FirstService Residential Reveals the Top 10 Questions to Ask to Help Choose the Best Property Management Company for Your Community

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How do you choose the best residential management company to serve your community? FirstService Residential, North America's residential property management leader, provides 10 must-ask questions to help you make this vital decision.

The right property management company can provide you with various methods of contact. Look for companies that have invested in property management software and communication channels, enabling direct and efficient contact with the management team.

Finding the best property management company for your community can be a complex task. Busier real estate markets may have dozens of firms that associations and homeowners can choose from, and they might seem very similar at first glance.

How do you determine which residential management company will provide the best service for your community? FirstService Residential, North America’s largest residential property manager, reveals the 10 questions you should ask when consulting with property or homeowner association (HOA) management companies to help you make the important decision.

1. How long have you been managing properties?
A property management company that has been in business for some time helps to ensure the company’s continued longevity, reducing the chance of suddenly closing and leaving you and your board in a bind. An experienced company can also quickly solve issues they’ve encountered before. In addition, a professional property management company with decades of legal, accounting, emergency response, and maintenance expertise can provide your community with these services.

2. How many properties do you manage?
There is no right or wrong answer, but a lower ratio of properties to manager often means that your manager will be able to provide the best service, with more time to address your board’s and community’s needs. Residents sometimes think they’d be better served by a small, family-run business, but this isn’t always the case. Small companies may be stretched thin, while larger companies typically have a greater depth of experience and resources, enabling them to deliver better service.

3. Will I have easy access to the management team?
Being able to get in touch with someone who can handle problems and make decisions quickly is essential, and the right property management company can provide you with various methods of contact. Look for companies that have invested in property management software and communication channels that enable more direct, efficient and quicker contact with the management team.

4. Do you have references?
The best property management companies can easily provide customer references, reviews and testimonials. Pay special attention to the reviews of services that are most important to you, or that come from properties similar to yours.

5. What are the terms of the contract?
A full-service property management contract usually spans one to two years, and your residential management company may impose penalties or fees associated with ending your contract early. If so, you'll want to know about it immediately. On the flip side, there may be added benefits to renewing a contract year after year.

6. What services are included?
An organization may call itself a full-service residential management company, but this can mean very different things within the industry. Will the company help with strategic planning, arranging preventative maintenance and fund collection? Obtain a list of which services are included before you sign a contract. Also, ask if the price you are quoted is all-inclusive, or if are there any additional fees. Also, be certain to ask about other resources available to support your manager, including legal, human resources, training and engineering.

7. How will a property manager be selected for my community?
All HOAs, whether condos, high-rise or large communities are different. In order to provide the best service, property management companies should have a detailed process to find the right manager to fit your community’s needs. For example, if many of your community’s residents speak a foreign language, the right property management company will be able to staff your community with a manager fluent in that language, enabling them to communicate with, and understand your residents’ needs.

8. What qualifications do your property managers have?
Be sure that the managers who will be working with your residential property have the right training and qualifications to deal with the day-to-day situations that inevitably arise. Look for companies that offer experienced management teams, and that provide associate education programs and board member training. And, because laws and regulations are constantly changing, ensure that your property manager is always up to date, as evidenced by professional memberships and training.

9. How do you handle maintenance issues when they arise?
Good residential management companies have procedures in place that clearly define how they'll respond to maintenance and any other emergency issues that inevitably arise. Does the property management company have its own maintenance crew? Do they work with preferred vendors? Will they get multiple quotes, negotiate the best price and pay bills on your behalf? The right property management company will be invested in saving your community money and provide you with cost-effective maintenance solutions.

10. How often will you communicate with me/the board?
Look for a company that sets up a regular schedule of communication, such as monthly reports and statements. Attending regular board meetings is an essential part of providing the best service and managing a property well. Additionally, the best property management companies are accessible 24/7 and able to answer routine questions quickly. Look for HOA management companies with a 24-hour customer care center, which provides answers to residents’ questions, while freeing up the manager to manage the property.

About FirstService Residential
FirstService Residential is a subsidiary of FirstService Corporation, a global leader in the rapidly growing real estate services sector, one of the largest markets in the world. As a leading property management company in North America, FirstService Residential oversees more than 6,500 residential and commercial associations including 1.5 million residential units and over 50 million square feet of commercial space across 21 U.S. states and three provinces in Canada. The company has more than 12,000 employees driving local market expertise and manages in excess of $6 billion in annual budgets. For more information, visit

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Mary Sudasassi
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