Communication is an important ingredient to building a successful relationship with your community management company. Since they are handling the day-to-day operations of your association, you need to make sure that they keep you informed of challenges with owners, maintenance issues, or matters of legal concern.
When surveyed, only 22% of community managers felt that communication was a top priority. For this reason, setting communication expectations upfront with a new management company can greatly improve the effectiveness of your association’s management team and system.
Breakdowns in communication are often a result of not setting communication expectations with a community management company from the beginning. When hiring a management company, it’s important that you sit down and discuss your expectations. While you want to make sure that they understand your expectations, you should also take the time to ask about the normal communication process they use. They are the experts and usually have a robust system for communicating to their other clients.
In some cases, you can hinder their communication process, by making special requests. Instead, focus on telling them what you want to accomplish rather than detailed instruction on exactly how to do their job.
Make sure that your community management company understands its roles and responsibilities in managing your property. Misunderstandings could lead to gaps in communication. Make a list of all the things that each party will be responsible for and review the list together. You also want to be clear on their level of authority. For example, you might give them the authorization to approve any repairs that are under $10,000.
There will be a time when either you or your community manager are unavailable. Designating alternate contacts can be a way to mitigate any communication delays, especially in the event of an emergency. Make sure that you also provide an alternate contact for yourself or another member of the board.
There is a wide range of tools to keep in touch with your community manager including phone, email, and text messages. Some management companies have their own portal or tool to streamline communication. If you have a preference, be sure to share that with your community manager. While some forms of communication are convenient, you should plan to have a video conference or meet face to face from time to time.
Different communication tools may be appropriate for different situations. For example, your quarterly revenue review would not be appropriate over text.
When you receive updates is just as important as how you communicate with your community manager. By establishing a cadence for regular check-ins, you never have to guess when you will be receiving updates. You should be notified of emergencies such as a fire or severe water damage immediately. Updates minor maintenance issues can be weekly or monthly. Review of the financials, work order reports, non-compliance reports and a comprehensive management report should be done monthly. The key is to have a predictable schedule.
While communication between you as the board member and your community manager is crucial, you should also understand the management company’s approach to communicating with the homeowners. This includes proper billing statements, non-compliance notices, community email blasts and upcoming meeting notices. At the end of the day, the homeowners are members of the associations, so you need to make sure that they feel informed and are receiving clear communication. This is especially important with the concerns many homeowners have around the COVID-19 pandemic.
Corner Property Management has been servicing the New Jersey area for over 20 years. We specialize in many types of properties including condominium associations, luxury high rises, single-family homes, homeowners’ associations, and master-planned communities. Our team of experts is available to help support you every step of the way. Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your community management needs.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
Q: How often should you hear from your community management company?
A: Each association board is different. Some want to know about everything that happens in their community weekly and others will only want to know if there is an emergency or something that requires a decision. A good rule of thumb is to receive a status update once a month at a minimum.