The first of the five key attributes to a happily managed community is to validate that the management company and the association have agreed upon objectives. Although it seems simple enough, clearly defined and articulated objectives can be overlooked when developing a relationship or on-boarding a new community. I’d like to illustrate why this simple exercise is so important, not only for the management company personnel to deliver quality service, but for the associations to recognize the parameters by which a successful community is run.
Recently, one of our managers visited a prospective community to meet with members of its board of directors. Prior to the meeting and while walking around the property, he saw that some buildings were in evident need of repair, and there were other maintenance concerns around the common grounds. Not knowing the full status of that community, he can only speculate why. Perhaps the association has good intentions to repair damaged or aged property, but these physical issues can’t be undertaken until financial issues are resolved. After all, if assessment income (owner maintenance fee collection) has fallen way behind, how can new projects be undertaken? Or, perhaps the association’s board were never presented with a plan to maintain the property and therefore never created a thoughtful and planned maintenance program. Either way, it’s the responsibility of the manager to provide counsel and present realistic objectives he or she believes are most pertinent for the good of the community. If Sterling becomes this community’s management firm of record, that is exactly what we’ll do. If the community’s board of directors agrees, then the plan is executed and the community benefits.
Objectives should be clear and not conflict with the community’s financial ability to carry them out. A well-managed community comes only when the property manager and community’s board of directors work together from the same set of objectives. Then, everyone understands clearly their individual responsibility to the community and their contribution to its success.