There are a lot of tasks to be taken care of in managing a condo community. Between the demands of community members, the many administrative functions and following up on the decisions of a board, the things to be done can pile up quite quickly. If you’re feeling like you’re doing things that your property management company should be doing or feeling overwhelmed, then it might be time to consider hiring another company. In this article, we’ll explain what they are and give you five tips on how to choose property management company candidates for your community.
Defining the Role of a Property Management Company
Put simply, property management companies are third-party, professional businesses that carry out the management tasks of the condo board. As a board member, your task is to make policy decisions. The main responsibilities of property management companies in condo communities include, but are not limited to:
- Taking care of residents’ requests and issues
- Maintaining the common areas
- All administrative and financial tasks including paying the bills, collecting the fees and preparing financial statements to name a few
- Complying with local regulations
Ultimately, the property management company exists to make the board members’ roles as low stress as possible.
How to Choose Property Management Company Candidates
Now that we know the basics, it’s time to start focusing on what to look for in a property management company. Here are five key factors you should keep in mind:
One of the most important things to consider when choosing a property management company is location. Not necessarily the location of their head office, but the location of the condominiums they manage.
It’s important that the company you choose is familiar with the area in which your property is located. A local property management company should be familiar with the condo’s demographic, availability of local trades and the community.
When it comes to entrusting your single biggest investment to someone, you want to make sure that they have the experience necessary to do a good job. This means finding a company that has been in business for several years and has a good track record of managing properties like yours.
How to Find a Property Management Company With the Right Experience
Finding a good property management company with the right amount of experience can be tricky. On the one hand you don’t want to choose a company that is so new that they are still working out the kinks and learning the ropes. On the other hand, you don’t want to hire a large conglomerate that is full of bureaucracy and is resistant to change, new ideas and tailoring services to your condominium.
The best way to find property managers and companies with the right amount of experience is to ask prospective candidates about their current clients to assess their versatility and success.
3. Services Offered
Not all property management firms are made equal, and the services and support they offer can vary widely. Some property managers are stronger on maintenance of physical properties while others can manage the finances well but lack in other areas.
Finding a property manager that is well rounded and excels in all areas is extremely important. If there is anything specific that you would like to see, then be sure to add that as part of your RFP in addition to any other value-added services they provide.
The cost of property management services can also vary widely. Most companies will charge a flat monthly fee with a schedule for additional disbursements which should be included in their quote. Ultimately, the management fee will depend on the services offered, including the size of your property and the number of on-site hours required.
Credit: Aleksejs Bergmanis
When hiring a property management company, it’s important to shop around and ask for competitive quotes from qualified firms ensuring that you are comparing “apples to apples”.
Looking for the Best Property Management Company? – You Get What You Pay For
While it’s important to find a property management company that fits your budget, be sure to keep this age-old adage in mind. In most cases, you really do get what you pay for. Much of the cost is determined by the experience of the condo manager. A licensed and experienced condo manager is in high demand and is fetching a premium in salary which in turn is passed onto the client. Continuity and tenure of the on-site condo manager is important, and you don’t want your condominium to become a training ground with a revolving door of condo managers.
If you choose a property management company that charges rock-bottom prices, it’s likely that you’ll get subpar services in return. Conversely, if you choose a company that charges a bit more, you’re more likely to get better service and results. IN short, don’t trust the management of your single biggest investment to the lowest bidder!
One of the most important aspects of any business relationship is communication. This is especially true when it comes to property management since your manager will be responsible for dealing with your members on a day-to-day basis.
When interviewing potential property management companies, pay close attention to how they communicate with you. Do they return your calls and emails promptly? Do they seem interested in answering your questions? If not, it’s likely that they won’t be very responsive once you’ve signed a property management agreement with them.
Knowing What to Look For in a Property Management Company
Choosing the right property management company is essential to ensuring that your condominium community is well-cared for and the envy of the community. By keeping the above factors in mind, you can be sure to find a company that is a good fit for your needs. Ask for and check their references. Listen to what their current clients have to say about them. This is very important. Ask for a list of comparable clients that they currently manage as well. This will give a good indication of the types of condominiums managed.
ICC Property Management has been in business since 1992 serving the Greater Toronto Area and has over 32000 units and 240 condos under management. Contact us today to request your free proposal/quote.
Featured Image Credit: Pavel Danilyuk