We have seen a lot of changes in Illinois property management as smaller, local management companies get purchased by, or merge with, national management companies. This happened again most recently with another Chicagoland property management company in the south suburbs. It’s important to know what you can expect if your current smaller, local property management company has merged with a national management company.
Understand the nature of the merger
If you receive a notice from your property manager informing you about the recent ownership change, in order to truly understand what to expect, you must understand the nature of the merger. One of three things have likely happened:
- Your property management company is a smaller, local company that has been purchased by a large, national firm. This is the situation that this article is about, and what to expect is explained below.
- Your property management company is a smaller, local company that has merged with another small, local company. The below expectations do not apply here, because there’s no large national firm involved. This situation is what we recently went through, when Hillcrest Property Management merged with local suburban Werk Management. We now all operate under the Hillcrest name and there was no change to our clients’ management team, fees, or services.
- Your property management company is already a large national firm. Similar to #2 above, you will likely experience no change.
So, for those of you in category #1 above, in general, you can expect changes, because the larger national firm will impart its ways. Read more about why you may want to consider a local property management company.
What to expect
Unfortunately, you are likely to experience changes and growing pains.
One important change is how we will handle your association’s accounting services. What you will probably see is a change from in-house accounting to third party/outsourced accounting. This can be a significant adjustment for your homeowners if they’re currently accustomed to calling directly into the management office, or stopping in to speak to someone directly about their assessment account.
It also affects Board Members as we know some Boards like to work hands on with their bookkeeper on their financials. They’ll now have to call another person who is usually located out of state and have to work around their automated system and wait for a call back.
Other benefits of a small, local provider
Again, with homeowners acclimated to a management company close to home, and the ability to meet with their Property Manager and Executive Staff , your community may lose the “part of the family” feeling they’re used to. Your Property Manager will most likely remain in Illinois, but it’s important to find out where the rest of the manager’s portfolio is located. Do this to determine if you will still get the same attention you’re familiar with. With that, it is also vital to your association that your management contract stays the same, and also allows for customizations and additions if you choose to continue your relationship with the recent merge.
How we handled our local-with-local company merger
Hillcrest Property Management recently merged with Werk Management, a fellow Chicagoland property management company. It was important to us that Hillcrest clients experienced no changes, and that we create a smooth transition for new clients.
In order to achieve this, we assigned a property manager in close proximity to handle the new accounts and give them the attention they need. Also, a Werk Management property manager is assisting our new clients to help transition them to their new property manager. We have made no changes to any contracts. That includes contracts for our new clients that we recently welcomed to the Hillcrest family.
Hillcrest is an Illinois property management firm. Our client base ranges from Orland Park, to Schaumburg, to Buffalo Grove, and Chicago. Since 1971, we’ve operated with an open door policy, both internally and externally. We encourage our boards and homeowners to schedule time to come talk to us whenever they feel the need.
One crucial service we offer is our in-house accounting services. We do not outsource or work with a third party for your association’s accounting. This means that when a homeowner has questions about their account, they can contact their assigned Hillcrest bookkeeper in directly. Or, schedule a time to come in and speak with them in person.
We also continue to offer customized management solutions for each of our clients. We work with associations directly to create a management program that is as unique as your community. It is important to us that your association feels comfortable with any changes made to your current property management company.
At the end of the day, your backyard is our backyard. We want your association to have the best experience possible. If you have questions about our merger with Werk Management, or concerns about your current property management company’s recent merger with a national company, we are here to help in any way possible.