Finding the right property management company for your condominium or townhome is no small task. Will it be the right fit for you? Will it help you accomplish your objectives? Will it provide a community manager who helps your board be its best?
To get you started on the right track, we’ve identified 12 essential qualities of a great property management company. Keep these in mind, and you’ll be on your way to a successful partnership.
  1. Strong leadership
Property management is about leadership. Your property management company should be forward thinking and proactive. And this requires that its full team, not just the community manager, have in-depth expertise. As you’re interviewing prospective firms, inquire about the support team. You’ll want the company to have experts in a variety of areas, such as human resources, engineering, training, and accounting.
  1. Communication skills
You’ll want a community manager who has mastered the art of communication. In addition, your property management company should have the necessary technology to facilitate communication, including a 24/7 call center, online portals, and apps that enable fast and efficient responsiveness.
  1. Listening skills
Actively listening is the first step toward developing the right kind of solutions for your community. Just because a company is established and experienced doesn’t mean it knows everything. A property management company should be open to hearing your thoughts and ideas. Once they’ve heard you, they should be able to provide value-added services that help you accomplish your objectives.
  1. Established procedures
Experienced companies have seen it all, and they’ve developed strategies for addressing virtually any challenge. That means having standard operating procedures for things like contractual audits, budgeting, lifestyle programming, preventive maintenance programs, and financial transparency.
  1. Financial management expertise
The company should have strong financial management capabilities led by accountants. It should also have well-founded internal reviews and accounting protocols.
  1. Strong contractor relationships
Your board should be able to look to your property management company for savings— and results—when it comes to hiring contractors. The ideal company should have established relationships with contractors and a solid local reputation. At the same time, it should be large enough to have extensive buying power, which you can leverage for lower costs.
  1. An interest in the details
As a board member, you’re already familiar with every corner of your community—from the amenities it offers to the inner workings of the operational systems. Your community manager should want to be just as familiar these details. Look for a company whose community manager asks a lot of questions. This indicates a desire to provide residents with the utmost in service.
  1. Ability to respond in a timely fashion
A good community manager should become an expert in your community and be able to provide fast and accurate solutions. Residents need to be able to count on the manager to address any issues that might arise.
  1. Ongoing educational opportunities
Your community manager should embrace opportunities to learn new ways of improving service. Likewise, your property management company should invest in its professionals by offering them advanced training and certification opportunities. A good company will also make training tools available to your board members, front desk and concierge personnel, and other support staff. These training tools should be a mix of live instruction and online learning opportunities.
  1. Openness
Never settle for anything less than complete transparency. Your property management company needs to openly disclose its relationships with any affiliated companies, financial controls, and whether it is subject to Sarbanes-Oxley. The best companies will also provide a hotline that associates can call to report unethical behavior within their company.
  1. Commitment to being “green”
Reducing your carbon footprint isn’t just good for the environment. It’s also good for your operating costs. Saving energy and practicing green policies can help you cut costs while you conserve resources. Ask your candidate firm about their commitment to sustainability and how they put it into action.
  1. A sense of responsibility
Excellence is an ongoing effort. To that end, your property management company should be committed to partnering with you and working in a true spirit of collaboration. Ask companies if they provide a means for board members to give feedback on their performance and how they use that feedback.
The right property management company can make a world of difference for your corporation. If you’re searching for one now, or if you’re unhappy with your current one, see how FirstService Residential, Alberta’s property management leader, can best serve you.
Tuesday June 21, 2016