For a newly elected condo board made up of residents, one of the first decisions to make is whether to keep the association manager used by the developer, become a self-managing entity, or bring in a new firm. Generally, most associations don't want to self-manage because this requires a huge investment of time for volunteer board members. It also may not be advisable to keep the developer's manager, since they may be working in the interest of the developer and not the condo owners. The following tips will help the board pick a management firm that will prove a good fit for the community.
Tip #1: List the tasks you require of a management company
Not all condos have the same needs, so make sure you are very specific in listing your community's needs and ensuring that any company you interview can meet with the board members. Commonly required tasks include general maintenance of public areas, collection of dues and general oversight of an association's financial records, homeowner compliance enforcement, the serving of paperwork to homeowners, and the mediation of association meetings.
Tip #2: Check with other local boards
When shopping for a management company, contact condominium associations in your area that are well managed and ask for referrals to management companies. Aren't sure if an association is well managed? You can determine this by asking a few residents or checking the property owner turnover rates. It's a red flag if units are constantly up for sale, while it's a good sign if real estate sells quickly and at a premium for a particular building.
Tip #3: Ask about the company's management processes
You don't want to hire a company that is looking to reinvent the wheel. For example, make sure that the company already has a list of grounds-maintenance providers they work with, a general set of financial controls and policies, and policies and procedures for working with the association and homeowners. These policies and procedures should be available for the board to review during the selection process so that you can make an informed choice.
Tip #4: Compare fees and services side by side
Most management companies should be willing to provide an itemized list of fees and services. Before making your final decision as a board, compare these lists side by side. Begin by marking your required services or tasks on each itemized quote. Disqualify any company that cannot provide a need service. Next, add up each quote so you have a realistic picture of the total annual cost of using the property management company.
Contact condo management companies in your area, such as MacPherson's Property Management, to get started.