When choosing the right property management company for your community, you will be asking a variety of questions to assess whether the company or manager will be the right fit for your board and your residents.
While every community has its own unique needs, and every residential management company has a unique way of serving them, there are a handful of qualities that any great company should have - if they don’t, steer clear.
Here is an easy checklist of the top qualities to look for in a full-service property management company.
The right property management company will help guide your community to a successful future. When interviewing potential property management companies, ask not only who your manager will be, but who will be supporting him or her. A skilled team of experts in various fields including HR, engineering, training and accounting support each property manager with advice and best practices in order to deliver the best service for your property.
2. Standard Operating Procedures
The best property management company should have proven operational procedures, which have been developed through years of experience. You will want to ensure the company has standard practices they put into place for every community or building they serve. These operating procedures should include preventive maintenance programs, a full audit of all contracts and vendors, a transparent financial system and budget, and solutions that enhance the value of your property, as well as the lifestyle of all the residents in it.
3. Financial Stewardship
Look for a residential management company with an internal financial management team led by certified accountants. The best management companies will follow rigorous internal review and accounting protocols to promote financial health and stability of your association.
4. Vendor Relationships
A property management company that has strong, long-held partnerships with quality service providers will be able to negotiate savings such as discounts on community purchases and lower rates on regular maintenance, while still maintaining a superior level of service.
Weak communication is one of the most often complained about qualities in property management. Look for companies with a 24/7 call center and other forms of technology that allow you to communicate with a professional who can answer your questions or respond to your requests in a timely fashion.
6. Attention to Detail
From your property itself to the people who live in it, the right residential management company will provide you with a manager that pays great attention to detail. You probably know the unique features and eccentricities of your community -- a property manager who asks about them and seeks to understand what makes your property tick will be able to provide you with the best service.
There are a variety of issues that may arise in a community association and it is nice to have a management company with the know-how to steer you in the right direction. Great property managers take the time to truly understand daily life in the communities and buildings they serve. They are ready and well prepared to respond to issues that arise.
8. Commitment to Training
Expert property management and exceptional customer service can only be provided by a knowledgeable, unified and superbly trained team. Look for property management companies that are committed to providing continual educational and development programs for their managers, including hands-on training, classroom learning and online training systems. This way, your manager will be on the cutting edge of industry and product knowledge, and equipped to deliver the highest levels of service to board members and residents.
It is also important that your residential property management company operates under full transparency. The company should be able to provide you with disclosure on any affiliated companies it does business with. You should also ask this company about their financial controls and if they are subject to Sarbanes-Oxley. Another valuable asset, which your property management company should provide to its associates, is an internal ethics hotline in order to report and record unethical activities.
10. Focus on Sustainability
A company that is committed to going “green” will help reduce your community’s carbon footprint, energy usage and operating costs to create a healthier (and more cost-efficient) living environment. If a property management team has LEED accredited professionals on staff, it is a good sign that they are focused on sustainability.
Great residential management companies should not rest on their achievements. They should be open-minded, collaborative and continuously looking to improve their service offerings and customer service. Ask if your company will obtain candid board member feedback on a regular basis about how they are performing – and whether they will take action as a result of that feedback to become even better at providing your community with the best service.
12. Ability to Listen
It may seem basic, but it is essential - and often a fault of many highly-experienced property management companies. Some companies may assume that just because they have been in the business for years, they already know exactly what your
community needs. A company with the ability to really listen and collaborate with your board will be able to customize their full-service association management solutions and value-added services to meet your needs, achieve your goals and realize your community vision.
If you are currently searching for the best property management company for your community, or are unhappy with your current residential management company and want to explore your options, see how FirstService Residential can best serve you.