When choosing a strata manager, it’s important to make sure you understand what you are paying for.
One of the first things to look out for is how much you will be paying for strata levies.
If they seem high, why is that?
Are there amenities such as a pool or car stacker to maintain, or is your building only small, with a small garden and minimal common areas.
Is the strata manager efficiently managing its budgets?
If the strata levies seem low, don’t be lured into choosing the cheapest option.
Make sure you won’t be hit with a sharp increase in the future, and that your building will be properly maintained.
It’s also crucial to ensure you are protected from receiving any unexpected surprises on your bill, say in the form of large disbursements or out of scope works.
Disbursements are the costs to the strata management company of managing your building, and may include salaries, telephone calls, printing, postage and archiving.
They can charged as a separate item on your bill and can come as a nasty surprise if they are not expected or they are unexpectedly large.
Disbursements have been known to run into the thousands of dollars a year.
Ideally, strata managers will cover regular disbursements in their regular fees.
Out of scope work
Out of scope works can also add to the cost of managing your property, so when choosing a strata manager it’s important to ensure there are appropriate procedures, skills and policies in place to prevent this problem from arising.
‘Out of scope’ work can add thousands and thousands of dollars to what is often already a costly project.
What processes does the strata manager put in place to ensure that when works are being done on a building, no ‘out of scope’ work will be necessary.
Does the strata manager ensure that the scope of each project is carefully defined.
Do they have the knowledge and experience to make the many assumptions necessary to accurately determine the scope of the project?
Are processes in place to review the scope if necessary throughout the project?
Understanding your strata fees
When choosing a strata manager, it’s vitally important you understand the fees you will be charged, and what each fee will include.
Always read the fine print, and understand what you are signing up for.
And even if you have been with one strata manager for a time, don’t just sign up for another year before thoroughly looking into the detail.
Look at the terms of the agreement, all fees, including how the agreement will be terminated.
Ask your strata manager questions if you’re unclear about anything.
Our ‘Strata Manager Health Check’ can help you examine what strata fees you are paying, and help you determine the most suitable strata manager for your situation.