To succeed in this real estate market, investors and managers need a new kind of toolbox. While financial implements are still critical, more traditional tools of the trade, a hammer, paintbrush and the number of a good plumber, for example, have joined them.

As the industry experiences one of the worst downturns in decades, real estate investors and managers are reconsidering strategies for success. Many of them have embraced a back-to-basics approach that provides a path for staying strong in a difficult economy. A key part of that approach: actively maintaining their properties.

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