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Subject: Seeking New Property Management
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StephenO4
(New York)

Posts:7


12/31/2019 5:23 AM  
I am an officer on my HOA Board. We are in the process of looking for a new Management company. Can anyone suggest a publication, website or your own experience in how to proceed and what to look for and ask when interviewing a company.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:506


12/31/2019 6:52 AM  
Stephan,
Having just spent about 4 months going through the same thing I do have a few tips.

1) Make sure the PMC you are interviewing works with Homeowner boards. Many of the larger companies usually get hired by Developers and they do not make good MCs once the developers turns the community over to the HO Board.

2) Check with as may references as they can give you of similar sized properties.

3) Have a list of questions prepared and take notes of their answers. This should be done by one person and results shared with the whole board.

4) Check out Homeowners Portal and take it for a test drive. Is it better than your last MCs?

5) What do they charge for resale transfers. This is a large profit center for MCs. Compare.

6) Ask for their Boiler Plate contract. Read it as if you are trying to get out of the contract not going into the contract. I always say it is better to think about the divorce than the marriage with MCs.

7) See if they will except changes that you recommend. This says how much they want your business and how willing they are to be a good partner.

8) If you are looking at a new company you already know what you don't like about your old one. Avoid similar companies.

The bottom line is every MC tends to understaff and the managers are usually over worked. Make sure that if you are a Portfolio customer of theirs that the Manager is giving up another property when they take on yours. Not just adding to the existing workload.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:667


12/31/2019 7:49 AM  
We found our current PM through word of mouth, and I recommend talking to people in other HOAs about their experiences. I work for a new home builder so I hear the scuttlebutt, both good and bad, and I was pretty sure before I was even elected to the board that we should switch to this one company that everyone was singing the praises of. Doing this sort of legwork ahead of your formal search can help you weed out the ones you don't want. I also joined NextDoor briefly just to see if there was any sort of talk about property managers (keeping in mind that social media and other on-line reviews tend to skew negative).

I suggest that you be clear before starting your search about what you want from your PM. Do you want a bookkeeper only, or a full service PM? Are you looking for a large company, where they have a lot of experience but you may get lost in the shuffle if you're a small community? Or would you be happier in a small firm that may give you more attention, but also may not have the resources or experience of the bigger guys?

It can also be helpful to review what your current PM does well and what they don't, and what sort of competencies are more important to your community.

Your choices may be limited. In my area we have two large companies, plus a few smaller ones that I haven't heard much about one way or the other. When we switched, we didn't feel that we could get enough references to truly evaluate the small ones, so we stuck to the big two.

But you shouldn't necessarily rule out a new or small company. Our current management company was founded by a person who was dissatisfied with the level of service her community was receiving, and she complained until the board president finally asked her if she could do a better job (she said yes and the board hired her). Her company in now one of the big two in my area and is continuing to gain market share. Similarly, our current manager was new to HOA management and was accompanied to her first few meetings by the company owner, and now she's the best manager we've had in my community's history.

What made the difference is the management company's commitment to providing excellent service for its clients, and that's what you should look for. I know that I could email or call the company owner, who would talk to me about any issues we're having and who would see to it that the issues are resolved. Every December the owner also sends out a questionnaire to each board member asking for feedback about our manager's performance for the year. They're worth every penny we pay them.

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