While the majority of co-op and condo buildings and HOA communities choose to partner with professional management firms to provide guidance and counseling and oversee day-to-day operations, other boards take the reins themselves and choose self-management.
While there are advantages to going the self-managed route, there are also challenges. But with the right preparation and commitment, this large and sometimes intimidating undertaking can be done successfully.
Why Go Solo?
Sometimes it comes down to the size of the community. For smaller buildings, self-management can make economic sense, ensuring that the building’s residents are getting the most bang for their buck. What most often leads small buildings to manage themselves? “They may not have the money” for a full time management firm, says Gary Mindlin, owner of Top Hat Home Services, a boutique management firm in Manhattan. Or the board members may feel, “We have the expertise, and we only collect four checks a month—so why are we paying a company to do the job?”
According to attorney Steve Troup, a partner at the Manhattan-based law firm of Tarter Krinsky & Drogin LLP, “Larger buildings are typically not self-managed, although some are. They have a professional manager, who is a building employee and who has been well-trained before going in-house.”
Size can be prohibitive when it comes to self-management. “When you get to a certain size, self-management makes no sense,” says Mindlin. “At the other end of the market [where buildings are smaller], cost becomes more important, and it’s harder to provide added value at a lower cost.”