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  • Michael Shifrin

Assemble Your Team of Professionals

Article Highlights

1. Property Management and Legal Representation are Critical Team Members for Condominium Association Long Term Success

2. Boards Should Research and Interview Potential Representation to identify the Best Match for their Association

3. Avoiding the Mistake of Going it Alone Saves the Association Time, Money and Aggravation

October 21, 2020

Assembling Your Association Team of Professionals

A good friend of mine recently moved into a new home he constructed from the ground up. Not literally, but with the help and involvement of a design and construction team. He is a resourceful guy that knows how to “figure things out.” After compiling and totaling all home line items he realized he was well over budget. Being the resourceful guy that he is, he elected to serve as the project’s general contractor for two reasons. First, he felt he was more than competent and capable of overseeing the construction of his home. Second, serving as general contractor would save him tens of thousands of dollars – or so he thought.

About three months into the home construction process, he gave up. The plumbing, electrical and HVAC work had been installed incorrectly and needed to be redone. Portions of framing proved to be improperly installed and needed to be reframed. Finally, exterior driveways and concrete walkways were given insufficient time to cure, which resulted in the need to tear them out and reinstall them. These mistakes caused major work delays and significant cost overruns. Worst of all, they could have been avoided had he hired a reputable professional contractor from inception to oversee construction. Once the home was complete and the final cost calculated, my friend learned the ugly truth. His decision not to assemble a complete team of professionals increased his overall out-of-pocket expense by 25%. It also delayed delivery of his home by more than six months, which landed him a permanent place in the ‘dog house.’

The hard lesson my friend learned through this grueling process was the importance of assembling a proper team of professionals when building a home. Thankfully, individuals serving on a condominium association board are not responsible for overseeing home construction. They are, however, responsible for establishing sound and sensible rules and regulations that govern the day-to-day lives of numerous people. They are also responsible for interpreting and fairly enforcing them for the betterment of their community. This is no easy task and certainly not one in which a volunteer board should pursue on its own.

Instead, a board is well advised to assemble a team of professionals to assist with establishing reasonable regulations, interpreting and enforcing them. At a minimum, boards should explore the feasibility of hiring a full time or part time property management company to assist with administering and operating their condominium association. There are hundreds of reputable and qualified property management companies in the greater Chicagoland area with expertise in condominium association management. There are full-service property management companies outfitted to dedicate an employee to provide onsite property management for large high-rise buildings. There are midsized property management companies equipped with the latest technology and resources to assist all sized condominium associations. And there are neighborhood management companies able to assist with providing customized management services for medium to small sized buildings. A simple search on the internet will quickly reveal the numerous qualified options available to your condominium association.

The “team” of professionals does not stop there. It benefits a board to explore hiring legal counsel as well to assist with the creation, interpretation and enforcement of condominium association policies and procedures. Like management companies, there exist numerous types of law firms ranging in size and feel. Regardless, it is important that a board take the time to interview potential lawyers to get to know them, their personality types and their philosophy about the practice of law. This is essential to ensure a proper match is made as a condo lawyer is a key component of any association team of professionals.

Once a condo association board has hired a property manager and attorney, it has completed the initial steps of assembling a proper team of professionals. Over time, additional team members may become necessary. Such members may include, but are not limited to, accountants, engineers, insurance brokers, mortgage brokers, construction contractors, designers, architects and landscapers. The team of professionals will be ever evolving as a condominium association board faces different challenges and tackles different tasks.

So long as your board assembles the proper team of professionals, it can rest assured knowing it stands ready to conquer whatever challenges await.

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