Since Labor Day, I've been inundated with news regarding the many economic and meteorological storms hitting the nation. In the mornings when I turn on CNN, I see the devastation of Hurricanes Ike, Hanna, and Gustav, as well as the daily economic storm damage on Wall Street.
Sometimes there's nothing you can do to avoid having your company or properties in the path of one of these storms. But I hope this issue of APARTMENT FINANCE TODAY helps to prepare you for the unexpected disasters that might come your way.
In this issue, we share real-life stories on how multifamily owners have fared after fires, tornadoes, and hurricanes, as well as what lessons they learned from those experiences in our Multifamily Disaster Survival Guide, starting on page 26.
Having both a plan in place for the unexpected and solid insurance coverage to back you up during the aftermath are your best bets to recover quickly and minimize financial losses. But you need to also remember there's more to it, like being there to support your residents during these tough times.
After a fire at one of his developments a decade ago, Tom Aderhold, president of Aderhold Properties, and his staff were quick to respond after another one of his properties was hit by a tornado in downtown Atlanta this past March. What impressed me most about Aderhold was how he prepared his staff for different scenarios—such as power outages and shootings on the properties. Just because you think it could never happen to you doesn't mean it won't.
As hurricane season raged on, catastrophic storms of another kind were brewing on the horizon. In early September, the government bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was followed by Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy filing, Merrill Lynch's sale to Bank of America, and the government's emergency rescue of AIG.
But at least Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac say it's business as usual, and the bailout had some immediate positive effects for multifamily borrowers. Prices on long- and short-term agency debt have neutralized since the bailout after being raised throughout the summer. But while deals were still flowing freely to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the wake of the bailout, storm clouds continue to hang over each company's long-term prospects. To find out what this takeover means for you, read the article on page 12.
Hanley Wood, LLC, APARTMENT FINANCE TODAY'S parent company, has created another tool to help you weather the storms affecting your day-to-day business—www.HousingCrisis.com. This new site will offer as-it's-happening finance, policy, and economics insight— via articles, info-graphics, blogs, video flashes, aggregated links, and resources to help you make smart decisions amid the housing and economic crunch.
APARTMENT FINANCE TODAY wants to hear about your creative solutions after natural or financial disasters. Write a letter to the editor to share your lessons learned with other multifamily readers. Please send your stories and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.