Hiring a Harlem property management company to help your condo association, HOA, or co-op association is an excellent step towards improving your community, keeping costs down, and staying one step ahead of all the laws, regulations, and requirements that come with governing a residential building’s association.
But, you have to choose wisely.
A good management company will make some very positive differences. The wrong management company will make you wish you never hired them.
Here are 10 questions to ask when hiring a Harlem property management company.
1. Do you personalize your services or stick to one management plan?
Your community association is different from other associations, and so are your homes and your owners and your needs. Look for a management company that has a standard set of best practices that they use for putting together systems and processes while remaining flexible. You need a customized management plan that fits your association, your building, and your board.
2. What kind of investment have you made in technology?
A good management company will invest heavily in the best technology that’s available. Having the right property management and association software will enable you and your management partner to share information and automate some of the most tedious day-to-day work.
3. How do you communicate with the board and homeowners?
Understanding the way a property management company communicates is essential. You need someone who is responsive and accessible. Discuss your communication expectations and make sure they can be met.
4. Will you help with meeting planning?
The board meetings you hold will reflect the requirements of your bylaws. Look for a property manager who can help drive up participation in these meetings and keep everyone on track with a good agenda, action item list, and minutes.
5. How do you approach board finances?
Accounting and reporting services should be part of what your property manager does for you. Ask about the systems they use, how they generate reports and statements, and what they do to help you manage the operating budget, reserves, and assessments. Talk about collections and access and what they do to prevent fraud.
6. How large is your team?
Talk about whether the size of the Harlem property management company fits the size of your association. When you’re nearing 100 units, you’ll need a company with the capacity to care for it. If your building is only six units, you are likely looking for a smaller team that can provide the personalized service you’re looking for.
7. What types of vendors do you work with?
Property managers have outstanding relationships with local vendors and contractors. The board doesn’t want to waste its time asking for proposals from landscapers, roofers, pool cleaners, and other service providers. You’ll need a management company that knows how to measure cost against value and services.
8. How can you help enforce rules and regulations?
As a board, you must enforce the rules uniformly in your association otherwise the entire organization will be vulnerable to lawsuits and legal claims. You’ll want to know you can delegate most of the enforcement to your property management partner. This ensures everyone is held to the same standards and requirements.
9. How do you stay in front of the changing laws and requirements?
Managing a condo association or co-op in Harlem and throughout Upper Manhattan is more complex than it once was. You’ll need to know your property manager can protect you from liability and risk. Talk about the laws and how they pertain to your property.
10. What do you cost?
Always get an idea of what you’ll be paying before you hire a management company. Make sure when you compare prices, you also compare services. Hiring the lowest bidder is rarely the best idea, but you want to make sure you’re paying competitive rates for a lot of value.
These are the 10 questions we recommend you start with. If you’d like some help, please contact us at Harlem Property Management.
Harlem Property Management is the authority on co-op and condo building management in Upper Manhattan and a member of the Real Estate Board of New York. We specialize in managing condos, co-ops, and multi-family buildings up to 99 units.