Board members of community associations or homeowner associations (HOA) are always looking to hire the property management company that will provide the best service for their community. But what does that really mean?
How do you choose the property management company that provides the best service? You may think that concerns vary from community to communtiy, but extensive research says they are actually pretty universal.
Of course, residents of different types of communities have some unique distinctions in their needs, but for the most part, they all agree on what defines great service from a property management company.
Board members say that while offerings like state-of-the-art technology are a great value-add, excellent service really comes down a few key issues. When it comes to managing your high-rise or community, the right property management company will focus on:
Your association cannot succeed without effective communication. A management company that is the right fit for your community will hire people who know how to develop a great working relationship with the board. They know they need to connect on a one-to-one, personal basis. That means not only being able to provide advice and accurate information about the property, it means knowing how to listen really, really well. In addition, the right management company will have tools that help you communicate with your residents more easily and effectively and the knowledge to help you develop a good communication plan.
What happens when the property manager you love gets sick, moves on or is promoted? The best property management companies should have a strong “bench” and will be able to provide you with a suitable replacement when needed. Look for a company that that values and provides regular training and continuing education to their employees to ensure all managers are up-to-date on the latest skills, laws, policies and procedures.
Every community is different – from the physical building(s) to the landscaping to the on-site amenities to the residents. Knowing every aspect of the property is essential to being able to maintain its value and provide the best service to the residents who live there. A property manager who values attention to detail will ensure the requests they handle personally are completed correctly and will be able monitor, manage and quality control vendors to ensure they respect details as well.
Good communication includes responding to residents, not just sending messages to them. The best property management companies employ managers who make responsiveness a priority. Look for a company that has a 24/7 customer care center, a place where you can talk to a real person about any property-related issues, from emergencies to routine maintenance. The right company will have multiple channels of communication and provide quick and efficient follow-up to all your board or resident concerns – sometimes, even just a few hours can make a huge impact on a situation.
Sometimes a small problem snowballs into a much bigger one. Property improvements or beautification projects can unveil hidden structural issues. A single resident’s concern can turn into a seemingly never-ending stream of complaints. You know you are getting the best service from your property management company when they continue to attack a problem with a positive attitude, and go above and beyond to make sure it is handled the right way.
Who doesn't want to get the most from their money? Your property management team should be proactive, sharing recommendations and advice and bringing deals and cost-saving solutions to the board. They should be actively auditing your vendors, renegotiating your existing contracts and using their collective buying power to get your community the best deals. They should take the view that their job is to improve your quality of life, increase your property values and make the most of your budget.
Of all the qualities that make up great service, board members say that this one is perhaps the most important. Great service means following through on matters big and small, and often, good monitoring from upper management helps to ensure great follow-through. When property managers consistently do what they say they are going to do, it proves that they value residents, respect the community and understand that they are working in people's homes. If you have a manager that fits this description, they are truly the right fit for your community.
So, how to choose the property management company that has the best service? Make sure they have reliable managers, communication you can count on and consistent service that will respond to your needs.