Choosing A Property Manager: What Are The Right Questions To Ask?
A management company is designed to aid the Board. When looking to hire a management company, it is important to understand what services your particular Association requires. Not all man-agement companies offer the same services.
A management company will do as much or as little as contracted to. Typically, a management company may collect assessments, report delinquencies, approve and pay bills, prepare accounting statements, and review and prepare estimated annual budgets. A representative from the management company will usually attend a Board’s monthly (or quarterly) meetings and the Association’s annual meeting. A man-agement company will work alongside other hired professionals, like the Association’s attorney and accountant.
When choosing a management company, it is important to understand what the Association’s needs are. The Board should understand the details of how a company will actually manage the Association. A Board should consider the following example questions:
- How many meetings will the property manager attend each year? Is there an additional charge for longer meetings?
- How much communication do you expect from your property man-ager? When it comes to relaying information regarding property transfers, bids for maintenance projects, owner violations, delin-quencies, etc., is a monthly report adequate? Does the Board expect more frequent updates?
- How will the Association’s finances be handled? Make sure the Board maintains control of all funds. Ask how often deposits are made and discuss what amount of money the property manager can expend without prior approval from
How many Associations is each property manager responsible for? How much time will the property manager have to devote to the Association’s needs? Make sure that the property manager assigned to your Association has experience with the amenities available at your Association.
- (cont’d) the Board, if any. Determine how many Board members will need to sign checks.
- Ask how the management company will obtain bids for maintenance projects and make sure they use companies in your area so that contractors are not traveling hours to your Association to perform maintenance.
- Does the management company have an after hours service or an emergency line? How would owners contact the property manager if there were an after-hours emergency?
- Ask for references and be wary of a management company with a high turnover rate with managers and with clients.
- What the management fees will be? Ask about additional fees, including overtime hours, postage and mailings. Remember, the cheapest company can be, but is not always, the best fit for the Association.
- Ask for information on the management company’s insurance policies, including coverage, amounts, and which carrier they use.
Remember, the management company must aid the Board in maintaining and managing the Association. Choosing the right company can be an overwhelming task at times, but the right company can lift a big burden off of the Board. Make sure to follow your instincts and keep in mind your unit owners and the needs of your Association when you are interviewing candidates.
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