There are many topics up for discussion at condo board meetings but the most important should be the question of how to successfully manage your building. From the distribution of assets to the following legal procedures, how a condo is managed can determine its success or failure. While many small condos prefer to be self managed, it is almost a necessity for medium to large-sized condos to hire an outside professional management company to handle the volume of work that needs to be done.
For small condos (15 units or less), the biggest benefit of being self managed is the money that owners will save. Hiring a professional management company to manage a small condo usually costs between $40-$60 per unit each month. It may be a worthwhile solution in a larger condo where the size of the facility and the number of units allow management companies to charge less on a per-unit basis. However, if possible, a condo association will benefit financially and socially by being self managed.
When condos are self-managed, things tend to get done better because owners have a personal stake in the property’s management. If plumbing in the laundry room needs to be repaired, owners will see to it that it is done quickly. If the roof needs to be repaired, owners will make sure that a reputable contractor is hired and that the materials used are top of the line. Self managing a condo also increases the sense of community for its owners. If procedures are outlined from the onset and duties are delegated fairly, owners can work together effectively without strife. A sense of accomplishment will be shared when the tasks are accomplished through a teamwork approach.
Self-management should only be attempted if there are enough owners with the necessary knowledge to handle everything from financial management to facility maintenance. Running a condo can be time consuming and if there is no oversight or management among the owners, the expenses of correcting errors may exceed the costs of hiring an outside management company. Owners need to have knowledge or experience with the legalities of running a condo and operate in a professional manner to avoid infighting among residents.
Medium to large sized condos almost always require assistance from an outside professional condo management company. The amount of work would make it easy for an informal team of owners to make errors. Management companies are in charge of collecting condo fees and assuring that all owners are current and in good standing. They also mediate disputes between owners, handle disciplinary actions if owners do not follow the condo’s bylaws and handle all the mundane duties that can be daunting in a large building. They come in with experience and knowledge about how to run a condo assuring that rules and regulations will be followed.
Professional condo management companies do not come cheap. However, in larger buildings other costs can be reduced with discounts given to buildings with multiple units making the added cost of hiring a management company less of a burden. While most management companies adhere to quality standards, the fact is that they will not be as particular when making decisions as the owners themselves would be. They may not choose the most cost effective way of getting things done. While the owners of self managed buildings may shop around for the best price before undertaking a renovation project, management companies may not be as selective in the interest of saving time.
Outside management companies may not be as receptive to problems in the building. They may ignore issues that owner would otherwise catch. Residents should not assume that walls will be painted and plants will be tended to as diligently as they should be. Work orders may not be dealt with as quickly as owners would like. As a result, residents in larger condos just need to take it upon themselves to keep the lines of communication open with the board members and the management company to increase satisfaction and success.