Managing Your Condo Community

By
Managing Real Estate Broker with Full Circle Property Management

Are you looking for a new condo manager or management company? Want a better understanding of what they do and how they charge? Here is a helpful guide to choosing a new company that will solve your needs. Condo management fees depend on size, the needs of your community, how many meetings you have, and how much maintenance you require, etc. Fees in Central Ohio range from about $13 to $20 per unit per month.

First, what does a condo manager do? Well, we can break condo manager duties are down into six major management areas:

  • Collecting dues
  • Financial reporting
  • Enforcing rules
  • Working with contractors
  • Modification requests
  • Maintaining the community

 

Collecting dues:

The easy part is to set up the dues collection system and collect from those willing to pay, which includes setting up bank accounts, software to track payments, cashing and depositing payments.

TIP: make sure your management company offers several ways to pay, as owners have different needs, and make sure there are no hidden fees to the association for this. For example, we offer payment by check, money order, credit or debit card, cash card, ACH, online check…surely this appeals to everyone’s needs-all at no cost to the Association.

The hard part is collecting from those who do not pay for one of a variety of reasons. Since managers are not debt collectors, there is a limit to what can be done before an attorney must get involved. Make sure your manager’s solution is not simply to turn over all collections to an attorney or you will get huge expenses, especially if a check was lost or someone forgot. You should ask you manager a few pointed questions here, such as:

  • What’s your recommended collection policy?
  • Do you tack on a delinquent fee to the owner who does not pay in addition to the late fees?
  • Do you attempt to call them or send a warning letter? What is the cost of that?

 

Financial Reporting:

The questions here are how much, how often, and when? Key reporting is vital to managing an Association. Here are a few suggested questions and possible answers:

When do we get reports? We get them to you mid-month, every month-with a goal of by the 15th.

What reports do we get? As a minimum we give balance sheets, profit/loss, delinquencies, bills paid, bank reconciliation, general ledger, journal entries, and copies of supporting documents, as needed

Is this included or extra? We include it

Do we pay for checks, bills paid, envelopes, copies? We charge postage only on bills paid.

Do we get online access to our accounts? We provide board access to all reports and accounts for access online-full transparency.

 

Enforcing Rules:

Here is where it gets tough. Your neighbor, and friends, start parking where they shouldn’t, or not picking up after their pet, or install a tree where it’s not allowed, what to do? Do you stay silent, or ruin your friendship by saying something? It’s a dilemma!

That’s where we come in! We can handle it discreetly, justify it with the bylaws and rules, and leave you out of it. Our twice per month inspections deflect it from you policing your neighbors to us doing it, complete with violation letters, fines, and an appeal process.

If you do not have a current rules handbook, we can help you design and publish one. Every community needs rules and enforcement and a process that makes it consistent and enforceable.

 

Working with contractors:

Many of you have years of experience working with contractors, from cleaning to concrete to lawns, but many do not. Plus how many do you know? Do you know what forms are needed? And what if they need to meet you and you have a job or commitments?

We can handle that for you! From drawing up the statement of work, to getting bids from contractors, to awarding bids, to supervising the work, to paying the invoice-we are there every step of the way.

And what if the contractor makes an error or forgets something? Do you have the time to follow up? And the patience? We handle that for you as well!  

 

Modification Requests:

So an owner wants new windows, or to stain their deck, or satellite TV installed…now what? It’s a frustrating position for an owner to be in, as they simply want to get approved and don’t know how-is there a form, a plan, a fee, an approval process, a person to contact, or what?

So how can we help? Well, we give them a form, and a place to send it, along with a process and paperwork provided. And for you, the board? We work with you to design forms, processes, contact points, and timeline so owners have an idea of what happens and when. We make it a snap for you, and provide a history of approvals so when new members get on the board we have a history.

 

Maintaining the community:

So proper maintenance will keep values high, complaints low, and if you fix small stuff now-bigger stuff will be averted lower. So how do you do that, and how do you find contractors to do small one hour jobs-without going broke?

We have in-house maintenance for small and large things both, and proactive managers that will find small items before they turn into large items. And for those things that we can’t fix we have a plan and contacts to outside contractors who can do what is needed. There are very few things we haven’t experienced or repaired, and that experience means savings for you-in time, money, or future repairs.

 

Summary:

Hiring a condo manager that is a partner and not just a clerk will take care of everything, in advance, and keep complaints lower and values high. At the end of the day well maintained and managed Associations sell for higher prices, and isn’t that the end goal? We have the experience and skills to make your life better and managing your condo easier for you. We’ll Take Care of That!

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Rainmaker
206,917
Dennis Swartz
Full Circle Property Management - Columbus, OH
MBA, GRI...experience counts!

Not sure why the fonts are messed up.

Aug 04, 2016 08:21 PM #1
Ambassador
3,833,425
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

Hi Dennis, Sometimes when you copy from another source the html is including some undercode that makes it look  funky. I wrote a post to tell how to strip the code and reset it right. Here is the post if you would like to see how I fix mine.

Aug 05, 2016 04:41 AM #2
Rainmaker
206,917
Dennis Swartz
Full Circle Property Management - Columbus, OH
MBA, GRI...experience counts!

Thanks-It worked!

Aug 05, 2016 10:02 PM #3
Rainmaker
2,914,104
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Condo & Home Sale Specialists

We deal in the Condo market on Long Island, and we can say from experience - They're Not All The Same...

Aug 05, 2016 10:26 PM #4
Ambassador
3,425,548
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Dennis- managing a condo community must be difficult with all of the different personalities involved. You've outlined a good list of responsibilities. 

Aug 07, 2016 04:34 AM #5
Rainmaker
3,532,812
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Dennis Swartz ,

I like the list of responsibilities for managing a condo community. It isn't easy!

Aug 12, 2016 09:40 PM #6
Rainmaker
2,859,488
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

When you consider a condo community to call home...an objective analyss of the management is very important.

Aug 12, 2016 10:01 PM #7
Rainmaker
2,988,053
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ

Hi Dennis Swartz!

Thanks for a great series of posts featuring exceptionally well presented advice on investment properties and property management!

We like your writing style!

We wish you great success with your blog posts and networking with other members of Active Rain!

We clicked the “Follow” button on your profile so that we will be alerted to your future blog posts and can read and comment on them, and we invite you to "follow us" - should you be interested. There is no requirement or obligation for you to do so, but we would be honored if you choose to do so!

Aug 14, 2016 01:40 AM #8
Rainmaker
2,948,629
Michael Jacobs
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393

Hi Dennis --- you have provided some very valuable information.   This should be a must read for anyone involved in a HOA -- condo or otherwise.   

Aug 31, 2016 04:39 AM #9
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Rainmaker
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Dennis Swartz

MBA, GRI...experience counts!
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