If you are a board member of a small condo complex, one of your main decisions will be whether you want to select a community association management company to handle your day-to-day management needs or to self-manage your community. Many boards choose to self-manage, thinking that it will give them greater control and save the community members' money. However, there are several ways that hiring a specialist can increase the cost-effectiveness of your community management while providing better service. For example, look at the many ways that a community association management company may improve your community maintenance.
Better Vendor Contacts
Community association management companies, especially large ones, often have ongoing relationships with various maintenance vendors such as landscapers, plumbers, and contractors. Because the company will likely be managing several properties, they can often negotiate better deals on goods and services from these preferred vendors than a single purchaser could. This can ultimately save your association money on regular maintenance contracts as well as emergency contracts.
More Time to Devote to Vendor Oversight
One important aspect of vendor oversight includes making sure that all of your vendors have valid certifications and insurance before allowing them to work on your property. Checking insurance and certifications can be a time-consuming process if you are a volunteer board member. However, a management company will usually have a specialized department that maintains records of all preferred vendors, ensuring that any vendors used are up-to-date with their insurance and certification. Additionally, this shared record can help prevent maintenance vendors with past complaints or unsatisfactory work from being hired for your property.
More Experience With Maintenance Inspections
One aspect of maintenance involves regular property inspections. Making sure you catch a problem early can greatly reduce the cost and inconvenience of fixing a more involved problem later. A trained property manager has the experience to perform routine maintenance checks and spot potential problems before they become a nuisance or safety hazard to residents. Generally, property managers offer a property walk-through at least once a week. However, this can change based on your property's needs and maintenance history. For example, if your complex is older and has several maintenance issues, you may opt for two inspections each week.
Better Record Keeping
Community associations should keep detailed records of all inspections and maintenance that is performed on the property because the board is ultimately accountable to the owners. However, this paperwork can often be tedious and time consuming for volunteer board members. Often, it is pushed back and forgotten. Most property management companies offer regular reports to the board, which detail all of the maintenance performed as well as any extra expenses incurred. These reports will make board accountability much easier and transparent.
Smoother Owner Interactions
One of the most cliche difficulties that board members face is negative interactions with home owners. Negative interactions often happen because a board member is unable to separate their personal preferences from their position as a board member or because of personal disputes between home owners that escalate to community disputes. When you hire a management company, maintenance and improvement requests get filtered through the management company. Since the property manager is not a home owner, they have no personal interest in the outcome. This allows them to act as a mediator and provide impartial service to both home owners and board members.
There are several reasons why community association boards should consider hiring a property management company like condo association management to complete their day-to-day responsibilities. Maintenance is just one area where you will benefit. You may also benefit in collections, accounting, and general oversight, all of which will greatly improve your community.