Here are ten questions you should ask your next community association management firm:
1) Who do you manage? This is a broad question that can answer many smaller, more specific questions. If the community management firm you interview provides the names of HOAs or condo associations you recognize as well-run, then it can build trust and credibility. Additionally, these answers should provide information about the types of units a particular firm manages and the scale–be it a 2-unit complex or a 200-unit development.
2) Can I contact your references? A reputable firm should provide you with contact information for several clients who can speak to their satisfaction level. If you contact a community association management firm that is evasive about this question, it could be cause of concern.
3) What services are you looking for? Services can run the gamut from financial to administrative and logistical upkeep. Gauge the range of services offered by asking your next community association management firm the level of experience and expertise they provide in each area.
4) Can I customize my service package? Community association management firms know that your needs are varied. Ask this question when you have budget constraints or simply don’t require a full-service package.
5) What is your service philosophy? Gauge the company’s commitment to personalized service to determine if they will be a good match for you.
6) What is your communications style? Clear communications between the board and your management firm is the foundation for a productive and successful long-term relationship; but with so many ways to communicate without actually connecting, you could get lost in unanswered emails and voicemails. Determine the responsiveness of your next community association management firm by asking the specifics of their communications styles.
7) What is your vision for clients? Reputable firms have a vision for the future of their company–a vision that should include YOU. Ask your next firm what they see happening for the preservation and growth of your property investment.
8) What are some of the professional designations of your management team and employees? Understand that background of people who will manage your property. The Community Associations Institute (CAI) provides certain designations to certified individuals who have been trained in best practices.
9) What is the primary reason some relationships with your clients end? There are a multitude of reasons why certain community association management firms don’t work out in the long-term. Don’t assume the cause of a termination is a bad thing, but always ask this question to avoid the time-consuming and costly process of searching for a new firm when something doesn’t work.
10) How can my HOA or condo association terminate the contract should things not work out? If you’ve done your research and chosen a firm that best matches your needs, termination may be unnecessary, but it’s always a good idea to have an opt-out clause written before signing on the dotted lines.
Consider these questions when your HOA or condo association is looking to hire a community association management firm. Ensure that company can take care of your day-to-day needs, and share the same vision as your board members.