Your relationship with your property management company is exactly that: a relationship. And as with any relationship, it’s a good idea to take stock every once in awhile to make sure it’s as healthy as possible.
Of course, for  CIRA’s (common interest realty associations), this assessment means more than just receiving prompt and attentive service from your property management company. For a truly healthy relationship, that personal commitment has to come along with other essentials. Here’s a quick look at what makes a community management company relationship-worthy. If you can check off each of the following with an enthusiastic “yes,” then you’ve got the right firm.
1. They make it easy.
That’s the whole reason for partnering with a professional management company, right? Your management team will assume the critical financial and administrative functions, along with vendor and community relations as well. And this is just the baseline.. You’ll know you’ve found a partner for the long-term when management finds innovative ways to make everything easier and more efficient. As an example, consider the use of technology. Leading edge services should include a web-based portal that provides access to community information 24/7 – offering streamlined management and tracking tools in the process. After all, being a community leader is an around-the-clock commitment. Your property management company should be willing to make that commitment too.

2. They act like a small local firm – and offer the benefits of a large one.
Small local companies may deliver genuine customer service, offer local resources, and be capable of developing long lasting personal relationships.  However this often comes at a higher price because they lack purchasing clout. Big companies, on the other hand, offer more resources and buying power to keep prices down, but this sometimes comes at the expense of a quality customer service experience. So is it too much to expect the best of both worlds? Not at all! Today’s best property management companies are national entities comprising knowledgeable local market leaders. Combining the best of both you get people who know your community, understand local concerns and have access to vendors who perform the highest quality work – backed by the resources of a much larger organization. That means great personal service, plus assurances that vendor and equipment prices are as low as possible by virtue of the power of bulk purchasing and negotiating clout. Think of it as the friendliness and accessibility of the little guy, paired with the power of a big one.

3. They can predict the future (almost).
If you’ve been a community leader long enough, you know to expect the unexpected. Surprises happen. But if you have the right management company, they are always looking ahead. You’ll know you’re getting the most from your firm when they anticipate challenges – and address them – before they even arise. For the best companies, being proactive is the only way to be. This includes preventive upgrades, scheduled maintenance and modifications that are more cost-effective to address on a regular basis rather than when they’re full-scale emergencies. Keeping one eye on the future has a way of making things a lot better here in the present.
4. Your management company knows that higher yields are as essential as lower costs.
Some Board Members are content with a firm that makes certain their dollars are appropriately spent – the best service for the lowest possible cost. That’s the whole point of a property management firm, right? Well, the truth is that’s only half the equation. The growth and security of your community’s invested reserve funds are the backbone of your long-term security. And it takes a special kind of management company – one with strong relationships with national banks and investment firms – to ensure you’re enjoying the highest possible yield on those funds. The same goes for managing your operating accounts. The right firm will realize that proper controls, analysis and reporting accounts is just as critical as minimizing the expenses that diminish them. The difference? Not all property management companies have the power to negotiate more beneficial yields from your bank. And not all firms have strong reporting and internal controls to allow you to maximize the use of your funds.
So how did you do? If you got anything less than four out of four “yesses,” then start a dialog with FirstService Residential here. We’ll show you how we can not only fulfill your expectations, but also exceed them.
Thursday June 19, 2014