Evaluating Management Performance Does Your Firm Measure Up?

Professional residential management is a service industry, and some service providers perform better than others. To evaluate how your property's management measures up, it's necessary to assess both how the company functions as a whole and also how your individual managing agent is performing. To do that, it's important first to understand what professional management is supposed to do, and then to have a clear picture of what really good management looks like.

The Basic Menu

Every full-service firm worth its fee should provide management of your property's finances and accurate, up-to-date financial reports on a regular basis as well as oversight of your property's structural and mechanical elements. The firm should also supervise your property's staff, including hiring, firing and documentation of staff performance and it should provide appropriate and timely response to federal, state and local laws and to violations issued against your property.

You should also expect maintenance of accurate, accessible files and records for your property and preparation for—as well as attendance at—regular and special board, annual and other meetings of your property. Last, but not least, the firm should provide knowledgeable interaction with your property's other professionals such as legal counsel, accountant, engineer and architect in addition to effective responses to resident inquiries and concerns. Many management companies, either as part of their standard management fee or at cost above that, also offer ancillary services such as transfer and closing services, sales and brokerage, construction management, utility bill evaluation and refund application.

Evaluating the Firm

Assuming your management company is providing the basic service menu, you can expand your evaluation by looking at other areas like the firm's commitment to performance. "We operate our properties as though we were the owners," says Eugene Warren, a partner with Buchbinder & Warren, a Manhattan-based firm managing more than 100 properties. "We take on all the responsibilities of operating the building."

At Mark Greenberg Real Estate (MGRE), a Long Island-based management company that manages more than 50 properties throughout New York City and Long Island, vice president Jim Goldstick and director of management Steve Greenbaum attend just about every board meeting with their agents. "We're there to make sure that the agent has the benefit of all the expertise our company can provide. For boards to be most satisfied, they need not only back-office support, but also support from the principals," says Greenbaum, who calls this the MGRE Team Approach.

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17 Comments

  • PLEASE HELP! We are being takin advantage of by our Property Manager. She is not providing us with any financials, budgets or anything else. Our Board members continues to obey whatever she says, and she attends their private meetings as well as running the shareholders meetings, taking the minutes and answering for the board members during the meetings. She charges us to view our own documents and does not allow us to see contracts (which I'm not even sure she has to). No one even knows when her contract is up. The lawyer and accountant are both her friends. I have tried contacting the attorney general and they never call me back. I will send a certified letter next time. I am also currently running for the board. How do I know what my rights as a shareholder outside of our by-laws. Thanks, C sharillio@yahoo.com
  • I'm the vice president of a condo association, and I have had the hardest time getting the Homeowners list from the Managers Co. We have 60 units, and I think it is very necessary for the board to have a list for emergencies.
  • we are having a community meeting about concern problems management can we replace management if agree upon
  • lanvynguyen@hotmail.com on Wednesday, December 24, 2008 5:27 AM
    I have the exact problem C.Sharillio. The property Manager for Westchester Gardens is also not responding to questions expense accounts of up to $50K a year. I feel that intelligently shareowners would have to start screaming "Bernie Maddox" in real estate before someone sit up and listening. My Property manager is probably doing the exact syphoning in all 10 of the properties for which he responsibilities....that makes $0.5MM of mismanagement a year. How I get rights to real information??? How do I protect myself as a shareholder??
  • money not in your pocket on Wednesday, February 18, 2009 9:52 AM
    Many of these managment firms give themselves big bonuses at xmas time. cutting back on the needs of the building. many times the owners do not know because they dont know the in and outs of the building or visit their buildings like the Super does. Even Mgt does not know the in and outs of a building since they come 1 or 2x a week and then leave and depend on the Super to inform them of what is going on with the building. Lot of the responsibility falls on the shoulder of the Super!!! Time to check out your management bonus program.
  • We have a management company that has taken over, 4 members of the board rollover and play dead, money $641,000 has gone missing. How do I start investigating this management company, how do I find out if the management company is paying the maintenance charges of these 4 cooperative board members? and how do we begin to start getting rid of this company? thank you
  • Liz Raifman Risk Mgt. Services on Tuesday, May 04, 2010 12:29 PM
    My advice to all Board members is to keep a keen eye on your monthly budget. A good Mgt. Co. will provide a check register and show the full monies going out. I also think, no matter how small the building a mgt. company should have every check reviewed or require a countersignature. Each person on a Board is being given a responsibility to overview all of the operations of the building and the payments and receivables should always be reviewed on a monthly basis.
  • Ron Finger, President Finger Management Corp on Tuesday, August 10, 2010 5:37 PM
    In reading the comments above from various Shareholders and Board Members with regards to complaints about the lack of tansparency by their Property Managers, I can say that this seems to be a common practice by too many Property Management Companies that call themselves Property Managers. I cannot tell you how many times we have given presentations and when we provide a sample of our monthly operating statement that is given to the Board of Directors each and every month, we always get the same reaction, "We do not receive anything like this from our current manager". It is important that all Board Members have a clear picture of thier buildings finances. The report that we provide enumerates each and every invoice that is paid and provides a copy of the invoice for the Board's review. In addition, it provides a complete list of all monies collected for each individual unit along with a reconciled bank statement. This report should also be sent to the building"s accountant so that each month the account can also review the financial documents of the managing agent for accuracy. Sometimes waiting till year end for the Building's account to review the fianacial statements of the managing agent can prove costly if there are discrepancies.
  • Century Management has hired a new property manager who put in extremly high and unever speed bumps along 25 Glen Hollow Drive (main road with only one exit/entrance outlet). Drivers at end units go over 64 speed bumps daily. Christopher M Ardizzone has been dismmissive of ambulanse drivers and injured/handicapped residents complaints. We are not privvy to any bids/costs, data for installing unsafe, environmemtaly hazardous speed bumps that should be in parking lots - not along our only exit out of the complex. He states school bus drivers complaints that are non-existant and speeding without valid data. What recourse can we seek?
  • Can a co-op share holder board member hold a position on the board, and work for mgt? would that be consider a confict of interest.
  • Is the Professional Manager of a Condo supposed to take the minutes during a regular Board meeting and if so when are the Board members can read the minutes.
  • I live in a very small building and our condo board has turned over our building to a manager who is running the condo as if unit owners work for her not vice versa. The board likes not having to do anything. What recourse do unhappy owners have? Board members are attended to but no one else is.
  • Our condo complex is managed by a property management company. There have been bids submitted to the company for maintenance work. Management company received bids. Management company rep attends board meetings and advises board re bids. Management company formed a division and now is performing maintenance (albiet poorly) and is receiving funds. Bidders have not been advised they were no selected or what number on the list. Could this be construed as bid rigging?
  • yes, and unethical
  • Can you refer me to or provide me with a good Performance Evaluation Form for our Property Manager. I am the President of the Board and we recently hired a new Manager.
  • I am also looking for a good performance evaluation form. I downloaded the ones from IREM suggested in the "management checklist article" but they do not really apply well to a mid sized residential co-op. Any other suggestions?
  • How do i evaluate the importance of finance to property management