You and your board have benevolently volunteered to take on the onerous task of overseeing the condo. It’s an additional task you do on the side, on top of your 9-5 job, caring for your kids, and maintaining some semblance of free time.
It’s a lot.
But you’re committed to doing your part, being involved and making a difference for your community.
Fortunately, doing it all doesn’t mean doing it all yourself. If you’re already feeling like we’re preaching to the choir, we’ll get straight to it and outline why you should hire a designated property manager instead of taking the self-managed route.
1. Be Compliant
Did we mention the board was a volunteer position? As much as you need support in completing the tasks alone, you also need to ensure that you’re compliant and this might not be your area of expertise.
A condo manager can help make sure that you have the right insurance, are paying the right taxes and are abiding by your condo bylaws and the City of Calgary bylaws.
If you choose the self-managed option, you could run into some legal barriers, so as such, we recommend working with an experienced condo manager and/or a lawyer or accountant who can help advise you.
2. Protect Your Time
Your to-do list is endless and you feel like you’re already responsible to so many people, as such it’s important to protect your time so you can give attention to the things that matter most to you.
A property manager can take small tasks off of your plate and even some decision making. You and your board have the authority to decide what they can handle on their own and what needs your consultation. For example, you can pre-approve invoices for repairs under $1,000 — speeding up the repair process and saving the board any deliberation time.
Set those guidelines from the beginning and give yourself a little time back in your day by not having to make every decision yourself.
3. Sleep Easy
Those day-to-day tasks we were talking about? Those are now all handled by your condo manager. If an owner needs to file a maintenance request or is locked out of their unit at 11 pm, all of those calls go directly to your manager.
So on top of getting some time back, you also get some peace of mind knowing that a professional is taking care of the building and your residents so you don’t have to be available at all hours.
While 11 pm might be past their working hours, you’ll want to check that they have a solution for after-hours calls. This might include a separate phone line or list of emergency contacts; just ensure that the board and residents are all aware of who to contact and when.
4. The Middle Man
For efficiency, you usually want to remove the middle man, but in this case, it can actually help you!
Your condo manager will take any complaints, requests or notes from your residents and filter them accordingly. Some items you’ll need to hear about, others you won’t. You don’t need to waste your time with a lost set of keys or garage opener — your condo manager can handle all of that for you.
Beyond resident management, they can also manage your contractors. If they’ve been pre-approved for certain repairs or expenses under a certain amount, they can remove a hurdle and get straight to having the work completed.
They’re the person responsible for knowing what work needs to be done and managing its status, but that also doesn’t mean they need to do it all themselves. For instance, they’ll have our team here at GoJaxon complete regular cleanings and ongoing maintenance to help focus on their personal workload and increase your resident satisfaction.
Learn more about how we can help your condo manager stay on track.
5. Two Sets of Eyes on the Budget
While we don’t recommend handing this over completely (because at the end of the day balancing the budget is the board’s responsibility) it can be helpful to have another party that’s aware of it.
A few months before your year-end setup an action planning meeting for the following year to go over projects that you, as a board, may want to complete so they can be budgeted for. As you set that budget, be crystal clear with your property manager what they can and can’t spend — and what needs approval first.
When your third-party contracts renew, have your manager vet the contractors and present you with a negotiated version of the contract. From there, you can budget that amount and allow the manager to take care of the payment or have your treasurer pay them directly.
Having them in the loop means they can flag upcoming costs. If you haven’t had your stacks cleaned in three years or your maintenance team has notified them that your roof is in need of repair, they’ll know and can flag it to be included in this year’s budget.
Whatever system you choose, make sure it’s easy to use and includes a contingency plan for unexpected costs. It’s also important to ensure your property manager is accountable for what they spend. For transparency, have them give the board read-only access to their accounting system for an up-to-date view on the financial health of the building.
6. In Case of Emergency
We’re not talking a busted pipe, we’re talking fire, flood, tornado or whatever other disasters could come your way. You need a plan — and if you haven’t sensed a theme by now, it’s that you should rely on the professionals.
This does not mean that your condo manager is also a volunteer firefighter, but they know that the building needs a plan in place and a general idea of what it should look like. Beyond that, they know who to contact to have this drawn up and shared with the residents, so everyone is in the loop with the emergency response plan.
7. Full-Time Attention
You’ve already got a full-time job, you don’t need to learn the ins and outs of a second one. One of the biggest benefits to a condo manager is that they have experience in what they’re doing and are giving your building their full-time attention. (This doesn’t mean they’re available 24/7 but will be within your pre-determined hours and have emergency contact information for when they’re off the clock.)
They can apply their knowledge and skills to seamlessly remove the responsibility from the board onto their shoulders. So while this list is a good place to start your conversations with them, they’ll know the full extent to which they can help you.
While we can’t help you with condo management, we can help with most of your other needs like cleaning, maintenance and concierge.
Get started with some contracted help.