Tips for Interviewing Prospective Property Management Companies
Choosing the right property management company is one of the most important tasks that your Board will undertake. Finding the right fit is much more than comparing costs and services. While there’s usually some give and take on each side, the most important thing is to find a good fit. Here are some do’s and don’ts that your Board members should address when you start interviewing prospective property management companies.
Research in advance: Answers to commonly asked questions may be on the management company’s website or can be provided prior to the meeting. Pre-meeting work also helps your Board members prepare for the interview so that you can ask appropriate questions. General information may include:
Number of years in property management business
Certification and/or licenses of staff
Size and number of properties managed
Staff size and turnover
Allocate personal interaction time: Allow some time for the Board and property manager representative(s) to interact and get to know each other. Is this someone with whom you can communicate well and build rapport? Solid business relationships foster a mutually beneficial long-term partnership.
Understand service flexibility: Many property management companies, including Wise Property Solutions, offer a variety of services based on your needs. Board members should explore the different levels of flexibility that are available. Identifying your needs is essential to maximizing property management value for your association.
Avoid overscheduling presentations: Choosing an HOA property manager is a major decision that requires discussion. Board members also need some time to “process” answers and make notes. So, don’t schedule back-to-back interviews. The ideal property management company is a partner—not an order-taker or a salesperson. Finding the perfect fit doesn’t always fit a timetable.
Guard against “price only” comparisons: Every community association has different needs…diverse tasks, number of units, Board member skills, budget, etc. To compare apples to apples, assess fundamental tasks separately from prices. This provides a more accurate picture of the management company’s anticipated responsibilities, and it helps your association Board members gain a more thorough understanding of duties.
Don’t ignore comprehensive training: Professional managers should bring in-depth knowledge and expertise in systems and management solutions that can save you time and money. Ask about the potential to reduce duplicate work and streamline your efforts. Property managers also need ongoing education to stay abreast for technology and regulation changes. Verify Community Association Institute (CAI) credentials. Involvement in CAI shows commitment to continuous skill improvement for better community management.
Wise Property Solutions is East Tennessee’s only Accredited Association Management Company (AAMC®). As the region’s leader in community association management, the firm is committed to the industry’s best practices and continuing professional development. Wise Property Solutions’ certified and highly trained property managers empower well-organized and efficient communities. The firm maintains offices in both Knoxville and the Tri-Cities.