Running a Condo Association is no simple task.  You must manage a budget, keep a building in good repair, fix issues for Owners, deal with unexpected disasters, manage crazy Board members, and more.  Although this can be daunting, there are certain Condo Association management basics which will help guide you towards success. 

Set Strategic Goals

One of the keys to keep your Condo Association on track is to have clear goals.  These could be related to budgeting, restoring major building systems, or even adding new amenities.  The key is that you must have a plan, and you must plan ahead.  “Even though setting goals early in the year is good, planning next year’s budget as early as after mid-year is even better,” says Tina Larsson of the Folson Group. “Having a 5-year plan in place for all capital improvements of the building systems is a requirement for being able to set a budget.”

The bottom line – try to think of what major strategic goals you want to accomplish in a 12-24 month period, and take some time to make sure the Board and Management are on the same page.  It is very easy to get caught up in the “now” and ignore the future.

Be Proactive, Not Reactive

One of the biggest focuses of this blog is the fact that you can control your Condo destiny.  This applies whether you are an Owner, Board or Management – by getting ahead.  This lesson can be applied in a number of different scenarios.  Perhaps most near and dear to most Condo Associations, it applies to budgeting and cash flow.  

According to Larsson, “We see too often buildings with old systems that should be replaced, but they don’t have the capital to do so.”  Larsson notes that the Folson Group has worked with a number of different buildings in New York City with inefficient old systems such as roofs, elevators, and heating.  In all cases, while there was an upfront cost for replacement that was not trivial, there were immediate cash flow and environmental savings.  

Maintain Good Records

A key to good Condo Association management is to have good records.  An Association is in a complicated place.  You’re essentially a small business, operating as a non-profit, with employees, vendors, and Owners to manage.  You can have high turnover in Board members and committee members, and even within your management company.  This makes good record keeping a must.  “Too many Boards rely on their managing agent on keeping their records,” says Larsson. “Good practice is for each Condo Board to ‘own’ its own records.”  

Use Technology to Get Ahead

Technology has changed how most businesses and governments operate.  Good Condo Association management in this era is no different.  There are a number of different tools out there which can assist a Condo Association.  There are complete solutions such as TOPS software.  You can leverage socialmedia for outreach.  Digital collaboration tools allow communities more effectively than ever.  There are also numerous cloud-based tools to support record keeping.  

The Folson Group is a fan of New York City-based BuildingLink, for example. “There are many cloud-based services that make it very easy for Boards to keep good records,” says Larsson. “New York City-based BuildingLink provides a comprehensive cloud-based service that includes building package tracking, maintenance request, staff timekeeper, key management, and resident communication systems.  Boards can work with their managing agent on saving all documents through the same portal as they communicate with their residents, which is brilliant!”

Stick to the Basics

The hardest part of fundamentals is that it is easy to forget them.  If you can stay focused on these issues, you will be in a position for good Condo Association management.  Make sure your Board and Management to discuss if you’re sticking to these basics, and ensure you’re leading a better Condo life.