Despite the significant number of small condo and association communities that exist in Illinois, and in the Chicago area in particular, residents of these buildings would not be blamed if they felt a bit neglected with all of the attention that larger high-rises and mega-dwellings receive.
According to Donald Kekstadt, AMS, PCAM, CEO of Associa Chicagoland, there are roughly 11,500 associations in Illinois, and the vast majority of those associations are small enterprises with 10, six or even three flats. When it comes to operating, managing and maintaining these buildings or communities, though, size can be a misleading factor. “These buildings have real needs,” says Kekstadt. “And they’re the same needs as the 150-unit buildings.”
Tairre Dever Sutton, president of TAIRRE Management Services, Inc., based in Des Plaines, agrees that the issues faced by residents are the same, regardless of the number of units involved. “If one pipe breaks, it’s still a pipe break,” she says. The difference is that in a small building, when that happens, everyone becomes involved in the problem, often whether they want to or not.
For managers and management firms, the goal is to provide a consistent, high level of service regardless of the size of the community served. “We approach this from a larger perspective, that our portfolio needs to be balanced,” says Darren Seefeldt of Good Steward Building Management. “So we don’t differentiate the amount of service or agents who serve the smaller associations. These properties have and deserve a level of service that shouldn’t be overlooked.”
Same Needs...Fewer Resources
The fact that smaller condos and associations do face the same issues and requirements as their counterparts means they do face one particular difficulty that their peers do not and that is a severe limitation of resources, including matters of time, personnel and finance.