How to Hire the Best Property Management Company
Keeping the Pro in Property Management
If you have found yourself in one or more of these complicated situations, it could be time to cut ties and free your community for growth and success.
Choosing a Toronto Condo Management Company
When looking for a Toronto condo management company, going through your options to make the best choice can certainly make your life much more comfortable. With so many property management companies in Toronto and the cities suburbs to choose from, picking the right one to fit your community’s needs can be overwhelming. There’s also the question of what to expect from a property manager.
Where do you start? “Figure out exactly what you need,” advises Trevor Salway, regional vice president of business development at FirstService Residential Ontario. “The number one reason boards are unhappy with their property management companies is a disagreement of their needs,” he explains. “So before you begin the selection process, have all of your board members assess to determine the needs of your property and community. Start with any big projects on the horizon and focus on the residents – why they chose to live there, what they’re proud of and what they’d change.”
Once your board agrees on what the property needs, this is where the next step follows. We recommend the following tips to help navigate the process:
Be consistent in your questioning
As the saying goes, compare apples to apples. When you go from company to company, don’t fall into the trap of asking different questions each time. This will only confuse you and make you unable to accurately compare the different options because there won’t be any fair comparisons. The right thing to do is to write out a list of substantial interview questions for every Toronto condo management company to answer. How do you come up with these questions? We’re glad you asked.
Ask some basic questions
There’s no need to get fancy with the question-asking process at first. In this step, you want to get the basics down. Ask the essential questions of whether a firm is local or national, how long they have been in business, and whether the firm is licensed and certified.
Besides this, here are a few other questions to help fuel your decision-making:
- Do you provide full-service management? What operations and maintenance services do you provide?
- How many properties do you manage?
- What are your staff and client turnover rates?
- What do you think is the optimal solution to our needs?
- What other communities do you serve in this area? May I have three reference names and contact numbers from current clients?
Asking these basic questions gives you a better understanding of the inner workings of the Toronto condo management company. For example, asking about their staff and client turnover rates speaks volumes, and can be a deciding factor to move on depending on their answer.
Ask more detailed questions
Here’s where you should tailor your questions to the needs you identified in Step 1. Ask the potential Toronto condo management company about any value-added services and capabilities they offer. This includes budgeting, banking, insurance, state and local compliance, advanced technology, vendor relationships, combined buying power, 24/7 customer service, energy-saving programs, training programs and more. The more services, the better, but if you only need about half of these services, you should ensure you are not going overboard in costs.
Give each company a tour
Salway warns boards to be careful of companies that take a “one-size-fits-all” approach to management. You’ll be in for a surprise if you choose a property management company that applies the same process as they would any other property. “Allow each management company to tour the community and ask questions themselves.” The better a company understands your unique needs, the more they can provide you with their vision as to how they plan to take care of your community. They can also customize recommendations that accomplish your goals, he explains. You can have a back-and-forth conversation that digs into the specifics of what your property needs. This even begins the professional relationship you will need to make the partnership work.
Once you have reached the final stages of choosing a Toronto condo management company and have gotten references, take your time with each one. Ask the references how satisfied with the company you are considering, and for how long they have been working with them. The longer, the better, since this means they have had a long working relationship with the company. You can do this process using a phone call, or you can go a step further and visit the community in person. This gives you a first-hand view of the services each candidate firm provides and the resident’s quality of life.
Read every word of the property management proposal
Reading through a contract or proposal is not the most exciting thing, but you must carefully read every word. This way, you can get a clear idea of what the company is proposing as its scope of responsibility. You can also find out what they expect of you in return. During this time, it is not rare to ask each company about their fee structure and a sample management contract.
Look for value, not price
This is a process to find a property management company that will help take care of your property and bring out the best in your resident’s quality of life. It is not in your best interest to look for the lowest price possible, as you won’t be getting a full scope of excellent services. However, this doesn’t mean you need to find a highly-priced company to work with either. This is where value outweighs the price. In this case, value is being given the right number and type of capabilities at a reasonable price. A good property management company will understand this and should be able to have proper benchmarks in place to help you find areas of cost reduction.
An effective property management company will make your role as a board member extremely rewarding. Not to mention, it will make your community more inviting, attractive and desirable for your current and prospective residents. You should also be looking for a well-trained property manager. For more help in choosing the right Toronto condo management company to meet the needs of your board and community, contact FirstService Residential.