How to Successfully Manage a Condominium Association

Efficient condominium management begins with strategic planning.

Being in charge of a condominium association is no easy task. As the managing individual or firm, you are generally responsible for maintenance of the buildings, pools and other common areas. You also have to enforce the rules regarding what homeowners can do with their property, and this can cause much controversy. Homeowners pay anywhere from $100 to $10,000 a year to live in a managed community, according to CNNMoney.com, and this creates an enormous amount of pressure on the association to be financially responsible, meet maintenance and cleanliness standards and improve the overall value of the condominiums.

Step 1

Identify the key operations for which you will be responsible. Using word processing software, document the condominium association's areas of obligations. These can include: maintenance of buildings, landscaping, pools, recreational rooms and other publicly shared facilities; trash pickup; emergency cleanup, such as snow or ice, and building security. Make note of other areas of management, such as enforcing community rules for the homeowners, responding to complaints, holding regular association meetings and collecting monthly or annual fees.

Step 2

Rapid action is expected for emergency services.

Determine the manpower needed to operate the facility. Build relationships with local vendors to provide the maintenance services. Be prepared to hire counsel should legal action arise.

Step 3

An effective budget helps keep expenses in line.

Plan the annual budget carefully. Create a template in a spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel. Begin with the largest level of repairs -- such as roof replacements -- then allocate appropriately for cleaning services, asphalt replacement, landscaping, pest control, heating and air conditioning, exterior painting and more. Survey all units to determine what is needed, and leave reserves to account for natural disaster scenarios.

Step 4

Keep up maintenance to enrich condo value.

Document a set of repair and maintenance standards. This is crucial for planning for long-term maintenance of typical building operations. Think about what constitutes "clean." Set a standard for what you deem necessary for scheduling pest control, heating/air conditioning service, and other regular maintenance. By deciding on the urgency of certain repairs, you reduce the chance you will exceed your budget. Also, this allows you to focus on the essential operations needed to run the community.

Step 5

Be as diplomatic as possible with the homeowners. Disputes over association rules can quickly lead to legal battles. Association meetings are open forums for homeowners to raise issues. When complaints are raised in person or in writing, respond in an efficient and respectful manner.

Step 6

Be financially responsible by keeping a record of everything.

Document and evaluate all operations on a regular basis. A year-end evaluation of your budget and operations helps you determine what has worked, and if you need to change your approach next year. Keep all maintenance receipts, legal contracts, insurance information and financial records together in an organized filing system for future reference.

Tip

If your community has 30 or more units, it may make sense to hire a property management firm, as it will be difficult for an individual to efficiently manage all condo operations.

Consider membership in the Community Associations Institute (CAI). This national organization provides educational resources, newsletters, workshop opportunities and other tools for managing condominium associations.

Warning

You could face expensive legal action if you fail to keep up with building codes or don't keep an accurate record of financial activity.

Things You'll Need

  • Word processing software

  • Spreadsheet software

  • Filing cabinet

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