A few important things to look at before deciding to hire a condo management company
11 tips when hiring a condo management company
Date Published: May 22, 2019
If you’re reading this then you know that hiring a condo management company has some tangible benefits. A management company could help you increase the value of your asset by managing it more effectively while taking a major workload off your plate.
But, if you don’t know what to look for then you can easily end up with a dud. That’s why you must put each candidate through a certain criterion to prove that they can do the job.
The following is a helpful guide with a brief but concise checklist of all the key considerations to make when looking for a good quality condo management company.
What to Look for When Hiring a Condo Management Company
A condo management company is responsible for handling the day to day needs of the property they’re managing. This goes for small tasks like making sure the landscaping is done routinely, to taking care of the building’s security needs. They’re also responsible for any issues that arise from the tenants or owners.
To get all this work done, a condo management company must have thorough knowledge and experience of how condo buildings work. They should also be well acquainted with condo regulations, which are always changing.
How do you know that a condo management company is any good? Put them through the following checklist of considerations and see how they fare.
How long have they been in business?
Experience is where you separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to condo management companies. An experienced company is better at staying up-to-date and adapting to ever-changing regulations in the industry. They also have a wider network of specialists garnered from years in the industry working with contractors and other service professionals. Plus, reputable condo management companies usually offer a more comprehensive package when compared to an inexperienced operator.
A great way to gauge a company’s experience level is to ask them about some of their most memorable challenges and how they overcame them. This’ll give you a good idea of how well they deal with problems and whether or not they actually enjoy what they do.
If you’re not quite satisfied with the answer you get, ask them point blank how long they’ve been in business for. This is the easiest way to find out how much experience a company has.
Keep in mind that there’s no substitute for experience in business and in life. That’s why a company that has been around for 10 years knows a lot more about the ins and outs of running a condo than a managing company with only 3 or 5 years’ experience.
Make sure you hire a condo management company that’s associated with the relevant regulatory bodies in your state or province. Some of the most important accreditations to consider on a national level include the National Association of Condominium Managers (NACM), the Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI) and the Real Estate Institute of Canada (RIC).
Membership in these and other organizations shows that you’re dealing with a professional condo management company that’s dedicated to the industry.
In addition, individual managers within the company should also have their own qualifications. This will give you peace of mind knowing that the people managing your property are knowledgeable about the latest industry legislation. It also indicates that they’re educated about every aspect of the condo management process.
Inquire about the business structure of the condo management company you’re considering. Is it a one-man shop that has to outsource most of its services? Or is it a well-run organization with a team of trained professionals that are ready to serve your businesses every need?
Large condo management companies usually come with portfolio managers that handle a number of properties each. If you decide to hire a condo management company with this structure, then you’ll be assigned a portfolio manager who’ll be your main point of contact. They’ll also serve as the main point of contact for your tenants and will have oversight on your property based on their experience and expertise. This amounts to better relationships and better customer service to you and your tenants.
Experienced condo managers are usually so well-connected that they can get great deals on maintenance and other related property costs. Through a network of specialists that are always available on-call, experienced managers can negotiate better rates for essential services. They may even have systems in place that’ll help you save on taxes in order to increase your bottom line at the end of the financial year. Another avenue through which condo management companies can achieve financial efficiency is through minimizing vacancy periods through effective advertising.
So, make sure the company you’re hiring has strategies in place to maximize financial efficiency and help you realize a healthier bottom line.
Do they have a maintenance plan?
The key to preserving the value of any property is to have a sound maintenance plan. The last thing you want is a condo management company that practices reactive maintenance. That means they’re likely to leave important maintenance to the last minute and this can be very costly. It’s better to update a plumbing or HVAC system according to planned maintenance before it becomes a problem.
Make sure your condo manager has a written preventative maintenance plan with weekly, monthly and even bi-annual markers based on specific areas and systems.
In addition to maintaining an asset, a condo management company must know how to grow its value by generating larger profits. Again, it helps to have an actionable plan with details on how the company will increase your asset’s profitability over time.
To do this, the company must be accustomed to current market trends and understand all the latest patterns in staging, marketing, and software. Management companies can use condo management software to maximize profits by automating tasks and removing the need to hire more staff.
Effective communication is arguably the most important aspect of any successful working partnership. If you’re going to choose a condo management company, make sure they’re good at keeping in touch.
The key is to build a relationship based not just on mutual trust and respect but transparency. You need to make sure that you’ll have a reliable point of contact in case of emergencies. The company must also be available when you need to ask questions or clarify something.
Most professional management companies offer multiple contact options including email, telephone, live chat and community websites.
As with any service provider you hire, it’s important to ask for references before you make a decision. Reliable management companies are more than willing to provide you with several references if you ask.
Once you have the references, contact them to find out if they were satisfied with the company’s service. Ask them how long they worked with the company and why they stopped.
Make sure the references they’re providing you with are for properties that are similar to yours otherwise you won’t have relatable examples to compare to.
The condo management company may even point you to their website and social media pages for additional testimonials and reviews from happy customers.
What services do they offer?
Don’t assume that certain services are included in the rate you’re getting without confirming with the condo management company.
Remember that condo management companies are not all the same. Some are more experienced and have a bigger team than others. This means they can offer a larger bouquet of services than smaller operators. But, this often comes at a higher price.
For best results, ask the company to give you an updated list of all the services included in the rate they’re charging you. You’ll most likely find that some of the services they provide come with extra charges. The onus is on you to select the company that best meets your needs while meeting your budget. Also make sure that they can provide all the services you need including administration, accounting, maintenance services, etc.
This is something you’ll notice from your first interactions with the condo management company. Pay attention to how they interact with you and how they manage your request.
If they respond quickly and communicate well, they’re a keeper. Remember that you’ll be working with this company for a long time, and they should offer friendly and helpful communication from the get-go and in all of your exchanges.
While there are plenty of condo management companies out there who offer affordable prices, you will get what you pay for. The good news is there’s a wide range of options to choose from. Some companies offer tailor-made solutions while others have an ‘a la carte’ approach.
Either way, make sure to ask for the company’s fee structure upfront so you know what you’re getting and for how much.
Hiring a condo management company is not rocket science and it shouldn’t be difficult. But, that doesn’t mean that you should hire the first company you come across in your research.
You should put each candidate through a strict vetting process which includes all the considerations mentioned in this article. This is the best way to find the right fit for your needs.
The key is to find a company that offers a comprehensive service that’ll improve your bottom line while keeping your tenants or owners happy.