What to Look for in a Management Company

Property management companies can ease the burden of everything from finance management to administrative services to property maintenance — if you are able to find a good one. Finding an experienced, reliable, and affordable property management company is no easy feat for an already busy HOA board, but the benefits can make that search worthwhile.

A fruitful partnership with a management company can alleviate the responsibility for a number of tasks, freeing up time for board members to focus on community-building initiatives that might have fallen by the wayside in favor of more basic, housekeeping activities. Although every HOA and CA is going to be looking for something a little different in their management company, there are some basic standards and requirements that every management company should meet.

Experienced

While having a history of successful client relationships and years of experience under a management company’s belt does not necessarily mean it will be better able to meet your needs better then a brand new management company, looking for a company that has either of these things will often mean the company really knows what it is doing when it comes to managing the business of an HOA or CA. Asking informed and comprehensive questions about a company’s history and vendors, as well as client references, can give you a better idea of the kind of expertise each management company is bringing to the table. You can even delve into a company’s credentials, its certifications or even information about its employees’ criminal backgrounds, depending on how thorough your board wants to be in its search.

But it is not just about overall experience. In order to find a management company that is appropriate for your HOA or CA, you need to think about why you are looking to hire a property management company in the first place. For example, if you are looking to hire someone to spruce up the outdoor spaces in your community association, it is crucial to understand the management company’s specific history in and experiences with those types of projects. Hiring a property management company that has the kind of specific experience that suits the unique needs of your HOA or CA can make a big difference.

Purposeful

It might seem silly to talk about any one management company’s mission — surely each one is looking to provide its clients with the support they need to run a successful community association, but a company’s mission drives everything it does and a property management company that stands by core values like community, efficiency, and responsibility, for example, is more likely to be better for your community than a company driven by simply making a profit.

This process first starts by thinking about your HOA’s or CA’s core values and mission statement. What is important to your community association? Once you have figured that out it will be easier to find a property management company with a mission that dovetails with that of your HOA and a sure sign that the management company will perform in ways that improve your community association.

Knowledgeable

Staying on top of the latest rules and regulations is one of the most vital traits of a good property management company. Making sure your property management company is not only operating within the industry guidelines but also keeping up to date with any changes in these standards is key to maintaining a safe, secure community association.

Beyond community safety, having a lawful and informed property management company also eliminates any liability issues in your HOA or CA. It would be terrible if a property management company’s poor conduct had a negative impact on your community, but it would be even worse if your board was held responsible for that company’s mistake.

Responsive

If an emergency arises, like a burst pipe or a fallen tree, you will want to know that your property management company will be there to help without hesitation. These issues can happen even in the most prepared community associations and having a management company that is able to mitigate the destruction, damage or distress that accompanies these emergencies can be a great asset to your HOA or CA.

Part of this element of responsiveness involves understanding how often your property management company can and will communicate with key members of your community association. Even if your HOA or CA is not especially accident prone, finding a property management company with a 24-hour customer service center is always a good idea. That way you will be able to reach a real human being when your association is facing a crisis.

Once You Have Tentatively Chosen a Management Company

Even when you think you have found the perfect property management company for your community association, the last and most important step is to understand the contract your association is entering into with these companies. This will help clarify responsibilities, fees, and other key details, and is the foundational structure that will build trust and mutual responsibility between your HOA or CA and the management company.

Once you have picked your ideal company, it is also essential to hold regular evaluations of your property management company to ensure that it is still the right fit for your association. HOA or CA boards change and so do the priorities of your community association. Making sure your property management company can evolve with your HOA or CA is key to keeping things running smoothly.