This article was posted on Wednesday, Jan 01, 2014

There is an old saying when it comes to selling or renting real estate that the three most important factors are:  location, location, location.  Yet, what if you are working at an apartment community that does not have these three things going for it?  Maybe your community is “off the beaten path” and no one can find you or your building is located in a neighborhood that is not considered desirable because it needs a facelift.

Perhaps you are near certain types of businesses that may discourage people who are driving by from driving in. The issue of location is obviously a concern based on the following question.

Q:  I work at an older building that is tucked away in a secluded spot.  It once had a great reputation, but over several years’ time, the local neighborhood has taken on a “run down” appearance and many of the area businesses are not caring for their properties the way they once did.  It’s getting harder and harder to attract new renters, not to mention trying to hang onto existing residents who are now concerned with security and safety issues.  If I could pick up and move this building, I would do it!  Do you have any suggestions?

A:  I want to commend you for your loyalty to your building and residents.  It’s obvious that you care a great deal about the people and the place where you work, as well as your local community.

Challenges with “location” are especially difficult as they sometimes fall into the realm of things that we consider to be “beyond our control.”  We feel powerless and find that frustrating.  On the other hand, difficult challenges present unique and exciting opportunities to become creative and also get other people involved in the problem-solving process.  Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work!”

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Well, solving challenges related to “location” is work; it’s HARD work!  It requires spending time analyzing ALL of the problems, not just the ones that are blamed on location.  Let’s face it – over a period of time, it becomes easier and easier to make “excuses” and “blame” what is perceived as a “bad location” on EVERY problem that arises.

“No one can find us because we are in a bad location.”  How colorful and well-placed are your signs?  How skilled are you at giving specific, detailed directions even if it means using a local pub as a landmark?

“No one will use our laundry facility because it is perceived as being unsafe because we are in a bad neighborhood.”  Is your laundry room bright, cheerful and welcoming?  Is the interior as well as the exterior building and surrounding area well lit?  Can residents be introduced to one another and encouraged to use the “buddy system?”

With regards to your neighborhood situation, perhaps your community could become a member of your local Chamber of Commerce and network with other area businesses who care about the condition of your section of the city.  Maybe your staff and residents could get involved civically and attend local town meetings to make your voices heard about what’s happening in your neighborhood.

The problems you face won’t go away overnight.  They took years to develop and will take time to correct.  MUCH patience will be required to bring about any lasting change.  Of course, many people prefer to stay with the problems they understand rather than look for solutions they’re uncomfortable with.  It’s easier to complain than change!  However, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

You may not be able to change the location of your building, but you CAN change the direction of your thinking.  After all, it’s a lot easier to “pick up and move” people rather than buildings.

Joyce Kirby is with Shoptalk Service Evaluations, “Ask the Secret Shopper” and may be reached at [email protected] or by visiting   Reprinted with permission.




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