I do a decent amount of condo business here in Naples, FL and here's why I think buyers agents should always interview the property manager before the buyer commits to purchase. Of course, this is in addition to reviewing the condo docs.
I prefer to conduct the interview in person and with my buyers present but for out-of-town buyers, a conference call may be necessary.
Property managers definitely try not to say anything negative about the building so asking the right questions and then reading between the lines is key.
For example, I asked a manager "what can you tell me about the building?" and they told me they were replacing some of the windows and that this is a perk to the buyer. I asked why they are replacing them and they said some of the residents have had issues. I asked if they were going to do all of the windows and they said eventually but it's not in the budget right now. I asked if a special assessment is on the horizon and they said it's a possibility and it would go to vote. Here's my takeaway:
•The building's windows all need to be replaced and they don't have the money in the budget.
•It may take years before they can replace all the windows and who knows what damage is caused by having faulty windows for that amount of time.
The building is quite large and has lots and lots of glass so this is literally going to cost millions of dollars. I got all this information from a few simple questions and this helped me earn the trust of my buyers because they realized how valuable this information is. They ended up not buying into this building and bought in a nearby development that didn't have this problem.
In closing just because a building manager has a duty to its residents to represent the building in the best possible light doesn't mean it's not worth interviewing them. It's just a matter of asking the right questions and then listening carefully.
Here is a link to my Naples Highrise Condos page for anybody who is interested in viewing available condos.
Downing-Frye Realty Naples, FL