Paul T. Brensilber
President, Jordan Cooper
Create a Successful Management Partnership
Setting the Scene
I have been hired by boards that didn’t know what they wanted but were vaguely dissatisfied with their current management. They couldn’t put their fingers on it, but they knew that something had to change. They hired me because I am knowledgeable and reasonably personable. That’s OK as far as it goes, but it also helps explain why they have changed managers so frequently.
Following the Action
Looking for new management can be very time-consuming and difficult. Many boards are reluctant to put the time and effort into investigation. Investigating a management company is critical.
When a board begins its search, the most important thing is to know what you need. What are the issues you will be facing? For instance, financial challenges (do we have to refinance?), capital projects (do we have Local Law 11 work to do?), and residency issues (do we have too many sublets?). You should make a list of such topics in your co-op and see what kind of solutions potential managers offer.
Most management companies have the basic ability to provide a statement, to bill, to collect, and to deal with your shareholders or unit-owners. The question is what does the corporation or the association need from the manager? By having a checklist of your property’s needs, you can see how knowledgeable the manager is – and you may also get a wide selection of possible solutions if you’re interviewing more than one management firm. It will help you if you have a specific goal, and you look to have the management company fulfill that goal.
There are a lot of companies that are innovative. There are companies that do things better than others. You should go out there and see if your present management company is actually meeting your needs.
Doing It Right
The driving force should never be the management fee. Depending on what you’re paying – you may be paying market, you may be paying above or below market – you should ask yourself: is the management company helping or hurting the property? Hiring new management isn’t an easy thing to do, but if you clearly understand why you are dissatisfied with your current situation, you’ll do a better job of making sure you don’t end up in the same place only with new partners. You should clearly set your goals, know what you’re looking for, and choose a company that can meet those goals. The chances are better that you’ll have a successful partnership.