Most property managers really tick me off

For some folks, arrogance knows no bounds. (Image from the New Yorker.)

Possibly the biggest bane facing buyers, sellers and their brokers is property managers. You’d be hard-pressed to find one of us who praises any of them.

In a purchase of a Chelsea co-op that finally is scheduled to close on Thursday, the behavior of the  property manager of the building in which my buyer will live strains credulity.

It took this dame one and a half weeks to get back to the listing broker and me – only by e-mail – regarding the hefty board application that we submitted.  Her delay alone is unacceptable.

Moreoever, she didn’t make clear whether the problem that she raised was coming from her or the board itself.  Either way, the fault that she communicated had no merit, relying as it did on a confusion between requirements for a guarantor of the purchase and my buyer’s situation.  My buyer had a guarantor only of the mortgage, and extra material she demanded applies only to a guarantor of the purchase.  Go fight City Hall, right?

Then, the manager–I think I’ll call her “Marlene,” as in “Dietrich”–was arrogant to a fault.  (Well, isn’t an arrogant person always so to a fault?)  Anyway, Marlene wrote that she  would need up to one and a half weeks once the new and needless information was provided.

She said she required the time to “verify” the information, even though her sole responsibility is to verify only that the information has been supplied, have buyers’ credit checked and forward the package to the board of directors.

In my experience, many property managers don’t even bother to see whether documents have been signed properly.

It is bad enough that property managers take their time, worse that this one seemed oblivious to the pressure for all concerned to meet the June 30 deadline for obtaining the homebuyer tax credit.  For my client, meeting the deadline is worth $8,000.  For the seller, closing by June 30 is the difference between selling the unit or losing the deal since the contract insists on that end date.

Eventually the process ambled forward–the board interview, board approval and attempts to schedule a closing to meet the June 30 deadline at a time when the many concerned parties were available.

When my client’s attorney e-mailed a date – today, in fact, – that almost everyone had said he or she could manage, old Marlene responded by saying the whole day was out of the question.

She didn’t trouble herself to suggest any other days or times that would work for her.  As business drew to a close on Friday, there was no response for additional options in the flurry of e-mails that followed.

Perhaps Shakespeare got it wrong with respect to the lawyers.  Had there been property managers in his day, surely he would have suggested killing them all.

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201
Web site

4 thoughts on “Most property managers really tick me off

  1. While I can appreciate the frustration of any purchaser or seller (much less the brokers representing them) I do want to correct, that at least in NYC and certainly at the firms named above; the “property manager” should and would have little to do with any transfer. These firms have transfer agents assigned to handle these matters and more often than not (and as should always be as a matter of practice) the Boards and counsel representing them give direction on acceptance and even interpretation of requirement fulfillment.


  2. I can tell you that my experience with Greenthal Management has been atrocious. It took 7 months of emails for them to even do something as simple as correcting my mailing address! The latest affront was lack of notification of exterior work that damaged my property. Their response? That I was needlessly complaining. Who cares about Owners? Nobody; certainly not the Board of Directors.


  3. Count me in as another one who’d like to string up the property manager. An all cash deal with excellent financials sat on the desk of the manager for a month before being sent to the board and then only because the seller asked the board president to call and ask for the package. Emails to the management company would frequently go unanswered for three days.

    I wanted out of the deal. No way I wanted to live in a building managed by this company.


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