It is important to condominium or homeowner association (HOA) Board members that they choose the property manager that will provide their community with the best service possible.

You might think that the “best service” means something different to each community, and there are differences that are specific to each community. However, research studies in Canada and the US have concluded that seven service offerings are common regardless of the type of multi-family community, whether it be townhome, apartment, high-rise, community association or HOA. These are the things that define excellent service in the minds of the Board members that were polled.

It all starts with the right people─but just what are the right people doing that makes them so successful?

1. Communication is key
The research revealed that the number one reason Board members gave for seeking a replacement property management company was that their community manager was not a good communicator. It is critical that the manager form a personal, two-way relationship with the Board and the community he or she is serving. The manager is a resource to the Board, offering expert guidance and, most importantly, always listening.

Additionally, the best management company will enhance its community connection with communication software that gives Board members and residents instant access to information about their community and a customer care centre that gives them prompt answers to their questions. This unique technological advantage streamlines the flow of information for all involved.

2. Follow-up in a timely manner
The best condominium property management companies know that responsiveness to the customer is extremely important. A good management company will have a customer care centre where residents can speak immediately to a representative about a maintenance or property concern, an emergency, condominium documents, an account or any other topic related to their condominium or HOA. The care centre associate can usually answer the question immediately or provide the required service.

Look for a residential management company that offers multiple  communication channels including personal contact, phone, email, social media and a community website.

3. Details, details, details
Every multi-family community is unique, be it an apartment building, townhomes, a high-rise or an HOA. Their needs are as varied as the properties and can include everything from property maintenance and landscaping to high-end amenities and concierge service. In order to provide top-notch management service to such diverse communities, the manager must be detail oriented and organized. This attention to detail ensures projects are tracked from start to finish, that contractors are reliable and accountable, and jobs are completed correctly.
4. Reduce costs while maintaining value whenever possible
Condominium contributions and HOA fees are important to all owners; nobody wants to feel their money is being wasted or spent frivolously. A good property manager will save money for their communities by pro-actively sharing their cost-saving experience and expertise with the Board. They will pass savings on to the association that they can achieve with their collective buying power, such as no bank fees charged and interest paid on all bank accounts, even operating accounts. They will know trusted contractors whose prices are fair and negotiate the best contracts on behalf of the Board. In many cases a good management company can reduce operating costs and still enhance the quality of life for owners.

5. Going the extra mile
In the property management business an experienced management company knows they need to expect the unexpected. Sometimes a seemingly simple upgrade or repair reveals a serious problem such as mold or the need for a structural repair. Or perhaps a resident concern develops into a situation that needs sensitive attention. At these times it is important to be represented by a professional manager that will be diplomatic, have a positive attitude and go the extra mile to ensure a fair resolution for all parties involved.

6. Commitment to complete tasks
Making a commitment to do something and then doing it is a quality that Board members value. Managers that consistently do what they say they are going to do provide great customer service and support for the communities they manage. They know that they are looking after people’s homes and that it is important to respect the property and the people who live there.

7. A strong team to ensure continuity
Life is always changing. Eventually even the best manager moves on for any number of reasons; they may relocate, retire, accept a promotion. This can be a concern to a Board that has developed a good relationship with their manager. That is why it is so important to select a management company that has a strong, team with supports in place and well-trained associates that can fill the gap immediately. The right management company for you is one with a low employee turn-over rate that provides ongoing training and continuing education to their staff to keep their skills and knowledge current. Experienced managers are accustomed to stepping into new roles, applying their expertise to the situation and getting the job done.

To summarize, the best management for you is the one with which you can communicate, and to whose managers and support staff you can relate. Efficient and responsive customer service must be a priority. At FirstService Residential our Mission and Values guide us. It is our goal to make a difference every day for the communities in our care.

Complete this form today to find out how we can do the same for you.
Wednesday May 21, 2014