Cleanliness is not a capital item

My friend Mike Brewer, with whom I worked on two deals in St. Louis, recently wrote a post about "Opening the store" after reading a bad shopping report. The short version is that the secret shopper found several dead bugs in a unit, leading to additional questions.

This is why managers must walk the grounds every day. Photo courtesy of Walter Lim

This is why managers must walk the grounds every day. Photo courtesy of Walter Lim

This called to mind an incident earlier in my career, when I met the VP of Operations for a site inspection. I arrived at the property and found her pulling weeds and leaving a strongly felt voicemail with the landscaper.

All properties, regardless of how bare their landscaping or how lengthy their amenity list, must be walked daily for trash and damage. Leasing routes should be walked beforehand and all model units should be inspected throughout the day. I've run across model units where the sewer backed up, I've found portions of downspouts hidden inelegantly under buildings, I've encountered shopping carts in hallways. Failing to police the grounds and ensure cleanliness never fails to send an unwelcome message to residents and prospects.

Cleanliness is not a capital item.