How The Habitat Company Manages Transitions
- Feb 23, 2015
Since its start in 1971 The Habitat Company has focused on developing and managing a range of property types including market-rate, condominiums, affordable, senior, student and public housing in Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Oklahoma.
As executive vice president of property management, Sheila Byrne directs the operational functions and processes for more than 21,000 units. Byrne oversees Habitat’s various business lines that span across five states and include market rate, affordable, student, condominium, public housing and 210,000 sq. ft. of commercial space.
Recently MHN recently spoke with Byrne about the property management company being appointed new property manager for McClurg Court Center in Chicago and Coventry Glen in Chicago’s northwest suburbs.
MHN: What goals do you have for McClurg Court Center and Coventry Glen Apartments?
Byrne: At the Habitat Company, experience, integrity, innovation and customer service are at the heart of all we do. We strive for excellence and innovation every day, and these values definitely apply to our new work managing McClurg Court Center and Coventry Glen Apartments. With this in mind, our goals for both properties are to deliver the ultimate resident experience of comfort and convenience by implementing Habitat’s best practices and brand standards. We will continue to build on the successes of these communities, while offering continuity and unparalleled customer service. As a full-service property management and development company with more than 40 years of experience, Habitat understands the importance of focusing on today’s renter and what they are looking for in an apartment home. Therefore, we look forward to maintaining open lines of communication with residents, while exploring potential enhancements to the amenities and offerings at both communities that will increase renter demand, while at the same time preserve the assets.
MHN: What challenges do you foresee with these properties?
Byrne: At Habitat we view management transitions as opportunities to make our mark, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity with McClurg Court and Coventry Glen. It’s important to note that Habitat is a unique property management company because we have rich internal resources—from IT and accounting to architectural and engineering experts—that address a wide range of property-related matters. As challenges arise, we are well-equipped to manage them internally. We also rely on our team of experts to build a comprehensive strategic plan for each asset that addresses key operational and marketing considerations that work in concert to ensure the asset’s long-term success. As with any transition, good communication is a priority, and we will work closely with residents to ensure that we understand their needs and priorities.
MHN: What type of marketing have you found to be most successful? Does it vary from property to property?
Byrne: We implement time-tested strategies that have proven successful across our portfolio, but we always view each asset as an individual entity and adapt our strategy accordingly. For example, we have found that a strong online presence and aggressive grassroots marketing are very important when looking to attract new residents to our communities. Every community has its own strengths and our job is to build on those strengths, identify the right media channels for that asset, and then paint the picture for what life will be like living at this community.
MHN: How do your partnerships with other businesses factor into the Habitat Company’s overall market strategy? What do you look for in a partner?
Byrne: We have created some of the most successful partnership programs with neighborhood businesses at our communities. We forge partnerships with local merchants to offer our residents an impressive collection of exclusive deals and offerings to help them feel connected to the community, while also supporting local businesses. At one other Habitat property in particular, we established strong connections with more than 25 businesses and merchants. We look for partners that help enhance the neighborhood’s reputation and offer exceptional service for our residents.
MHN: Is there anything you would like to add or want our audience to know?
Byrne: At The Habitat Company, we are always looking for ways to improve the resident experience. We constantly are identifying innovative approaches to do things better and more efficiently at our communities.
For example, with programs like habitat@home® we make it easy for prospects and residents with text to pay, online applications and lease execution. Our residents really appreciate our signature offerings through habitat extras. Our residents know they have our promise to take care of their service request within 24 hours and, one hour of complimentary assistance from our maintenance team when they move in. Overall, Habitat truly works to make it easy for our partners, owners and residents to do business with us. We are honored to have the opportunity to share our commitment for excellence and deliver high-performance results to McClurg Court and Coventry Glen residents.