What you need to know before hiring a property management company

June 3, 2022    Education

The good news is that selecting the right property management company will make your job as an HOA Board Member a lot easier. On the other hand, there are a lot of property management companies to choose from, so finding the ideal fit for your community association will take some time.

So, where do you start? Margo Crummack, CEO at Crummack Huseby, recommends first determining your requirements. "The lack of consensus about their needs is the number one reason Boards are unhappy with their property management providers," she explains. "So, before you start the selection process, have all of your Board members examine your association's and community's needs. Then, focus on the residents - why they choose to live there, what they're proud of, and what they'd change."

Once your homeowner's association has agreed on your requirements, you may focus on locating a provider that can best meet them. If you follow the tips below, you'll be well on your way to identifying the best property management company for your neighborhood.

Ask each business the same questions. Do you recall the old saying about comparing apples to apples? If you don't ask all of your prospective firms identical questions, you won't be able to reach and analyze their perspectives and skills adequately. As a result, compile a list of solid interview questions and have all firms respond. When hiring a property management business, consider the following seven factors: 

  1. Start with a few simple questions.

    In addition to determining whether each potential property management company is local or national, how long it has been in business, and whether it is licensed and accredited, there are a few more important factors to consider:

    • Are you a full-service management firm? 
    • What kind of maintenance and operational services do you offer?
    • What is the total number of properties you manage?
    • What is the turnover rate of your employees and clients?
    • What do you believe is the best way to meet our requirements?
    • In this area, what other communities do you serve? Is it possible for me to get three existing clients' names and phone numbers as references?
  2. Next, ask specific questions.

    This is where you should focus your inquiries on the requirements you outlined in Step 1. Inquire about any value-added services and skills they provide, including budgeting, banking, insurance, state and local compliance, innovative technology, vendor relationships, pooled buying power, 24/7 customer service, energy-saving programs, and more. It would help if you also inquired about how they would customize their services to your HOA and community. Consider the following scenario:

    • What additional money-saving options do they have for your homeowner's association?
    • What do they believe is the best option for your requirements?
    • How will they safeguard your property values while also improving the quality of life in your neighborhood?
    • How can they assure safety while also gauging resident and Board satisfaction?
    • What is the most effective staffing strategy for my community? What methods will you use to teach team members and provide backup?
  3. Give each business a tour.
    Margo Crummack of Crummack Huseby advises boards to be skeptical of corporations that use a one-size-fits-all management style. "Allow each management company to take a tour of the neighborhood and ask questions. The deeper they grasp your property's specific needs and personality, the more they can tailor a recommendation to meet your objectives, "She clarifies.
     
  4. Check references.
    Now that you've narrowed down your options and obtained references, contact them to inquire about their experiences with the organization you're considering. You can do this over the phone, but you should also consider going to their neighborhood in person. This will allow you to have a firsthand look at each applicant firm's services as well as the residents' quality of life.
     
  5. Read the property management proposal from beginning to end.
    Although a contract or proposal isn't exactly a page-turner, it's in your best interests to study each one thoroughly. As a result, you'll have a clear idea of each company's area of responsibility and what its team expects of you. While you're at it, request each company's cost structure as well as a sample management contract to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
     
  6. Look for value rather than price.

The cheapest option isn't always the best option. Some companies may have low monthly costs, but they only provide a restricted range of services. Other property management companies may charge fees that appear excessive in comparison to their services. You want value, which is the right amount and type of capabilities at the fairest price (even if it isn't the cheapest). Experience and knowledge are also necessary — the finest organizations will have experience comparing spending and identifying cost-cutting opportunities to help you manage your budget and offset more costly expenses.

A professional property management business will make your work as an HOA Board Member more fulfilling and make your community more friendly, appealing, and desired by existing and prospective residents. For more information on how to choose the right business to fulfill the needs of your homeowner's association and community, visit our ch-pm.com or fill out the form below.

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