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Multi-family real estate, a people business

By Jackie Green, Director of Property Management (South Bend, IN)

Multi-family housing is a unique and diverse element of real estate due to the human element. Almost twenty years ago, while attending a seminar about handling objections, the speaker stated that in the apartment industry, we see many people at the worst time of their lives. The speaker went on to say that it not only takes a special person, but a devoted and patient employee to succeed in this industry.  Anyone who walks through your office door to rent an apartment has had some change in his life that requires him to seek housing other than where he currently resides. Sometimes the change is positive, as with a new job or marriage; both have optimistic outcomes yet are very stressful to the normal person. The most memorable residents that I have met were people in a negative transition, such as divorce or separation, loss of a job or home (sometimes both),  aging adults that were forced from their homes, people suffering from mental illness, addictions, terminal illnesses, hoarding, and any other horrific event that brings a person to seek alternate housing. At Holladay, we are fortunate to have experienced and wonderful staffs at our communities who understand the human element of their jobs and enjoy it.

Holladay Properties proudly owns and manages three apartment communities and one unique apartment building consisting of student housing for a total of nearly 550 apartments. Holladay is small in comparison to the large cookie cutter developers who build 1,000+ apartments in one area, but large in diversity, with each community serving a different need in our neighborhoods.

West Jefferson was built in 1969 and features 96 apartments in the heart of Mishawaka. The signature royal blue and white buildings make it a memorable landmark for anyone in our community. The complex offers one, two and three bedroom units, so we are able to serve single adults as well as larger families. Due to the pricing structure, we offer an affordable option to lower income families and single adults. As the market has changed for our country, it has also for West Jefferson and we are now accepting Section 8 in select one-bedrooms, which is a new endeavor for this community. The staff of West Jefferson is shown in the top image of this post.

McKinley Woods (shown in the 2nd image) was purchased in 2011 and features 86, one, two and three bedroom apartments and townhomes. The community is a hidden treasure as the buildings are situated around a large courtyard with mature trees covering the entire property.  The serenity has been a selling point of the property but also a struggle due to the low visibility from main traffic. The accessibility to shopping, which is walking distance from the resident’s front door, has been important to many of our tenants. McKinley Woods is a great value with gas for heat, hot water, and cooking included in the rent. The staff continues to work long hours to preserve and renew the beauty of the community.

Maple Lane, located in a rural part of northern Elkhart, is an amazing property with 77 buildings of four-plex two- bedroom apartments for a total of 308 apartments. Maple Lane was built by Holladay Properties from1988-1991 on a heavily wooded lot. Maple Lane was a competitor of mine for many years at another management company and the “home feel” and the unique qualities of this property made competing with them impossible. There is really no other community like Maple Lane in the market. The community offers amenities which include a pool, clubhouse, fireplaces, garages, furnished executive suites, handicap accessibility, full size washers and dryers, and much more. The postcard views from each apartment has made it a popular home for many senior citizens, which comprise a large percentage of the population of the community. The staff has maintained a steady vacancy and overcome many obstacles, as Elkhart became a ghost town early on in the economic decline that started in 2008. The staff of Maple Lane is shown in the 3rd image.

Darby Row located only blocks from the campus of Notre Dame caters to the student who wants to be part of the college lifestyle with many of the conveniences of a home. The apartments are different than any apartment in the area with four apartments which share a main floor common area equipped with a flat screen television, laminate floors, full size washers and dryers and security systems. The rich feel of the apartments are a compliment to the area and the structure is a landmark for the neighborhood. Darby Row was completed in June of 2012 and features 35 beds and the demand for them has grown with the 2013-2014 school year already fully leased. Student housing does not lack any interesting stories or headaches but this building is a real success for what it offers our community. The Darby Row team is shown in the bottom image.

Apartments make up the real estate part of multi-family housing but the residents who pay us rent monthly and keep our staffs busy are the important part of our jobs. With a vast array of residents including seniors, students, families and single persons, there is no doubt that our staffs stay busy with work. The care and attention given to our properties by our staff show in the beauty and success of each community. There is never a dull moment in the housing industry and when you think you have seen or heard it all, the next big thing walks through the office door.

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