Ten Tips for Finding the Best Atlanta Property Management Company For Your HOA.
HOA management companies in Atlanta range from the mega, big-box companies to the Mom and Pop companies run by families. Regardless of the size of your association, you should understand the key differences in management companies and how to choose the best management for your HOA or condo association.
Here are ten things you should look for in an Atlanta HOA Management Company:
1. Find a Locally Owned Company. Working with a locally owned and operated management company means that all management decisions originate in Atlanta and not 800 miles away. Locally owned management companies are focused on the Atlanta market and their key vendor and banking relationships are right here in Georgia. Best of all, if you ever have a question or concern, you can personally visit and meet with the company and its highest executive officers and inspect any and all management records.
2. Make Sure Your Management Company Banks with a Georgia Bank. Banking locally means fewer errors in banking transactions and more efficient depositing of HOA checks without delays caused by interstate bank transactions or delayed mail processing times. It also means that if you ever have any concerns or a need to withdraw or move funds, you can do without any delay. If your property management company works with an out-of-state bank, you will have a longer turnaround and less access to records and money when you need it.
3. Find a Company That Delivers Financial Statements at the Beginning of Every Month. If you entrusting your company’s affairs to a management company, you have the right to receive timely and accurate financial statements every month. If your management company is giving you full and complete financials by the 10th of every month, something is wrong. Either they are too big and inefficient, understaffed or lack the organization they should have to effectively manage your community. And make sure the financial statements include a Balance Sheet, Income and Expense Statement, Cash Receipts Journal, General Ledger and Check Register as well as copies of the actual bank statements. If the management company can’t provide you with all of these basic financial documents (and many cannot), there is something wrong and you need to find another company.
4. Insist on Complete Transparency. There is nothing magical about what management companies do and nothing should be secret from the Board. The Board should be able to request records and get them without a runaround. And the Board should be able to review every property inspection the company performs. Too many companies claim they do property inspections when in reality they whistle through the neighborhood on the way to Starbucks.
5. Make Sure You Get to Choose All Vendors. Management companies often have “sweetheart deals” with vendors that enhance their bottom line and cost the HOA more money. So when it comes to selecting vendors and soliciting bids, make sure you are able to direct what companies you want to receive bids from and that you make the decision of who to hire. If any management company tells you that they select all of the vendors, pack up your bags and run!
6. Be Realistic. Management companies deal on a very low profit margin. Think about what services you want and what you are willing to pay for. If you want weekly property inspections, you are going to pay a lot more than a neighborhood that wants monthly property inspections. But are weekly inspections necessary or reasonable? Most Covenants require that associations provide homeowners a minimum of thirty days to correct a violation. Weekly inspections would be an unnecessary waste of resources and would only increase the management costs.
7. Look at the Company’s Insurance Before Doing Business With Them. Is your HOA property management company insured to cover your association in the event of a loss? Do they have liability insurance in case they hit the front entrance sign on the way into the neighborhood? Do they have an umbrella insurance policy just in case? Do they also have fidelity coverage in case one of their employees steals from the association coffers? Do they have workers compensation coverage in case one of their employees is hurt on the job? If not, you probably need to find another management company.
8. Beware of the Big Boys. Bigger management companies often have longer response times and more “red tape” to deal with. If an Atlanta property management company has to refer your question to someone else in the company or can’t get a bill paid within five days of receiving it, you are going to be frustrated dealing with the company and the delay in response time is ultimately going to cost you time and money. Also, lack of service and delayed responses put your Atlanta HOA, High Rise or Condo association in situations of extreme liability. If problems concerning the health and well being of the public, lets say a tripping hazard or leaking roof in a community center, aren’t addressed immediately the cost and liability associated with the problems rise exponentially.
9. Meet the Company Representatives. You will never get a true sense of what a management company does and how companies differ from one another until you meet with representatives. If all you are doing is collecting bids and comparing prices, you are missing the boat. If the management company representatives aren’t “liable,” when you meet them, they sure aren’t going to get any better when they talk to homeowners. And make sure they are willing to return all phones, not just calls from Board members, from all homeowners within 24 hours. Many companies will give “A+” service to Board members and “D-” service to the homeowners.
10. Visit the Company Offices Before You Decide. Worried about who you are doing business with? There is no better way to get a sense of how your management company operates than by a personal on site visit. Is the office clean, neat, professional and organized? It should be if that is how they conduct business. If the office is a disorganized mess with boxes piled everywhere and papers scattered in a heap, you may want to choose another management company.