High quality property management secures you a better home

Property management

Typhoon Hato recently ripped through Hong Kong and Macau with forceful winds and tides, leaving behind uprooted trees and streets littered in its aftermath. Fortunately, most Hong Kong streets had been cleaned up and main roads were back in operation by the next afternoon, Meanwhile, our neighbour Macau was also heavily battered and suffered close to 10 deaths in Hato’s destruction. It is heartwarming to see that, after the disaster, volunteers from Hong Kong and Macau have been helping to restore safety and cleanliness in both cities. That said, with the lack of strong leadership, Macau struggled to cope with the aftermath of Hato, and very much relied on locally-deployed People’s Liberation Army soldiers in its clean up mission.

During the typhoon, we saw a number of submerged car parks in both cities, which led to several drowning-related deaths. After browsing through some pictures and footage, I realised that some of these “accidents” might have been the result of human negligence. As an example, the submerged car park in Heng Fa Chuen was missing sandbags at its entrance at the time of the flooding. Sure, piling up sandbags at the gate wouldn’t have prevented the sea water from pouring into the garage during Hato, but in any case, the management company in charge should have had a contingency plan and response mechanism ready, so that guards and managers on duty can follow instructions with clarity and confidence in natural disasters like this one. The flooding of the Heng Fa Chuen car park is a testament to the importance of property management. A quality property management company should have personnel handling the situation in times of emergencies. With well-trained professionals and thoughtful attack plans, the management company can minimise or even eliminate financial losses and human casualties.

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High quality property management doesn’t necessarily mean high costs. I know a management company that rarely increases management fees, and once waived the charge for a month. The reason was that by installing surveillance cameras across the estate, it effectively reduced security costs. In addition, many housing estates managed by Owners' Corporations have seen stable and relatively low management fees. However, some Owners' Corporations choose to cut corners by reducing the number of security guards on night shifts. It saves expenses but the security loopholes and potential crimes can’t be measured by money. On the other hand, I have seen clever home owners organise and form neighbourhood watch groups to make their buildings safe for every resident with minimum operation expenses. As a matter of fact, depending on their individual calibre, property management companies of similar prices can still be as different as heaven and hell.

The destruction left by Typhoon Hato served as a revealing opportunity for home owners and home seekers to take a closer look at the management quality of various properties, which should be taken into account in home-buying decisions.

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