When you select a company to manage your community, you are putting the largest investment you will make, your home, into the hands of others. The way they manage your property could have a large impact on your property values. When you are meeting with potential companies you should be touring their office space and meeting their staff. Managing communities is not a one person job, and if the company you are interviewing says it is you should walk away. There should be a team environment with the company you are interviewing and they should be professional and courteous from the very first time you meet with them. Touring the office space will give you insight into how well the company takes care of its employees. Your residents will know the difference when they call with a question if the person answering the phone is unhappy and it will change the complexion of the conversation.
At Cedar we have made customer service a priority and we start with our staff. If you have had the privilege of touring our office you have seen that we spare nothing to ensure that our staff is equipped with all the latest technology to ensure they can provide our customers with the best experience in the industry. We have a large, open space so that our staff is not confined to cubicles but rather given their own personal space to make them feel more comfortable at work. If a company you are considering is placing its staff, the people that work with every client, in a cubicle or asking them to share office supplies such as phones or computers ask yourself how they would treat a client.
Managing a community requires a strong understanding of accounting, maintenance, record keeping, and customer service. While handling those tasks technology becomes an afterthought. When speaking to management companies it is important to understand how they maintain all the community’s records. Ask them about their software, is it server based or web based? If it is server based what backups do you have in place? If it is web based it more than likely means that your information is being maintained by a service provider and your management company does not actually own the information that is being stored leaving the community at risk of losing years of records. What controls are in place to prevent this? What is your software capable of if the community wants a custom report made or requires tracking of information not common in other communities?
At Cedar we set out to use all cutting edge technology available to make our company more efficient, accurate, and customer friendly. We have developed custom management software to which we own the U.S. rights to and will be the only company in the state of North Carolina with this remarkable tool. This software allows us to generate custom reports and data fields and truly customize our service to the needs of your community. Using this software we can generate the most user friendly reports and accounting statements so that we are not confusing our Boards, but rather educating them and keeping them informed. We continue to develop our software with continued updates based on feedback from our customers and staff. Since we developed this software we do not wait for a new version of an off the shelf copy to come out, we make the changes when they need to be made so that our communities are always receiving the best service available in the industry.
All communities are established and operate in a similar way based on their structure. When selecting a management company you want to make sure that you select a company that understands how to manage a community and has the experience to make recommendations that will better the community and improve property values. When interviewing companies make sure you find out about their experience and training. Do not be fooled by a company that boasts multiple years of experience from their President but cannot provide you with a property manager with no experience, which will not help your community. Check the company’s ratio of property managers to properties, and if you do not believe them walk around their office and count staff members so you can be sure you are not being sold on false information. Ask companies about their participation with CAI and find out how many of their staff is certified. If they do not participate in continued education for their staff they are not showing that they care to keep their staff sharp and on top of recent case law and experiences that can affect your community.
We have invested time and money to ensure that our staff will be the most experienced you will work with. All of our property managers are required to pass their certification exam with 90 days of employment and continue to take advantage of training opportunities via classes or web seminars throughout the year. In addition to our property managers being certified our support staff managers are as well. Our mission statement says that we will always share best practice with absolute integrity, we take this very seriously and we do this by working together and sharing our experiences amongst each other so that we all learn together. We have had well over 100 communities to learn from and share experiences from. I hope that if you are looking for new management you will allow us to share our experiences with you.