Residents of a condominium, cooperative or homeowner's association that literally takes care of itself, from the grounds to the pool to the electrical systems, really have it made in the shade.
But those building communities really do not exist in the real world. The truth of the matter is that it takes a village to keep an association running at its full capacity, and a combination of building administrators, staff and vendors need to be relied upon to perform the many job functions around a property.
In some cases—like in many New York City properties, for example—a building superintendent can serve as the eyes on the ground, doling out tasks to a cadre of trusted professionals as they need be performed. But in the Chicagoland area—especially in the suburbs—superintendents are not such an all-important entity.
Kara Cermak, president of property management company Rowell, Incorporated based in Elgin, exclusively centers her business around suburban associations. From her purview, superintendents are a rarity. "Generally we don't have them at all," she says. "We have subcontractors, and, occasionally, a property will have its own employees who are always on call, but that's less frequent than our subcontracting to other contractors from a management standpoint."
As president of Baum Property Management in Aurora, Michael Baum concurs, viewing superintendents as more of a factor in large urban high-rises as opposed to the "vertical" developments that dot the suburbs. "It's much more laid back in the suburbs than in the city," he adds.