To Self-Manage or Not? How to Get the Best Property Management Service.
Some self-managed community associations believe they can’t afford to hire a property management company to manage their association’s operations, assets, finances, common amenities and other daily activities. In this article, discover why a professional property management company may be one thing your community can’t afford to be without.
What Kind of Service Does Your Community Expect?
Every community wants to have effective property management. This requires around-the-clock attention to your community, along with experience and knowledge. There is an array of areas that must be covered in order to effectively provide this type of service. Action is required in the areas of finance, collections, operations, maintenance, community activities, legal compliance, customer service and more.
In communities that self-manage, these vital responsibilities are often handled by board members, which are typically volunteers. If a board member has the time, experience and knowledge to successfully achieve these tasks, their community will flourish and homeowners’ property values will strengthen. Nevertheless, situations will arise that require a professional property management company that can provide additional value to the community by working with its board members.
Accomplish More in Less Time.
Everyone’s time is valuable – and should be spent wisely. Fielding resident calls, returning emails, listening to complaints, and standard routine maintenance, can easily consume the board’s time. A professional property management company can devise the right system of an on-site team, maintenance and support staff, and property manager to deliver responsive customer service.
FirstService Residential Minnesota adds additional value by complementing our property management with exclusive services only for the communities we manage. These include our advanced technology platform, national buying programs, and preferred banking, lending and insurance services. These ensure our clients receive the highest quality and lowest prices for third-party vendor services. In many cases, the cost savings and value received from these services outweigh the cost of the professional management fee.
Property Values Can Increase with the Right Experience.
The best property management companies have developed inherent skills, knowledge, and best practices in a broad scope of services. In their many years of managing thousands of residential units, these companies build strong relationships, develop a circle of trusted vendors, and continuously evolve new products, services and tools. The right association management company will harness these relationships to negotiate costs and develop a plan specific to saving your community money.
By thoroughly managing your association’s operations, vendors, maintenance, accounting, insurance, collections, contract negotiations, and compliance with ever-changing federal, state and local legislation, a full-service property management company can help increase property values.
Board members may not have sufficient time to thoroughly understand your community’s covenants and bylaws to ensure compliance with all federal, state and local laws. For example, does your board…
- Know how to properly incorporate the association?
- Know how to pay annual corporate registration fees?
- Have capacity to file federal and state tax returns?
- Know vendors are required to sign a W-9 and be issued 1099’s?
- Carry D&O (Directors and Officers) insurance?
While some smaller communities may save money by tackling these responsibilities themselves, it only takes one mistake or dishonest vendor to wipe out any potential gains. In addition, if a board member makes critical errors or omissions, not only can it affect individual property values, but board members and homeowners could also be at risk for personal liability.
Is Your Association Prepared for a Major Emergency?
It only takes one major event (i.e. severe storm, earthquake, etc.) to severely strain the budget of self-managed properties: after-hours service calls, replacement costs for damaged fixtures and equipment, overtime pay for staff. Having a property management company to immediately execute a comprehensive emergency plan can help your community begin the recovery process faster. Unforeseen emergencies and natural disasters can cause multiple homeowners to suddenly require intense attention, which can consume more time and energy than your board can provide, especially if the board is also affected by the disaster.
Don’t Lose Control of Your Association.
Property management companies work under the direction of the board. They do not make community rules, sign contracts or enter into legally binding contracts on its behalf; these remain the responsibilities of board. The property management company is hired to enforce the rules set in accordance with the community’s legal documents and guides the board in making good decisions. Get the resources you need and the ones you didn’t realize you need from a qualified management company. Rely on their qualified and well-trained local managers and vendor relationships to serve your community.
If you believe your board could use assistance in effectively protecting the value and quality of your community, a professional property management company is likely the best investment you make.
Contact us today to learn more about how FirstService Residential Minnesota can meet the needs of your self-managed association.