We are barely mid-way through the Covid outbreak. Nonetheless it is pressing to acknowledge the lasting impacts to social, business and daily lives. “At some point the COVID-19 crisis will end. But as was the case with the first and second world wars, the end of the crisis will not mark a return to normal. Rather, it will signal the advent of a new normal.”
The crisis presents an excellent opportunity for Property Managing Agents (MA) to step up their modus operandi. Some have resisted change for too long. Others have pushed for upgrades with an exorbitant price tag. Neither is in the best interest of residents. As chairman, I am constantly looking for MAs who can improve their efficiency and provide value.
Value is simply the additional benefit outweighing the additional costs.
The higher the benefit, the lower the costs, the greater the value. And council members should continuously evaluate the MA’s performance in terms of value added.
Technology presents an easy solution today.
A) For example, the replacement of decades old security cameras which used to cost more than $10k, with modern cameras armed with high-definition, motion-detector at $200 a piece. During circuit-breaker the use of common areas are disallowed. Anyone who flouts the rules is easily identified. The details can be reported weekly to BCA. Who says security guards are toothless? It depends on what you equip them. https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/some-condo-residents-refuse-wear-masks-obey-other-rules-compounds-where-staff-are
B) Alternatively, any guard with a smartphone can snap a picture and forward to the MA for the next course of action. Meanwhile, the guard should make his presence known, stand near the offender and gently remind him/her the rules.
Another procedure to look into would be the conduct of the AGMs. For large developments, MAs can consider live-streaming a scaled-down meeting to all subsidiary proprietors (SPs). The SPs can be allowed to vote online. Results can be tabulated faster and more accurately. The setup costs are minimal. And a huge saving can result from not renting a large venue.
We had a long period where substantial remunerations and unchanged practices in condo management were fine. You could be an “okay MA”, not that differentiated still build a reasonably good business. But now that we are waking-up to a new normal, the hunt for value in property management is merely the tip of the iceberg. How MAs evolve to add greater value and become more closely aligned with SPs will determine their success post covid-19.