Saturday, December 5, 2009
NEPA Management Assocs Speak Out
Stroudsburg- Community associations, Property Owners Associations, condo complexes, town-home communities and investors throughout Northeast PA are discovering a better way to maintain and manage their properties and communities. They let NEPA Management, Inc. handle everything from collecting rents and dues to snow plowing, lawn care and administering all of the day to day business.
A wholly owned company of WARE Inc., NEPA Management, Inc. oversees the daily management of over 28 communities and individual investment properties in Monroe and Pike counties. It is one of the largest full-service property management companies in the Poconos and has their sites set in the Lehigh Valley and Scranton areas and NEPA continues to expand. The company is now focusing on spending time on commercial projects as well as fiscal and bookkeeping services, and their newest venture, collections.
”We are always looking at opportunities in the Scranton and ABE (Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton) area,” says Thomas R. Wilkins, CEO. He chuckled, “You know our name came about because even in the beginning we knew the value of Northeast PA, thus our name NEPA.”
He likens property management to operating a resort such as the Caesars honeymoon resorts, developed by his father, Morris B. Wilkins, founder of the heart-shaped bath. Guests checking into a hotel want the accommodations to be up to date and in good repair. “That’s the same thing in property management,” he remarks. “People live in a community until they sell and then we get new guests or owners.”
NEPA Management, headquartered at 304 Park Avenue, Stroudsburg, handles all types of properties: commercial accounts, communities with property owners’ associations, townhouses, condominiums and rental properties.
Among the services they offer on a short-term or long term-basis are:
• Collecting rents and homeowner fees
• Accounting and budgeting
• Maintenance of roads and common areas
• Operation of swimming pools
• Maintaining community water systems and billings for water and sewer companies
• Handling correspondence and accounts receivable and payable
“The challenges are unbelievable, but we have fun.” says Christina Serpico, Senior Property Manager, who has been with NEPA for 8 years. The board of directors of a community or individual property owners can use a few specialized services like financial management or a full package of maintenance and administration. The chief advantage is that while most of the community board members are volunteers, “It’s our profession,” she says. Often the cost of the services is offset by increased profits. “You would be surprised how competitive our fees are.”
“Our collection rate is good,” says Property Manager Lindsay Rivera, who has been in property management with NEPA for the past 3 years. By using computerized systems and real estate databases, they specialize in making sure no unit falls through the cracks when it comes to paying dues or notifying the community when a property is sold.
Each community or property owner is actually getting about 15 people working directly for them. Multi levels of staffing include four property managers, administrative assistants and a fully staffed accounting department led by Rosemarie Lobe-Waller, Vice President/Controller for Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Wilkins & Associates and NEPA Management, Inc.
Qualified independent contractors, who specialize in landscaping, plumbing, electrical, housekeeping and other property maintenance, bid on the jobs to give our clients expertise at the best price. Another advantage Wilkins adds: “By representing a number of clients, we can get a better rate on loans or investments for reserve funds,” including CDs with higher yields.
Individual property owners also benefit from NEPA Management’s menu of services. “When the stock market went south, people got scared,” Wilkins notes. “They put their money into real estate as an investment.” Many are from out of state and found it difficult to maintain their properties. “It’s a business to own rentals,” Wilkins points out. They soon realized that professional management would enhance their profit. Now, the Wilkins company also handles vacation home rentals for weekends, weekly and seasonally.
NEPA Management finds qualified tenants and uses a computerized system to collect rents. The tenants receive prompt response to any maintenance concerns and the property owners are mailed a monthly check plus a year-end accounting for taxes. Property owners are sold on a new program of inspections and preventive maintenance done on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis. “That’s a great asset for the homeowner,” remarks Christina Serpico, because minor repairs often can be made before they become major problems.
”It’s a matter of being able to let them know we are here,” she says and invites property owners to contact NEPA Management at 570-421-5409 or visit www.nepamgmt.com.
Wilkins laughs and says, “We opened the doors June 15, 1988 and the real estate market went south June 16th.” Wilkins & Associates Real Estate had a prosperous real estate market to work in for less than 12 hours. About a year later, Wilkins recalls, two gentlemen representing the Villas at Pine Hill came into the Mount Pocono office and asked if the company would collect the dues for the association. “We were struggling,” Wilkins says, and they gladly accepted payment of $100 per month to collect dues. “That was our first account for NEPA Management”, and he’s proud to say, “We still have that account today.”