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The modern day welcome wagon.

It is a proven fact that a large percentage of the population experiences high anxiety when they move into new surroundings. For many people the disruption can wreak havoc in both their personal and professional lives. Packing and unpacking are necessary evils that cannot be avoided, but simple routine tasks like food shopping, going to the bank and post office, dropping clothes at the dry cleaners, even walking the dog can become monumental chores when you are unfamiliar with the neighborhood. Wouldn't it be nice to wave a magic wand and have everything fall into place? How about moving the clock ahead a few months so that all those unfamiliar places are now part of your daily routine? Obviously, that isn't possible unless you're a fairy godmother or Superman.

Thus, the "welcome wagon" was born. Developed in the early 1950s as a panacea for those feelings of confusion, chaos and upheaval that thousands of World War II veterans were feeling as they moved their families into the growing American suburbia, the welcome wagon became the mark of acceptance and greeting.

The responsibility of welcoming new members to the community fell on the shoulders of the homebuilders, local shopkeepers and long-time neighborhood residents. Traditionally, a representative of the town committee would arrive at the new neighbor's front door with a custom basket of "local flavor," including produce and groceries from the local market, community newspapers and area maps. At AKAM Associates-managed properties we have embraced this time-honored tradition, tweaked it a bit, and updated it for the 21st century.

Upon arrival, sometimes even at the closing on an apartment if an AKAM representative is attending, every new shareholder or unit owner receives the AKAM Resident Handbook. This publication includes the by-laws of the corporation or association, job descriptions and responsibilities of the building staff, and information about annual meetings, board meetings, elections, etc. We have found this handbook alleviates a great many anxieties and answers many general questions that residents have about the rules and regulations concerning their new home.

For those residents that have access to the World Wide Web, the AKAM Genesis System is available 24/7. Genesis is an Internet-based communications vehicle designed exclusively for the use of owners and residents in AKAM-managed properties. The system offers immediate on-line access to time-sensitive notices and other communications from management; work order forms that are directly transmitted to the appropriate building staff member, minutes of the property's board meetings; and the ability to communicate with the Board of Directors or Managers.

In addition, with the click of your mouse, you can access neighborhood information including local schools, retail shopping, financial services, doctors, hospitals, movie theaters, and more. And, with just another click, you have the ability to print out a map to guide you to your destination! There are even direct links to area weather and traffic.

Many AKAM properties have created site-specific welcome packages that run the gamut from a stylish welcoming newsletter that includes information on the building, neighborhood services, board information, and rules and regulations to a full-blown welcome basket brimming with samples and discount coupons from local stores.

Other forms of the traditional welcome wagon that promote fellowship among the residents and ease the transition to a new home are get-to-know-your-neighbor parties and potluck dinners. Life in the big city can be overwhelming, but with a smidgen of old-fashioned hospitality and a little bit of 21st century technology, the transition can be made a lot easier.
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Title Annotation:AKAM Associates
Author:Kaminoff, Leslie
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 12, 2002
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