Whether your community is a massive development or a pocket sized co-op, you will need a dedicated team of professionals to remain solvent and operational. This team includes a property manager, an accountant or financial advisor, and an attorney. While all of these individuals are vital, of particular importance is having a competent property manager.
“We are not greedy weasels,” quips property manager Jonathan Louis, CEO and managing partner of American Management Group in Pembroke Pines. “Getting past negative stereotypes is our biggest hurdle. We’re there to help.”
Developing a successful relationship with your property manager is akin to a healthy marriage. That might sound like a stretch, but in reality, it is very accurate.
Finding the Right Partner
When you are in a dating pool, often friends or family will jump in with suggestions. They know your personality and life circumstance and want you to be happy. Furthermore, you’ll come with a great recommendation.
“Most associations hear about property managers by word of mouth,” says Louis. “Someone we already manage knows our reputation. It’s then up to the board or association to do their due diligence and check into the firm’s qualifications and background.”
In dating, oftentimes compatibility can be assessed within the first few minutes or series of questions. Similarly, a board can determine which property management firm is a suitable match.
Finding What You Need
When you are building a personals ad, you want to represent yourself accurately, so you have the greatest chance of finding a partner that meets your needs. For example, perhaps you want someone to accompany you to the movies and discuss them with you afterwards. If someone responds saying they dislike cinema, you’ll probably dismiss them immediately. However, if they are an avid cinephile and frequent film festivals, then you may possibly be “swept off your feet”.
A property management firm has the potential to sweep you off your feet too if they provide all the services your board needs.
“You want a property manager that can service the diverse needs of your community, not just collections,” says Louis. “They should have the ability to confront all the issues of the organization, as well as any unforeseen roadblocks.”
It is imperative to perform proper screening protocols for potential property managers. The scope of responsibility is high, as are the potential consequences of hiring an incompetent firm.
“Boards and residents absolutely need to conduct due diligence prior to making any hiring decisions. Be sure to check how many years they have been in operation as well as reviews from other associations,” says Louis. “Also, do they have relationships with vendors that might pose a conflict of interest for your community? Check now before the contract is in effect.”
When developing a new relationship, it can be a little bit of a guessing game when it comes to setting expectations. Who is going to call first?
It is the same when developing a relationship with your property manager. It is never too early to start talking with your property manager, remember, it is their job to help your community function as effectively as possible. Getting their advice before problems arise, especially legal ones, is essential to creating a safety net for your board. Cleaning up the mess of a board-gone-rogue is not fun and is better to be avoided; so give your manager a call.
Break Ups Are Easy
Sometimes, despite the best of intentions, relationships do not work out. Make sure your contract with your management firm provides for a “termination without cause,” in case you need to get a better match. Most management firms will be up-front with their termination policies.
In any case, successful relationships require lots of work and communication. If all goes well, a fairytale ending is possible.
American Management Group is the leader in providing turnkey community management solutions to communities across South Florida. With over 25 years of experience in property management, AMG has the confidence and vision to help with your organization’s daily functions, as well as execution of long-term plans. Contact AMG today for insight on how to navigate your organization’s needs.