Monday, September 14, 2009

How to pick the right property manager for your community

This week I am kicking off the first in my series of how to pick the right vendors for your community with the selection of a property manager. Many of you already have one, might be looking for a new one or may be considering going from self-management to professional management.

Each day I will be discussing a different factor in this selection equation. The starting point for your community is to assess your needs. How hands-on do you want or need your property manager to be? Do you want to hire an individual licensed community association manager or a management company? If it's the latter, do you want an onsite manager from that company?

If you are looking for a management company, are you more inclined to go with a small, boutique-type company or one of the larger, more well-known companies? How important is it to you that your management company have widespread name recognition and offer an array of services?

Will you expect your manager to live in the building? Will you want your manager or management company to handle both the accounting aspects of your operations (i.e. financial reports, ledger preparation, budgets, etc.) or do you wish to keep those functions with your accountant and leave only administrative and facilities management to your manager?

What are your community's particular needs? Are you a high-rise association that would benefit from concierge service in addition to a manager who understands and has experience with life safety systems, elevators and concrete restoration projects? Are you a "55 and Older" community that would benefit from a manager that has experience in the community census procedure and other paperwork required to safeguard your senior housing status?

It would be helpful for your board to make a checklist of your likes and dislikes before starting your search. With that in hand, you can then start narrowing down your list of prospects. Tomorrow we'll talk about who you need to call and the questions you need to ask.


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