To Be Managed - or Self-Managed? Examining the Age-Old Question

While the majority of co-op and condo communities in New York hire professional management firms to handle their day-to-day operations, many others choose to go the self-managed route, which can include hiring on-site staff or having residents themselves handle the tasks usually carried out by hired help. Their reasons for doing so are as varied as the buildings themselves, but ultimately, it’s about finding the best fit for unit owners and boards alike.

Management companies are usually the solution of choice because “Hopefully, a management company brings in the kind of expertise on buildings, building systems and protocols that allows them to solve problems,” says Greg Carlson of Carlson Realty, Inc., in Forest Hills. “Their managers are trained to be management people. You’re hiring a professional.”

And you will introduce that professional as part of a larger functioning unit. The systems works best, Carlson says, “when management is part of a team. Everything should be seen as a team approach with the board, manager, attorney and accountant all working together. There’s the basic trust of working together.”

The Self-Managed Advantage

That idea of a team approach, though, also drives the proponents of self-management. “Our residents don’t have to go through channels,” says Rochelle Captan, who has headed up the on-site management team for the self-managed Amalgamated Warbasse Houses in Brooklyn for more than 30 years. “The relationships we’ve established, the one-on-one connections. Our office staff have excellent relationships with the people here, and know everyone by their first name.”

The personalized nature of self-management can be a significant draw for residents and boards when determining the future course of their management decisions.


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  • I find this article very helpful, and it is true that the decision depends on the size, scale, and money, along with other factors. However, the ultimate issue is that the current to- be-managed model is fundamentally flawed. If interested, you can find my blog article at