Personas in the renovation process in a homeowner association

In the world of marketing and product development, one concept has proven invaluable: Personas. These fictional characters, based on interviews and data from the target audience, have become a key tool for understanding the needs, desires and behaviours of customers, users and other stakeholders.

Personas are much more than simple name tags for your target audience. They are holistic portraits based on careful analysis of real people. Creating personas often begins with interviews and surveys to gain a deep understanding of potential customers or users.

For our personas, we used the data and results from our research in D2.1 Expert interviews , D2.2 Survey, and our regional roundtables.

We then divided the collected data into groups with common characteristics and behaviours. These groups become the archetypes that best represent our target groups in the renovation process. The attributes and characteristics of the respondents feed into these archetypes, creating a “persona.” These personas are representative of the various stakeholders on the owners’ and managers’ side, with their varied interests, problems, life situations and desires.

The work on the personas has made it clear that there will not be THE one solution for a higher renovation rate in homeowner associations (HOAs), but that flexibility and adaptability will be necessary in solution approaches.

Now we would like to briefly introduce our personas. The more detailed document with further information on our personas can be found here.

Gisela Müller, Owner

Gisela Müller is an elderly lady who appreciates empathetic and understanding communication. She prefers telephone contact and information on the bulletin board. She is interested in maintaining her property, but is against energetic modernizations and prefers cost-effective and quick solutions.

Gisela is sceptical about the requirements of the energy transition for existing buildings. She wants to be involved in the decision-making process and feel included and taken seriously.

She needs clear information to dispel reservations and myths about renovation measures. Property management companies should be in a position to clarify these reservations and provide factual information without trying to “sell” anything, for example through energy consulting. Benefits should be clearly stated and potential risks should also be discussed. Complex information must be presented in a clear and understandable way. Managers should provide expert knowledge and encourage respectful interaction with difficult owners. Gisela would like to see clear cost estimates and information about financing options.

Christian Welcke, Owner

Christian Welcke is a committed property owner who believes energy efficiency and maintaining or increasing the value of his property are important. He recognizes that energy efficiency requirements are constantly changing and it is important to stay up to date.

Christian expects transparency and proactive, long-term planning from property managers. Christian would like to see an administration that provides information about energy retrofits with expertise and model projects in the region. He thinks a user-friendly online platform with information for owners would be very helpful. He also plans a building committee to promote knowledge about energy efficiency in the HOA.

Christian expects his management to be empathetic and able to convince the HOA and explain funding opportunities in an understandable way. Unbureaucratic subsidies and fast amortization are important to him.

Karl Heinz Gruber, Property Manager

Karl Heinz Gruber is a busy property manager who is often caught up in day-to-day operations and has little time for forward-looking action. He complains that in many WEGs there is no holistic view of the common property, which leads to additional costs. Karl Heinz would like to see guidance and support for subsidies, communication and legal advice for efficiency measures. He prefers to finance efficiency measures from maintenance funds or special assessment because he has always done it that way and knows how the procedure works. He would also like to see well-prepared owners in meetings.

Karl Heinz Gruber sees his role as a “caretaker” and “problem solver,” but his suggestions are sometimes met with resistance and are perceived as “selling” a project. He prefers bundled services from general contractors, emphasizes the financial challenges of administrators and the need for appropriate compensation.

He laments the lack of networking with relevant stakeholders and the difficulty of finding independent energy consultants. He would like to see a portal for this, e.g. to be able to invite subsidy consultants. In HOA meetings, he experiences emotional discussions, even about small fee increases and maintenance reserves.

Katharina Fritsch, Property Manager

Katharina Fritsch is an experienced residential property manager working for a large property management company. She specializes in property value preservation and plans long-term decision-making processes. Qualification and certifications for administrators are important to her. She also welcomes qualification offers for advisory boards.

Katharina attaches importance to planning security for subsidies and would like to see more openness for HOA loans from the owners. She pleads for increased cooperation between different actors and advocates for long-term renovation plans and investment strategies. In addition, she would like to see a register of expert craftsmen and energy consultants who are familiar with HOA renovations.

Katharina Fritsch would like to make apartment owners aware of the importance of energy-efficient renovations and reduce bureaucratic hurdles. For her, the HOA is the main decision-maker and her role as an administrator is to obtain expert assessments, make suggestions and moderate the process. She would like to see better financial rewards in the renovation process for the administration.

Katharina recognizes the challenges when apartment owners do not see a personal benefit in energy measures, due to long payback periods or financial constraints. She emphasizes the importance of “hallway propaganda” and long-term planning in HOAs.