Condominium corporations searching for help from a good property management company typically name “service” as the number one quality they seek. But how do you define great service?
Research involving condominium corporations throughout the U.S. and Canada has revealed that service comes down to one thing: people, specifically those who exhibit certain qualities. Here’s a list of characteristics found in great property managers.

Communication skills
When boards have had a negative experience with a former property management company, they usually blame it on bad people skills. The hallmark of a truly professional property manager is a focus on having a strong relationship with your board. And the key to developing this relationship is great communication. This means not only responding quickly to a call or email, but also providing your board with additional avenues of communication, such as internet portals and effective software solutions, that make it easier and more efficient to make a connection and deliver information.
Attention to details
Your property management company should take the time to get familiar with the specifics of your physical buildings, amenities, and common areas. This enables the company to create management strategies geared to your condo corporation. A property manager who truly knows your community will also be able to more effectively monitor and manage contractors.

Emergencies always seem to happen at the worst times. That’s why you need a management company that can provide emergency response to you 24/7. Look for a firm with a call centre that will address your issues any time, day or night. Beyond this, the right company will provide several ways for you to get in touch, including online portals and social media, so you can always get a solution when you need it.
You’ve probably seen it happen yourself: A seemingly simple task escalates into a maze of related problems. For instance, an improvement project could reveal structural issues that need to be addressed right away. Or a minor complaint by a resident could snowball into a larger issue. When this happens, great property managers aren’t daunted. Instead, they’re galvanized to do better and accomplish more. Look for a firm that can tackle the unexpected with verve and positivity, unfailingly focused on the issue until it is completely resolved.
A focus on value
Fiscal stewardship is at the heart of what board members do. Look for a company that has a national presence so you can leverage its buying power for lower prices. This advantage can be applied in all areas, from banking and insurance to the contractors you use. Also, be sure the company doesn’t simply have a myopic focus on saving pennies. Real value comes from getting a great product for a better price, not a potentially substandard solution because it was a bargain.
Support from an excellent team
While you’ll definitely build a strong relationship with your property manager, sometimes these individuals move on either because they get promoted, become ill, or change locations. When this happens, an equally capable replacement will be at your service. This kind of bench depth is essential to seamless service.
Conversely, you don’t want to see a new face all the time, so seek out a company with low turnover. Typically, these kinds of companies demonstrate a commitment to building a stronger team through training and continuing education.
Board members cite this quality as one of the important elements of great service. Doing what you say you’re going to do—whether it’s a major commitment or a small promise—is what people value most. Oversight from an effective senior management team can help with this, as can a culture of dedication. Property managers who demonstrate great follow-through on a consistent basis are showing that they respect your board and your community.

As you can see, a lot goes into the mix when it comes to great service. For more information on going above and beyond to meet the needs of condo boards, talk to FirstService Residential, Alberta’s leading residential property management company.
Tuesday July 26, 2016