What is HOA Management and 5 steps to find the best manager
The foundations and infrastructure needed for a well-positioned Homeowner Association (HOA) to develop can feel daunting at times for both the board members in charge as well as the residents. HOAs require significant time and energy from everyone in the community in order to function to the best of their abilities, and without professional help it can be tough to know where to start to build the best community possible. This is where an HOA management company can step in and ease the process.
What Does An HOA Management Company Do?
An HOA management company is a third party company built to assist and streamline both big picture and day-to-day operations for communities. The management company’s sole purpose is to provide HOA board members with the infrastructure needed to create the highest-functioning community experience possible for each and every resident. From administrative and accounting services such as resident billing, providing maintenance cost estimates, and planning long-term spending within the HOA, to more hands-on tasks such as amenities management and enforcing each HOA’s respective rules, HOA management companies are there for board members and homeowners at almost every crucial step.
Why Is An HOA Management Company Important?
For board members, creating and implementing the structure needed to run a successful HOA can be challenging, especially for those gracious enough to volunteer for the task. HOA management becomes a vital resource for board members in the sense that they bear much of that burden. In turn, that allows more time for board members to focus on residents’ questions and concerns, and can improve the overall relationship between board members and those they serve. HOA management can help to remove any administrative, maintenance, or accounting related issues that would otherwise bog HOA board members down, leaving them with the time and energy to focus on building the best communities possible for their residents.
How Do You Find The Right HOA Management For You?
It isn’t just about making sure your HOA has a management company to assist and complete the tasks needed to run the HOA, but also that management does it effectively. This is where board members need to focus not only on what their HOAs’ immediate needs are, but which HOA management companies provide those needs as efficiently as possible. Choosing which company to hire might feel like uncharted waters for some, but finding and evaluating the best HOA management companies can mostly be broken down into five essential steps needed to identify which managers are going to be right for your HOA:
1. Identify What Services Your HOA Needs The Most
Part of the process for board members in picking out the best management company for your HOA is understanding the needs of your HOA and finding the management companies that offer as many of those services as possible. Managers implement administrative services such as:
- assisting with rules and regulations enforcement
- helping to structure board meetings for members.
Managers can also provide accounting services like:
- managing monthly community payment
- creating filing systems for residents’ payment records.
There is a wide variety of potential services your HOA could utilize from a management company.The keyto finding the best management company, however, is finding the ones that offer not only as many of these services bundled together as possible, as many of them do, but also finding management that fits your HOAs needs the best.
Does accounting seem to be your board of directors’ biggest flaw? Make sure you find a management company that provides as many financial-related services as possible.
Does managing sites and amenities typically cause you and the other board members too much of a headache? Find a management company with the ability to step in and seamlessly take over that authority.
While finding a management company that offers the most services is important, finding a company that offers the best services, and most specific to your HOA, is equally valuable.
2. Find a Management Company That Fits Your HOA’s Budget
When searching for the best management company possible, taking into account how the contract process works for hiring a third party, and how those costs fit your HOAs budget, is crucial. The HOA management company contract process varies from company to company, but there are some crucial areas to research when deciding on who to hire. Most management companies may charge:
- an initiation fee
- monthly fees for their services
- additional fees for services added in after your initial contract with them is signed
- and often a termination fee if your HOA decides to break the contract before the stated duration of the contract is fulfilled
The overall cost of working with a management company might vary depending on if your community requires all, or just a selected amount, of their services, as well as whether or not the company charges a flat rate or more of a “per door” structure that takes into account the number of units or homes in your HOA instead.All of this pricing is going to be relative to the size and scope of your community. That means finding an HOA management company capable of providing you with the best quality service, without breaking your HOAs bank, is of the utmost importance.
3. Look for a Management Company That Matches The Size of your HOA
Management companies come in all shapes and sizes in terms of staff, the number of other clients they may have, and the amount of direct communication your HOA will be able to have with them. Therefore, finding the management capable of meeting your needs, in terms of personnel, might matter more than you thought. It’s important from a board member’s perspective to know that the services you need assistance with can be taken care of in a timely and orderly fashion. However, as a resident, it is also important to feel as though you can reach and communicate with your management staff seamlessly and directly.
4. Understand the Value of A Management Company With Good Communication
Taking into account everything from the size of your HOA management company, to the services they provide, also remember that the best management company will always be the one with the best and most direct communication. Your HOA's hired management staff should not only be able to effectively detail and provide their plan of action regarding every service, and the accompanying fees, to each board member, but the staff should also be able to implement their gameplan with residents with as few hiccups as possible. Part of the value of hiring a management company is to reach your residents more directly and with as much clarity as possible. Hiring a management company that can’t provide that type of service from the get-go is only going to result in more headaches for board members and residents down the line.
5. Those Pesky Miscellaneous Fees
Although we have discussed the overall cost and pricing structures, board members need to also pay attention to the miscellaneous and secondary fees that some management companies might tack onto some of their services. In some cases, there might be fees for management staff to attend board members’ meetings, hiring outside contractors, or even if the management has to perform additional collection-related duties. These fees aren’t always deal-breakers, especially if your HOAs budget can withstand it and the services provided in return are worth it. However, understanding the entire financial scope of what your community is getting into when hiring a management company is essential to creating a good relationship between management and residents.
Where Can You Find The Right HOA Management?
There are multiple ways to start your search.
- Google Search: in some cases, it can be as simple as a google search for HOA management companies in your community’s area
- Referrals: another way is asking for referrals from friends belonging to other HOAs, and asking about the pros and cons they found with hiring a management company.
- CAI service directory : Community Associations Institute has a directory of companies, which can help you in your search.
Finding the right management company for your community, although potentially new and challenging for some, can be a huge benefit for board members and residents alike. All it takes is knowing where to look, and what to look for.