8 Questions to Ask and How to Choose a Property Management Company
1. How long have they been managing buildings like yours?Property management companies can come and go, which is an obvious stressor on your board and residents. The longer the company you choose has been around, the longer they are likely to stay around. Companies that have been in business at least 5 or 10 years are more likely to go the distance than one that popped up a few months ago. A property management company with decades of experience will be more likely to have the depth of resources to help your board with needs like emergency planning, financial planning and capital improvement projects. They'll also have "been there, done that" when it comes to building issues and have the experience to handle any needs that come up for your board.
2. How transparent are they about their own finances?Can you access financial reports about the management commpany and its owners? Working with a company that is publically traded, or a subsidiary of a publically traded company, comes with a level of transparency and insight about how they are run. It's required. Companies that are privately held are under no obligation to share any financial information or projections with your board.
3. How will they help you choose the right manager and team for your building?All buildings have unique needs. Determining how to choose the right property management company includes knowing they have a strategic plan to find a property manager to fit the needs and personality of your building and deliver the exceptional service you deserve. For example, if vibrant lifestyle programming is a key part of your property's vision, the right management company will help you choose a management team that can deliver that. That company will have the human resources, recruiting and training programs in place to find the right fits for you and your residents.
4. What are your building manager’s qualifications?Look for companies that offer associate education programs and encourage their employees to participate in ongoing training and certification programs. Since laws and regulations are constantly changing, be sure your manager is involved with professional organizations so that they will be up to date.
5. How easily will you be able to reach your management team?Communication is critical to effective management. The right management company will let you reach your management team when YOU need them. What to ask a property management company: Do they have a 24/7 customer service call center? Email access? A mobile app? Your problems and concerns aren't limited to normal business hours, so it's critical that your board and residents can reach your management team when needed.
6. What services is the company including?Although an organization may bill itself as a full-service property management company, this may mean different things to different people. For instance, will the company assist with strategic planning, arrange and manage preventative maintenance and provide accounting and financial management? Be sure to request a list of services to be included before signing on the dotted line. Is the quoted price all inclusive, or should you should expect additional fees? Clearly understanding what you can expect to pay is important and can help you make the best, informed decision for your building.
7. How are maintenance issues handled when they arise?As we all know, maintenance issues happen when we least expect them. Any good residential management company will have procedures to respond to maintenance or any other emergency issues that may crop up. Find out if the management company has their own maintenance crew or if they work with preferred vendors. Will they solicit multiple quotes, negotiate to get the best price and pay the bills on the board’s behalf? The property management company that is right for you will be proactive in saving your building money and provide cost-effective maintenance solutions.
8. Can they provide references?
The right company will be able to easily provide customer references, reviews and testimonials. When deciding how to choose a property management company, pay close attention to the reviews that pertain to the services that are most important to you as well as those from properties similar to yours.
Knowing what to ask a property management company will help you make the right choice for your building. To learn more about what goes into delivering exceptional service and making a difference every day, download our guide, Dream Team: The Key to Great Service, today!