Hiring a professional property management company for your homeowners’ association is the best way to increase property values and enhance the lifestyles of residents within your community. However, finding the management company that best fits your association’s needs can be a challenge. Should you be looking to partner with a company that has extensive resources drawing from a national presence? Or should you work with a smaller company?
The ideal mix lies somewhere in the middle – a best-of-both-worlds model where a company offers you the strength of a national firm, with the benefits of a local one.
“With greater resources and best practice sharing across North America, we’re able to add even more value to our homeowners while effectively supporting the operations in each local market in which we operate. Our management teams make a difference every day in the communities we serve by delivering exceptional service and solutions with a local touch,” says Chuck Fallon, CEO of FirstService Residential.

Here’s why a partnership with a property management company serving communities from coast-to-coast works:

1. National buying power.

Larger companies can offer you lower prices and negotiate better rates with outside vendors. This economic truth takes a surprising form in the property management industry. For instance, consider your banking and investment mix. Instead of being limited to the rates your local financial institution offers you, you have a relationship with a large property management firm; this means you’ve got a big partner on your side to connect you to investment partners who can provide higher returns on investments and lower interest rates on loans..
For example, FirstService Financial, an affiliate of FirstService Residential, which delivers proprietary banking and insurance solutions, assisted an association with $4 million dollars to invest. Because of FirstService Financial’s investment solution, the association had fully insured and liquid funds, while earning more than $9,000 a month in interest.
Same goes with insurance – as the client of a large property management firm, you are associated with a national book of business that spreads risk among a larger pool of insured communities. The resulting savings can be significant. For instance, FirstService Financial was able to offer one of its homeowners’ associations a packaged policy that not only expanded the association’s coverage, but reduced its insurance premium by 28 percent, which equated to $33,000 a year in savings.

2. Local expertise.

The best national companies are, at their core, a collection of local companies. That means you are managed by experienced and knowledgeable teams who are from your community. They know the peculiarities of your neighborhood, they’re familiar with the best local vendors, and they’re experts on the local laws which impact your association. Most importantly, they’re familiar with your culture, which enables them to partner with you in creating lifestyle programs for residents – and in navigating challenges unique to your part of the world. Here’s the real benefit: In the rare case where your local team doesn’t have the particular expertise you need, a company with a national presence can be a wellspring of additional insight with experts and knowledge leaders across North America with decades of industry experience.

3. A team that is always improving.

A nationwide property management company has the unique ability to learn from itself. That is, when great strides forward are made in one market, those same tactics and strategies can be applied to other regions, too. In the instance of FirstService Residential, that means your local managers are supported by the combined knowledge of experts across 22 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces. A company with this breadth of resources is adept at making it simple for team members to tap into their colleagues’ insight. For board members, that translates to faster answers and solutions that can only come by way of true thought leadership. By establishing proven best practices, and making them consistent across all markets, nationwide companies ensure that their clients enjoy the utmost in service and insight, no matter where they are.

4. More partners than you know.

A great property management company can connect you to additional services at significant savings. By way of example, look to FirstService Residential and their partnership with FirstService Brands. This is a collection of exclusive pricing and service arrangements with various franchises and companies – including names such as Certa Pro Painters, California Closets, Floor Coverings International, Pillar to Post Home Inspectors, Paul Davis Restoration, Century Fire Protection and more.

Similarly, national firms have the resources of affiliate companies that focus on specific areas of expertise. FirstService Residential puts this philosophy to work with the following affiliations:
  • FirstService Financial – provides best-in-class banking and insurance products to FirstService Residential-managed properties.
  • FS Energy – helps clients significantly enhance their building’s efficiency by recommending strategies to reduce energy consumption, costs and emissions.
  • FirstService Association Consulting – collaborates with national and local builders and developers, resulting in the creation of the most successful and iconic planned communities in the U.S. The affiliation also offers engineering services for high-rise and condo buildings, as well as reserve study reviews for all types of associations.
  • FS Project Management – delivers complete construction management services, serving associations embarking on capital improvements.
  • American Pool Enterprises – provides pool management, maintenance and construction services, and recreational facility management services within the U.S.
  • American Leisure – collaborates with communities to enhance lifestyle programming and provide amenity management services.
  • Planned Companies – offers essential association services such as janitorial, maintenance, security and concierge.
Additionally, FirstService Residential offers its clients a Certified Vendor program, providing access to some of the best, most trustworthy vendors in North America. Each certified vendor goes through an impartial review by an independent business credentialing company. The review asseses certificate requirements including insurance coverage, business licenses and more. It saves headaches, hassle and time –
associations are able to enjoy this incredible array of expertise and additional services through a company they already know and trust.

5. Great tech tools.

It’s no secret that you can do better things with better tools. The world of property management is no exception. Though property management software and apps abound, many communities find that off-the-shelf products simply don’t cut it. With that in mind, look to something more customized for your community, such as FirstService Residential Connect™, the proprietary management technology from FirstService Residential. This platform enables the construction of custom community websites, with user-friendly portals for residents and board members alike. This tool gives residents the power to access documents, pay assessments and get information about upcoming events from a single resource. For board members, the platform provides a repository for important association documents, eases communication with the management team and gives them the flexibility to note violations or maintenance needs on-the-go.

6. Emergency preparedness.

A capable property management company will have the experience and know how to help you develop an emergency preparedness plan that fits your property’s needs. These plans are based on each building’s equipment, emergency processes and residents’ needs. Additionally, companies such as FirstService Residential have the option to pull associates from neighboring communities to assist with clean-ups, repair work and more should an actual emergency occur. While you can’t predict emergencies, you can prepare for them.

Small company? Big company? Why not the best of both? When you’re choosing your property management company, the “just right” approach will offer you exactly that – a company with a national presence and local expertise. For more information on finding a firm that fits your association, contact FirstService Residential, North America’s leader in property management.
Wednesday August 24, 2016