How to oversee your management company's work

Board member education
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June 30, 2024
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min read
How to oversee your management company's work

Being on the board of a condo or a co-op is no small task. From routine maintenance to financial oversight, legal compliance to resident satisfaction, the responsibilities are vast and varied. While property management companies are tasked with handling these complexities, it's easy for things to fall through the cracks without proper oversight.

As a board member, you do more than just oversee operations - you're responsible for keeping your management company on track and guiding your building's progress. In this article, we'll explore the best practices for board members to keep their property managers accountable, efficient, and aligned with the building's goals.

1. Set clear goals

Before diving into the details, you need to know what you're aiming for. Tracking the right metrics is crucial for understanding your building's health and your management company's performance. By setting clear goals, defining KPIs (key performance indicators, read: metrics), and reviewing them in regular check-ins, you create a robust system for oversight.
A. Set SMART goals: These should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Think about areas like
- Financial health (e.g., maintaining a healthy reserve fund)
- Resident satisfaction (e.g., aiming for a 90% satisfaction rate)
- Property improvements (e.g., completing specific projects on schedule)
- Operational efficiency (e.g., reducing energy consumption)

B. Align the board: Hold planning sessions to discuss and agree on these goals. It's crucial that everyone understands and supports the objectives.

C. Communicate with management: Once you've set your goals, make sure your management company is clear on what you're prioritizing. They need to understand your expectations.

At Daisy, we’ve created a Building Health Score to track how all of our buildings are performing. It's a comprehensive measure that takes into account various aspects of building health. Read more on that here.

2. Establish regular check-ins

Your property manager should keep you updated, but that doesn't always happen. To stay informed, have a board member set up regular check-ins.These could be weekly or bi-weekly, depending on your building's needs. During these meetings, review your building's goals and progress. Look at performance metrics and the status of important tasks. This helps ensure you're on the right track and making steady progress.
Expect your manager to provide:
- Clear monthly financial reports
- Updates on your building's condition - maintenance and capital projects
- Discuss any obstacles or delays, and brainstorm solutions
- Take the time to review these documents carefully. If something doesn't add up or you need clarification, have your property manager provide more details.

3. Ensure board alignment

A united board is essential for a healthy building. When board members are on the same page, it sets the stage for clear communication and consistent direction.

To achieve alignment:
- Hold regular board meetings to discuss and agree on priorities
- Develop a clear decision-making process for urgent matters
- Regularly review and adjust goals and metrics as needed

4. Make building inspections data-driven and actionable

Your management company should use a comprehensive checklist every time they inspect your building. This checklist should cover all key areas and systems, with each item having a clear status. This checklist isn't just a to-do list - it's a powerful tool for tracking your building's health. Use it as a key performance indicator (KPI). Ideally, you should see fewer items needing attention each month.

By making inspections data-driven, you can:
- Easily track progress over time
- Identify recurring issues that may need a more comprehensive solution
This approach turns routine inspections into a strategic tool for maintaining and improving your building.

5. Analyze financial reports

Regular review of monthly financial statements is important for maintaining financial oversight. We recommend a thorough examination of these reports, which includes:
Reviewing all income and expense entries to track your building’s financial health
Identifying any unusual activities or trends that may require attention
Healthy finances are the foundation for a healthy, well-run building - so if your condo or co-op’s financial situation isn’t improving, ask your property manager to create a plan to improve it.

6. Use digital tools

Embracing technology can significantly improve communication and oversight beyond emails and phone calls. By implementing digital solutions, you can boost efficiency and transparency with your management company.
Consider implementing:
A digital task management system to track open issues and deadlines
A centralized platform for document storage and sharing
These tools provide real-time updates on your building's performance and make it easier to monitor progress. They also keep a clear record of all conversations and choices made, which can be incredibly helpful if you need to look back or settle any disagreements later on.

7. Get owner & resident feedback

Getting feedback from residents is crucial for making your building a great place to live, and increasing property values. Quarterly surveys diving into questions like:
How happy residents are with the day-to-day management
Where we can make things better
This information will help you understand what owners and shareholders are experiencing and what they need.

Move your building forward

Overseeing a management company as a condo or co-op board member requires dedication and attention to detail. It involves setting clear goals, maintaining open communication, monitoring finances, and ensuring top-notch maintenance. Your active involvement is crucial to creating exceptional buildings where residents thrive. If your current management company isn't meeting your expectations, we're here to help. We’re built a bit differently in order to work efficiently while giving you control. With our dashboard boards can easily track progress and you can hold us accountable without additional effort on your part. Together, we’ll make your building better, and your life easier.

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