Maybe you are fed up with your current HOA Management company, or perhaps your association deserves better management. You may be learning the hard way that bigger is NOT always better. And just because they have always managed your HOA may not mean you’re getting the service you are paying for. If that’s the case, you may be in the market for an HOA management company that meets your needs. The following information will provide a comprehensive review of things you should know.
Why Hire an HOA Management Company?
First things first, why do you need this service? Homeowners association management companies offer numerous benefits to the surrounding communities. Because most HOA board members are volunteers, you’ll often find that it’s difficult for these individuals to manage all aspects of the association. Remember, in most cases, the board is responsible for running a multi-million business on behalf of the homeowners. When you hire a professional management company to operate the HOA on your behalf, you’ll receive the following support:
- Professional financial administration
- Legal recommendations and industry related suggestions
- Compliance with HOA regulations
- Represents the board and relieves pressure from board members
- Adds value to the property and increases the level of community enhancement
The Steps Included in Your Search
Step 1: Invite Members to Participate in the Process
Whichever management company you hire is ultimately representing the interests of your HOA members. When the board members decide to hire a management team, invite the board to provide input and feedback. Overall, this is a big decision that should be made with many voices involved.
Schedule a meeting where HOA members can share their thoughts on hiring an HOA management company. Explain your rationale for doing so, the benefits involved, and allow them to offer their suggestions. Then, make a list of what the members want from the management company. Be sure to keep a list of their priorities and requested services, so you can integrate that into the list that the board members create.
Step 2: List out your Priorities
When seeking new HOA management, remember the five important functions that management companies should serve. Ask about these (as well as any others your HOA members requested) when you speak with each company.
Accounting and Collections
Having your new HOA management company take finances off your hand is likely to serve as a relief. Accounting and collections are essential functions of your homeowners’ association, but they can also be overwhelming and complex. Plus, it can be awkward to collect money from your neighbors. Having a professional third party take over your money management legitimizes your HOA’s financial image and removes any hint of potential financial impropriety.
Community maintenance can vary widely from management company to management company. Discuss what a potential company includes in-depth when you are seeking new HOA management. Different communities have different needs. Some may require in-house assistance while others are fine working with outsourcing vendors when necessary.
Most people who have an HOA know that violation enforcement can be nothing short of an ugly process. That said, if you do not enforce your rules and regulations, then there’s no reason to have an HOA. Hiring an HOA management company helps to eliminate this problem altogether. Just like accounting and collections, outsourcing this area to a third party is ideal if you want to keep the peace between neighbors while keeping your community in tip-top shape.
When you hire an HOA management company, the HOA board is entering into a partnership with them, and each party should aim to uphold their side of that relationship. A good management company will educate and inform the HOA it serves while the board and its members should understand their duties and fulfill them. In addition, a good HOA management company will offer board training.
Although not a daily occurrence, HOAs can sometimes require legal advice and service. For the most part, you should seek out a management company that offers guidance and recommendations for professional legal assistance, covering collections, document analysis, and fair housing compliance reviews.
Step 3: Research and Understand your Options
You now have the framework to decide which company is best for your HOA. Research four to five management companies in your area and reach out to each. Ask questions regarding each of the above sections. Get an idea about the company’s views and how they aim to support clients. You don’t have to go into specific details for each section, but at the end of your research you should have a clear idea of how they all compare to one another.
Step 4: Finalize your Choice
Now you’re in the final step of seeking new HOA management! Narrow down your choices to the top three and obtain the list of the costs that it would require for you to hire the management companies. Then, take the time to review the contract between you (the HOA) and the management company. What are your contractual responsibilities and what are theirs to you?
Finally, get names and contact information for the key service personnel at each company. If possible, meet with someone from each company face-to-face. Knowing who you’re working with can be a huge component of feeling comfortable in a management situation.
The final decision will ultimately depend on all the factors above, but it will be a thoughtful decision that all parties will have weighed in on.
Are you seeking new HOA management? Association Management Concepts, Inc., is locally owned and operated in the greater Sacramento Area. AMC has a full team of professionals managing over 70 HOAs throughout five counties in Northern California. If your considering a change, contact us today! We’re happy to answer any questions.