a property. That money has to be spent regardless, but there are definitely ways to conserve the amount. Utilize web-based systems to handle payroll because they frequently offer savings. Also make sure you "hire right" and complete background checks on all employees. Effectively allocating your money towards these resources from the beginning will help you avoid losing the larger sum of money down the road.

In terms of "electric/utilities", the owner should focus on lighting. Utilize services such as SCL’s green initiatives to replace all bulbs with fluorescent. By providing these bulbs you won’t have to spend as much annually on common area lighting. Take into account any other options such as occupancy sensors and LED exit signs. Installing and encouraging efficiency are effective ways to begin saving when it comes to utilities.

In terms of "food", a relative application for the owner would be water. Conserving water is always important and more noticeable than ever when you take a look at your water bills after making extra efforts in reducing usage. Repairing leaky faucets is one of the easiest and best long-term efforts that can be made.

In terms of "transportation", the owner should focus on weatherizing building. When it comes to transportation I allocate a certain amount of money towards gas for my car, bus fare or whatever means capable of getting me from A to B. This includes purchasing reasonable commuting gear, etc.; I’ve learned how to prepare myself for the nasty weather especially when it comes to me being able to get to work. The same is necessary for a building. It needs to be thoroughly prepared for changes in weather and repaired from wear-and-tear on more than an annual basis. One of the most effective ways to do so is to caulk around all potential areas where heat could be leaking out.

After accounting for the "four walls" applicable to property management, you will have completed your "lap" and be capable of that feeling of luxury. It might not seem possible, but having those "four walls" around you will actually make things brighter. The time and energy put into carefully allocating your money in reasonable and responsible ways will not only make your finances manageable, but present your property as the successful investment it was aspired to be upon purchase.