As the President of a CO-OP in New York City, Rick Weissman, our Managing Director of Sales, found himself struggling to stay on top of all the information – not to mention all the emails – surrounding the CO-OP between the Board members, as well with the Property Manager. That was, until the CO-OP, in conjunction with their Property Manager, began utilizing Procorem. Below Rick explains how he and his board members are using Procorem, and the benefits they have realized, to help manage their CO-OP more effectively and efficiently:
Prior to Procorem, our CO-OP Board struggled with maintaining and organizing critical documents for our day to day CO-OP management – often making decisions based on outdated or incorrect information. With Procorem we now have our documents organized in secure WorkCenters allowing our team to store, share, and collaborate on the same version of a document. On top of the WorkCenter organization, all of our files are organized by folders and subfolders for easy access – whether it’s a new purchase application, financial statements or the waiting list for a locker. As we move forward, we are discovering a whole range of CO-OP related documents which our Property Manager is making available to us.
Like many CO-OPs I’m familiar with, we receive purchase, sublet, and refinancing applications from the Closing Department of our Property Manager electronically, as well as being able to download it from our Property Manager’s web portal. There were two problems with that process: first, the website they were using was not secure and second, the files were not encrypted. Without higher levels of security and encryption, information, such as an applicant’s social security number, was clearly visible – posing a security risk if the documents were stolen or hijacked. Enter Procorem: our files are now encrypted and placed on the secure website. Not only that, the encryption code for every file is different, further enhancing the security.
We’ve utilized the Comments section in Procorem for each board member to vote on purchase applications in one, easy to find location – no searching through emails to determine who voted one way or another.
Closing Department/Application Process
To keep our work space easy to navigate, once an application receives a majority number of votes as noted in the comments section of a specific application, the Status field attached to each application can be changed from “Pending Approval” to “Approved” or “Approved with Conditions” (a condition might be: escrow required). The file is then moved from the “Pending Applications” folder to the appropriate sub-folder in the “Approved Applications” folder.
As I was organizing the pending applications folder, I came across a refinancing application that only had 2 votes, out of the 6 active voters. Due to some internal miscommunication, one of the board members informed the Closing Department Liaison that this document was actually approved. By referencing our Procorem workflow, the pending application was held up until a majority consented. If it wasn’t for the transparency of the activity on Procorem, the required votes would not have been in compliance with board rules.
As part of our budgeting process, our very organized treasurer takes a look at every line item to see if it matches up with the work or service provided. In one instance, he questioned why we pay our elevator company $20,000 a year to service, warranty and repair our elevators as necessary, but also pay $2,000 a year to file an inspection report with the city. After all, if they are warranting the elevators, then shouldn’t they have to inspect them too? Here’s what happened:
- Our treasurer asked to see a copy of the contract with the elevator company, which took our Property Manager over a day to find. The delay was not critical, but wouldn’t it be nice to have all such documents at our fingertips? It turns out the last contract was from 18 years ago, and the warranty and service fees have since gone up by 300%, but there is no real record as to why. No one questioned these increases over the years, or the scope of service provided. To ensure this doesn’t happen again, all our contracts being uploaded onto Procorem by the Property Manager, so the board will be better able to monitor the decisions of our Property Manager, and allow the Property Manager to serve us better and more efficiently.
With Procorem, our CO-OP Board now has an auditable, searchable document collaboration tool which allows us to more efficiently manage the affairs of our building.
If you are on a CO-OP or Condo Board, or part of a Property Management company, I would like to help you improve communication and collaboration challenges through the use of Procorem. Call me @ 201-310-3337, or email me at email@example.com.