With busy lives and what seems like an ever-dwindling number of hours in the day, why would a community association choose to take on the extra work of self-managing their property? Convenience and saving money are just a couple of compelling reasons—but outside managing firms and association managers are hired and employed for good reason. The job requires collecting monthly association fees, hiring and managing staff, responding to residents’ issues, among other expected and unexpected tasks.
Before a board chooses to self manage, there are many factors to consider. “Self-managed properties oversee the finances, administration and physical working of their property without engaging with a professional management company,” explains Joe Colella of YES Property Management Group LLC in Nutley, New Jersey. “Typically, board members and volunteers perform the greater part of the required work.”
Pros & Cons
The primary advantages of self-management are a significant expense savings for the association though industry experts caution that this may be a tainted viewpoint. “One perceived advantage could be saving the cost of management fees,” says Brian Weaver, director of business development with Wilkin Management Group in Mahwah, New Jersey. However, Weaver goes on to say that an experienced management company can often save a community more money thanks to the company's experience and vendor contacts than the community would have saved in management fees alone through self-managing.
Another benefit of self-management is the ability to take control over the direction and operations of the building. Often, management companies have their own set protocol for dealing with delinquencies or hiring contractors that may conflict with the needs and preferences of a particular board.
A self-managed board may be more involved with its residents, since they are neighbors who are in charge, but having an emotional involvement can be tricky. With self-managed communities, the board and residents often become a close-knit group, which can make it difficult for board members to crack down on delinquencies or rule violations. “Sometimes, it stops being run like a professional business,”says Bonnie Bertan, president of Association Advisors in Freehold, New Jersey.