Five Key Attributes to a Happily Managed Community

By Karen Arena, CMCA
Five Key Attributes to a Happily Managed Community

A lot has changed in the 20+ years since Sterling Property Management began serving New Jersey commercial properties, homeowner associations (HOAs), condos and co-ops. We’re proud and honored to work as property managers for Sterling’s client communities. First and foremost, thank you for entrusting your community’s success to Sterling. Here are five key activities we believe help us to do that.

1. Clear goals, communicated and agreed upon by all.

An Association’s Board of Trustees and its management company should have one sole purpose – to act for the good of the community. Objectives should be clear and not conflict with the community’s financial ability to carry them out. The property manager and an Association’s Board work from the same mindset, whether it’s as simple as painting a common fence, or as big as raising a community’s capital reserves.

2. Regular communications between the manager, Board of Trustees and homeowners.

As industry professionals, property managers are responsible for giving trusted counsel to Boards on decisions that affect a community’s well-being. They interact with homeowners and a multitude of professionals including contractors, municipalities, lawyers and engineers, and are accountable for keeping the lines of communications open between all of these parties. It’s the only way to enable the Board of Trustees to make the best decisions for their communities.

3. Thorough and regular site maintenance.

For communities where managers aren’t on site, an Association needs their management company to keep abreast of maintenance needs through regular site visits and inspections, as well as good working relationships with contractors. A great property management company will have a list of trusted, licensed contractors that do quality work at a fair price. Whether its regular upkeep or large infrastructure projects, it’s important for the manager to vet and find the right contracting professional that can handle work efficiently and within the agreed upon time frames.

4. Investment in industry specific software – Why is this so important?

A property management company brings to a community deep industry knowledge and professional service. Spreadsheets or off-the-shelf accounting software aren’t strong enough to keep communities on track. Property managers need stellar accounting and automated workflow to use for communications, violation and work order tracking, income and expense handling and homeowner account/delinquency review. Sterling invests in one of the industry’s best and most popular, TOPS community management software.

In addition, using data analytics through property management software allows managers to see patterns which alert them to issues that may require further investigation. For example, a spike in work order volume on a specific issue like roof or basement leaks can lead to fast preventive action for the entire community.

5. Commitment to a community’s financial health.

At Sterling, the financial health of a community is of utmost importance – that role falls on both the management company and each community’s Board of Trustees. That means making sure a community’s budget and maintenance fees are appropriate, and its reserve account is funded properly. It means delinquent unit owners are aggressively sought after. It means making tough financial decisions to take care of major projects that come with aging structures, unexpected natural disasters and other things that affect a community’s vitality.

Together with the Association Board of Trustees, we work hard to keep communities strong and running smoothly.

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