Working in the property management field can be very rewarding but also very stressful, and condo property management has its own unique challenges.
You are constantly being asked to perform duties in order to keep the property running efficiently. You may find yourself being pulled in many directions each day as you go about performing your duties.
Differences in Responsibility:
While there are a lot of similarities between condo and apartment management, there are definitely differences. Both management situations present their own opportunities for challenges. Condo property management is different because each unit is owned by its tenant. Occupants are responsible for their own unit and respective repairs or appliances, similarly, if they want to update something, such as the kitchen counters or bathroom, they can do that- no problem.
Typically, all condominiums are sold with the understanding that the outside is the responsibility of the homeowner’s association but the inside is the individual homeowner’s responsibility. The property outside of each of the units must be maintained in good order and if the buildings need repair, you must make arrangements to have it done as quickly as possible. This will prevent any damage that could be caused to the inside of the unit. If any damage to the outside of the building is not taken care of in a timely manner and damage occurs inside, then the association will be responsible for taking care of that also.
Managing with the Community in Mind:
The best thing for any property manager to do, is to make a list of all projects that are ongoing within the community and arrange them according to need. Every property manager should operate with their community and their tenant’s needs in mind. Management teams for condominiums also have the board directors for the homeowners’ association to consider.
In order to keep the board happy, a manager must show that he or she is aware of what is going on and has plans in place to handle any situation. As a manager, you want the entire community to know that you are available to them at all times and provide an emergency phone number that they can call if the need arises. Your response time to any emergency should be short so that they know you are looking out for their best interests. A good property manager will make sure to walk the entire property at least once per week so that he can view anything that may be happening. Take notes as you do your walkthrough so that you can correct anything once you return to your office.
Managing with the Homeowner’s Association in Mind:
All property managers should make arrangements to meet first with the board of directors of the association and then follow up with a meeting of the general population of the community. This is where residents can air their opinions on what is going on and ask questions. Managers should always be present at these meetings since most of the questions can be easily answered by them. While all meetings of the community are run by the board, the manager can be there as a consultant should they need one. Financial information is discussed at these meetings as well and the property manager will have taken the time to present the board with all matters concerning the monies of the association. Yearly reviews and tax information is also provided by the manager and presented to the community as a whole.
Every year, the association will need to meet to discuss their budget and the fees that are charged to each homeowner. These meetings may be held over several months prior to the new year beginning. The board and the community will plan for major projects and other items that need to be done. Discussions will include pricing for all of their needs, and a good manager will have received estimates from several companies for any of the upcoming projects being planned. Once the community has approved their budget, it is up to the manager to see that it is implemented according to the expenditures stated. As a manager, it is your responsibility to make sure that all contractors will not only perform the duties they were hired for but also carry the necessary insurance that is needed. Copies of all contracts and insurance information is to be kept on file in the manager’s office.
Many communities hire their managers based on their experience and reputation. You will need to keep your businesses credentials up to date so that your clients feel that they are getting the best representative for their residents. In many states, property managers can earn certifications by attending classes and taking tests. These certifications show your communities that you are willing and able to handle their properties correctly and professionally. Rules and regulations regarding communities are always changing and a manager who keeps up with his education will always know what is happening and what the future of these communities will be. One of the best assets a property manager can have is follow through and your community will be expecting that from you.
Brittany Waddell is a contributing writer and media specialist for Land and Farm. She often produces content for a variety of real estate blogs.