Running a strata property is probably more demanding than running your run-of-the-mill residential property, even if it’s a rental property. Why? Well, because of the shared ownership/jurisdiction that takes place in the complex. Not only are people obliged to abide by house rules, but they might not even own the entirety of their unit. Even elements like interior walls and balconies may not be theirs to renovate and when it comes to the question of maintenance, things tend to get even more complex. This is why finding the right strata manager can make life easier for everyone. Here’s what you should ask during the hiring process.
- Why do I need a strata manager?
The first thing worth asking is why does one need to hire a strata manager, to begin with. To understand this, you first need to understand all the functions of a strata manager. Their tasks are maintenance and administrative functions, as well as finances, communications, legislation and insurance. A strata property is a massive investment on your part, which means that mismanaging it might end up losing you a significant amount of money. Sure, you may be better motivated for this role than any professional strata manager but it’s not just about the motivation. It’s also about skills and experience which aren’t that easy to come by or compensate.
- What is their previous or current experience?
The next thing that you’re looking for is someone who had already managed (or at the moment manages) strata property. This is one of the most important things worth keeping in mind because the type of work that takes place here isn’t the same as managing a standard residential property. The key point to inquire about are the most recent improvements that they’ve introduced. This will help you unveil their in-depth understanding of strata management and ensure that you get the right person for the job. Asking about the accounting for their previously managed strata is also a move in the right direction.
- Local management
Another issue that you cannot afford to overlook is the importance of local management. You see, the real estate industry is always location-based. Even in the digital era, some tasks have to be done in person. Ideally, you would even look at the same neighborhood. For instance, if the property is in the Northern Beaches, you want to look for a specialized strata management Northern Beaches agency. It’s really that simple. The key thing lies in the fact that finding suitable local talent isn’t always a simple task. Fortunately, in the area rich with strata properties (like the aforementioned Northern Beaches), it shouldn’t be that difficult either.
- How busy are they?
This is a pivotal issue you need to address. You see, if they manage too many properties, chances are that they won’t be able to give you their full attention. One of the side-effects of this is the fact that the turnaround on email responses may be longer than you would want. Nonetheless, if they don’t have much work, this may indicate that they either lack experience or reputation in the field. In other words, you want them to be busy but not so busy that you aren’t a priority. Also, getting top providers of this service usually costs quite a bit, which means that you may have a serious financial issue to resolve, as well.
- Training for strata committee members
The strata committee is one of the most important governing bodies within the strata. A good strata manager will provide training and education to members of the committee in order to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. Also, this will strengthen the overall quality of communication, seeing as how the strata committee will be able to speak to strata manager (or management) with greater efficiency and clarity, using adequate and accurate terminology.
Hiring a strata manager is probably a mandatory move for any organization determined to invest in a strata property. First, it is a complex residential property investment that requires in-person management. Second, it’s too valuable of an asset, to be left to layman management. The key thing is ensuring the satisfaction of residents (unit owners), profitability, and legality of the entire endeavor. Without a professional strata manager, this can be harder than it seems.
Emily Miller, guest blogger, writing about life-work related topics. Passionate about home improvement and interior design.