Finding the Right Fit with a New Condo Management Company
Breaking up is hard to do – but after much soul-searching and contemplation, you’re ready to move on.
It’s time to find a new condo management company.
Now, we know that this sort of thing is never easy. Getting out there, figuring out who’s who, even just knowing the right questions to ask – it can all be a daunting, intimidating experience. Don’t worry, though. We’ve got your back. Read on and discover everything you need to know when on the hunt for your next condo management company.
Tips for Finding Your New Condo Management Company
1. Know Your Contract Renewal Dates and Termination Clause Then Take Your Time
We put this one first because it’s arguably the most important. Repeat after us: take your time. There’s no rush! None at all. Don’t feel like you need to settle for the first condo management company who will take you on. Instead, be sure to get out there, get a taste of what’s on offer, and allow your condo corporation to be wooed.
As far as practical execution of this tip goes, for our money, it all comes down to the interviews. Typically speaking, the condo management company vetting process can be broken down into two parts: the initial proposal (almost like an in-depth brochure detailing what that management company’s about) and the follow-up presentation and interview. While most condo companies are happy to peruse as many proposals as they can get their hands on, many will only ever bring in one or two of those outfits to actually chat with in-depth and in-person.
How many opportunities do you get to start fresh with a brand-new condo management company? This is your chance to build a strong new working relationship and find a collaborative partner who will ideally help move your condo community forward to the future, so make sure you’re getting your money’s worth! A proposal can only say so much. For more answers, more info, and a more-informed decision-making process, be sure to take the time and meet with every management company you can to get a good sense of what’s out there – and how exactly they’ll address any current pain-points your condo board might have.
One last thing to note here, ensure that the values and personality of your next condo management jive with you and your board. You want to ensure you can work well together.
Okay. We went a little in-depth on that first point, but the next few should be much easier to breeze on through. Let’s keep going.
2. Crystal-Clear Transparency
This one’s easy to grasp, but much tougher to screen for. When you’re on the hunt for a new condo management company, one of the key considerations to look out for is open, honest, transparent communication.
Simple enough, right – but then, how exactly can you suss this out during the whirlwind vetting period? Our advice here is to watch out for red flags. When you’re asking questions, are you getting full and detailed answers? When you dig deeper into a question, are you getting the info you’re after, or does it feel like the response doesn’t do much to address your concerns? Are your tough questions answered plainly, or does it feel like they’re being danced around?
Pay attention to these sorts of details, and you’ll have your answer before long.
3. Budgets and Fees and Expenses – Oh My!
Once you’ve determined whether your condo board can get honest, transparent answers from your potential new condo management company, the rest is easy. You’ll still want to keep your BS Detector somewhat tuned-in, but for the most part, you should be able to take whatever answers you get at face-value.
And that’s lucky, because when it comes to budget management, you’ll mostly need to take them at their word. Be sure to ask about budget control to get a sense of your prospective management company’s stance here. Going over or under budget once in a while isn’t too big a concern. However, there should be a mutually-understood commitment to coming over, close to or under the overarching budget as a whole. If the management company you’re interviewing seems just fine with playing loosey-goosey with your condo corporation’s budget – well, we’d suggest running the other way as fast as you can.
4. Knowing What You Need Before You Know You Need It
Take some time while getting to know your condo management contenders to get a sense of their processes. Ideally, a good management company will be looking to pre-empt your needs before they become a concern for you. They shouldn’t just be good at handling project snags. They should be talking to you about how they know what is going on in your building, monitoring the progress of projects diligently, and head off issues before they happen with annual action plans. They shouldn’t just be responsive in sharing reports and documents – they should be sending them over before you ask for them, including during this initial interview phase.
By getting a sense of these details, you’ll be able to paint a picture of what working with each potential condo management company might be like – making your final decision that much easier.
5. A Welcoming Onboarding Process
Finally, it’s worth getting an idea of how each condo management company you’re interviewing will handle the first real project you give them: onboarding you and your condo community. They should be easily able to lay out a streamlined, comprehensive plan for getting up-to-speed with the go-forward requirements of your condo community – and if they can’t, you might want to rethink bringing them onboard in the first place.
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Hopefully these tips and pointers will leave you feeling confident and empowered when shopping around for your next condo management company. Remember: this is all about you and your condo community! Focus on what matters most to your board and your building at large, and as with all these sorts of decisions, be sure to listen to your gut – it’ll rarely steer you wrong.
Is your condo corporation on the hunt for a new management company? Still not quite sure where to start or what to look out for? Contact us at Catalyst Condo Management to learn more – we’ll be happy to walk you through the ins, the outs, and everything you can expect to encounter during the process!