Lots of homeowners associations and condos try to save money by simply relying on volunteer boards of directors and maybe a part-time employee or two to manage their associations.
Depending on the size of the neighborhood or condo complex and the skills of the volunteer board members, it might not be a good idea to find a professional property manager. It can be overwhelming, dealing with covenant enforcement and collecting dues and taking complaints from cranky neighbors.
But all property management companies are not equal, as frequent readers of Side Streets knows. Some are abusive, will steal money and act unprofessionally.
The folks at Rockrimmon Condominium Association recently fired its staff of three and hired professional management for its 35-year-old complex at 6500 Delmonico Drive.
As a result, the comlex is saving thousands a year it had been paying staff and has been able to apply the money to improvements at the clubhouse and to buy siding for the entire complex.
Here’s a look at the condos:
Below is a view of the siding, old and new, with the shadow of a man doing installation. The board of the condo association was able to secure a loan to pay for residing the entire complex because it saved so much money when it hired a professional property management company.
Before hiring a company, the board made a list of goals it wanted to achieve by hiring a property management company and formed a list of questions for prospective managers. Here are some of the goals and questions:
How much do you charge? Fees are commonly based on a percentage of the gross dues collected each month (typically 3%-10%), and may also include lease commissions as well as additional fees to cover repair and maintenance costs. Or they may charge a flat fee based on the number of units.
Are you a certified property manager? The National Association of Residential Property Managers certifies its members based on levels of education completed by each person or property management company. Follow the link to its Web site to see an explanation of each levels.
The Community Associations Institute is another trade group — focused on community associations, not just apartment managers – and has a similar education program to certify its members.
CAI has a Southern Colorado chapter and it keeps a searchable on-line list of its members showing which property managers are certified. It’s a good place to start looking for a property manager.
Another great tool for screening property managers it the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado which also offers a list on its Web site where you can search by company name or type of business and view each and their grade. Some area property management companies score an “F” with the BBB.