The task of facility and property management in estates is one that is yet to hold sway in Nigeria and other developing societies in the world. However it is essential that we are aware of its importance first before there will be room for its acceptance by all and sundry.
Not too long ago, we conducted a research to arrive at an estimate of people who were interested in seeing their facilities managed. The result we obtained was dependent on the income bracket of the respondents. Basically people have about five options on how they want to manage their property in terms of common property, an estate or facilities within an estate. In advanced countries there is a difference between property management and facility management albeit it’s a different ball game in this part of the world as property management is still in its infancy so everything is still muddled up. For this reason whenever property management is brought to focus, you may also be implying facility management and vice versa. Nonetheless, in actual sense they differ a bit but also similar in some ways.
READ ALSO: Understanding Property Management
But that’s not the bone of contention today. What I want to drop in our sub-conscious today are the challenges of property and facility management in estates.
There are about five options in managing an estate, and they are:
1.) The developer appoints a manager which most likely would be a professional facility or property manager or even a management company that will be solely responsible for the management of that estate.
2.) In other instances the joint body of the developer and the residents (buyers) appoint the professional property manager or
3.) The residents solely appoint the manager of the property.
4.) It is also possible that the developer manages the property himself
And the final option could be that:
5.) Residents manage the estate without any external input
The last option is a run-off-the-mill situation when it comes to property management in Nigeria. It is almost a norm for residents to manage estates themselves especially areas whose evolution sprouted from the efforts of the residents. While places independent of a central developer; somebody that facilitated the development of that place garners far less popularity.
Wherever you see residents of gated estates come together, only one thing comes to mind; a landlord association that commence meetings every Saturday. These people are referred to as community development association or landlord association and they strive to be the best in their area. People that constitute the community development association are tools used in managing the facility within the place especially common areas such as road, drainage, security, electricity and water.
Nonetheless, challenges abound because how well a property is managed or how well within the common areas a property is managed affects the value of a property.
Therefore, while planning the purchase or sales of a particular property, it is consequential that one begins properly and do the needful. The model and style of management to be adopted in the environment where the property is located should be the talking point or focal point. This becomes mandatory because research has it that places that have been self managed probably by a developer – who really is not an expert in facility management or by residents who are not experts in facility management either, don’ t get to reach optimal levels. The place tend not to be properly managed, it becomes a little bit more expensive to do proper management or it becomes a herculean task altogether. Worse still people management may become an issue.
Albeit when a professional manager is involved in the management of the property, there ensues considerable variance in the management of such property. A property manager that is appointed by the joint body of residents and developers or, solely by the developer is aware of the task at hand. The fact that a professional manager is involved in the management of a property and its facilities usually produces a better outcome in terms of the effect that has on the value of the property or the sustainable value of the property and the environment at large.
Hence the logic here is that when you are buying a property, you should critically consider the essentials to know the arrangement put in place for the facility manager and also for people to be open minded as regards facility management. Research has also shown that the major problem is that most people don’t pay for facilities as they should in a timely manner or adequately; its either they don’t pay in time or they don’t pay when appropriate until the facility begins to suffer from lack of maintenance and correspondingly the property value will slow down as depreciation creeps in.
Good property management is the key to enhance property value over time; various research abound to this effect. It is also important that people are aware of the options open to them and should opt for the best. You may choose to employ a personnel to manage your facility or a facility management company backing up a team to give good value for your money.
All of these come with a red flag! This is dependent on the affordability of an appropriate and adequate facility management and also, the target market of the product or service. At the moment, self management tends to occur more at the lower end of the market. Therefore, for a lot of places that are out of town the major challenge is the ability to be able to pay for a professional manager which makes them more pre-disposed to self management.
However there are a lot of self management efforts also in that cadre, if well done at least delivers some useful results and makes the place quite better than the others around in the same category. I’ve seen situations where the lower income brackets that are self-managed still make efforts to use their connections effectively to their own gain to the point that the government is brought into the picture. In such instances the government does one thing or the other as regards property and facility management from road repairs to drainage and sometimes, the transformer serving the residents is changed. These usually should be the case as its done in advanced countries or societies because they are basic responsibilities of the government, however in this part of the world we still don’t enjoy much of that.
My advice goes thus; people should get to work on the type of facility management they require and get to ask questions regarding facility management in other to know what is in the offing before they get to invest in a property because it will definitely affect the value of their investment as they progress.
MD/CEO Realty Point Ltd
READ ALSO:The Practice of Property Management