The demand for sectional title properties is increasing drastically, and with it the need for effective and appropriately registered sectional title property management companies. Sean McGuinness, a principal at Milward and King, a company that has been involved with the management of sectional title schemes since the inception of the concept in South Africa, gives some advice on selecting an effective management company.
Research your Managing Agent
McGuinness says it is crucially important to do the necessary research into the prospective management company that will manage the Body Corporate’s affairs, since, if the Body Corporate is run professionally and efficiently, it will have a positive influence on the market value of individual sections within the scheme.
“It is imperative that the company has a traceable track record and subscribes to the various bodies governing the industry,” says McGuinness. The company also needs to ensure that they provide a comprehensive service that will allow the scheme to run efficiently. He says there are a number of important requirements you have to ensure any prospective management company meets, and these are:
1. Are they registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) and is their current certificate valid?
2. Are they members of the National Association of Managing Agents (NAMA)?
In both instances above, they will be bound to uphold the ethical standards set by the two bodies.
3. Obtain a copy of their standard contract, ensuring that they detail their duties, as well as those that are specifically excluded.
4. Ask for referrals from schemes currently under their management.
5. Do they comply with all the requirements in terms of financial management of the Body Corporate in terms of Budget preparation, collection of levies, reasonable credit control and keeping proper financial accounting records for onward submission to trustees and auditors?
6. Do they have a sound knowledge of the Sectional Titles Act, Management and Conduct rules, so as to assist the trustees and guide the Body Corporate in making informed decisions, thereby ensuring compliance with the Act and the registered rules of the scheme?
7. Are they able to assist the Body Corporate with maintenance related issues?
Knowing the company has dealt with, and continues to manage, sectional title schemes means that the managing agent will be equipped to handle your property specific needs. McGuinness says each sectional title scheme comes with its own unique set of challenges, and to remember that there is no substitute for experience.” “The more information you have, the easier and more rewarding your decision is going to be.”
Making the choice
If you choose to avoid the property giants and prefer personal attention, it is best to choose an owner-managed company that is entrenched within its operating community. This way you avoid becoming just another number on a long list of properties.
“Your investment needs to be managed efficiently as well as effectively. Select experienced property managers that are equipped to deal with your investment needs to ensure your investment is managed the way you want it to be”.