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Boards & Buildings > Property Management

How do you find a good property manager?

October 10, 2023 - 12:30AM
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In a nutshell
First determine whether the problem is with the manager assigned to your building or with the entire firm. If it's time to switch firms, ask similar buildings in your neighborhood for recommendations, get referrals from your building's attorney, and conduct thorough online searches. Consider the location and size of other buildings being managed.

To replace any other vendor, your board’s first call is to your property manager. But when it’s time to replace your property management firm, you usually do not have that luxury. Finding a good match for your building and budget will likely take some effort.

Before going on a quest to look for a new property management company, the first question to ask is whether the problem is the property manager assigned to your building, or whether the property management firm doesn’t live up to your building’s needs. If it is the manager, asking for a new building manager can be as simple as a phone call or email to the property management firm. 

Where to look for the right property management firm

  • Identify similar-sized buildings to yours in your neighborhood and find out who their property manager is.  Ask a board member if they’re happy with them.
  • Ask your building’s attorney for recommendations.
  • Publications for co-op and condo boards often have lists of the largest property management firms. However, if your building is on the smaller side (under 50 units), these firms will probably be outside your budget.
  • Google searches can generate a more complete list of property management firms. However, there are many firms that choose not to advertise and those might be better matches for your needs.

Questions to keep in mind when searching for a new property management company

  • What is it about the current management firm that isn't meeting the needs of your building? Make a list of pain-points with your current firm and a wish-list for a new firm. Keep these points in mind when searching for a new management firm. 
  • Does the property manager serve your area? Being the first or only building in Brooklyn with a property manager that only services Manhattan makes it geographically inconvenient for the manager. It should be convenient for the property manager to visit your building both on a regular basis and in case of an emergency when it is important to keep residents safe. Having an office down the street, a subway stop away, or managing a few buildings nearby makes it more likely that your building gets the attention that it deserves. 
  • What's the typical size of the buildings under management? You don’t want to be the only 40-unit building in a portfolio of 150+ unit buildings. You want to work with a property manager who you are important to as opposed to them neglecting your building because your building is just an afterthought. 
  • What capital projects do you have coming up that your building needs assistance with? What tools and processes does the property management firm use for projects? What are the associated fees and requirements of those projects? Are you better off just having an independent construction project manager handle those?  
Tina Larsson Headshot
Tina Larsson is the co-founder of The Folson Group, New York City's leading co-op and condo consultancy. A prominent speaker on proactive co-op/condo leadership and ESG matters, Tina is the author of Living the High Life: How Smart Co-op and Condo Owners Protect Themselves and Their Investment. In... [read more]