With millions of Texans choosing to live in communities governed by homeowners associations, it is not hard to see how a HOA management company can set the tone for the success of your neighborhood. A neighborhood with perfectly manicured lawns, fantastic walking trails, and lovely parks does not happen on its own. Those attributes are typically the result of the professionalism of both the HOA management company and homeowners association that are working hand in hand.
The number of Texans living in homeowners association governed communities continues to grow each year. While that is impressive in and of itself, even more so is the estimated sixty-five percent of Texans that believe a homeowners association and management company protects their property and enhances its value.
But what is the difference between an HOA and a management company? Can you have one without the other? And can they really make that big of a difference in your own neighborhood? Here is an easy to use reference that outlines their relationship, and how an HOA management company can set the tone for the success of your neighborhood
The Difference Between a Homeowners Association and a Homeowners Association Management Company
Homeowner’s associations are designed to serve the needs of the community that they oversee, including residents and businesses. They are the boots on the ground so to speak that generally can feel the pulse of a neighborhood and what it needs. Some important features of a HOA can include:
- Being operated by a board of directors (usually volunteers) elected by residents.
- Developing and facilitating the maintenance of common areas such as parks or community pools.
- Forming neighborhood policies and decisions for the betterment of the community.
- Collecting dues from homeowners to help cover community expenses and improvement projects.
An HOA management company usually comes into play when the list of services provided by an HOA becomes too much for a volunteer board of directors to handle alone as the scope of an HOA’s duties is rather expansive. An HOA management company does not overtake the HOA but simply comes alongside it to help expedite its everyday duties more feasibly and efficiently. Responsibilities of a HOA management company are typically:
- Acting as a consultant to the board of directors
- Providing administrative services
- Managing finances via accounting services and accounts receivables
What Does a Neighborhood Look Like Without a Professional HOA Management Company
The dues a homeowner’s association collects to establish community amenities like swimming pools, tennis courts, parks, and golf courses are key for keeping them running smoothly. But how much pull does a volunteer board of directors have when it comes to collecting from a resident truant with their fees?
Without a management company managing a neighborhood’s finances, the HOA may not have enough director power to effectively enforce penalties. This can in turn negatively impact the neighborhood as, without those dues, the pools, tennis courts, and other popular amenities could deteriorate or even cease to exist.
From there, the snowball effect kicks in, meaning that a neighborhood featuring rundown community areas typically does not attract new homeowners which can eventually contribute to the demise of the area altogether and possibly destabilizing property values.
In other words, a management company is usually put in place to help a HOA make their visions and dreams a reality for the neighborhood they serve, but they can also play an indirect role in keeping residents’ homes and property values from declining.
How a Professional HOA Management Company Can Set the Tone For Your Neighborhoods Success
Whether you live in a large community or suburb, having a management company set the tone for success in your neighborhood can be advantageous for residents, businesses, and the community as a whole.
With a management company working to help a HOA achieve the goals for their community, there are three main areas residents frequently see a positive change and a better tone for the neighborhood:
- Increased amenities access and maintenance. Association dues collected by a management company generally help finance some of the more attractive neighborhood amenities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, walking trails, parks, and playgrounds. These are a few of the top amenities homeowners look for today when buying a home in a new neighborhood.
- Stabilizing neighborhood property values. Most HOAs have a specific list of things regarding property that a resident must agree to in order to live in that neighborhood. With a management company in place to more adequately enforce these rules than the volunteer HOA board of directors themselves, the homes in the community tend to be better maintained and appealing to the eye which can also help stabilize the value of those homes. One home with a severely overgrown lawn and a multiple broken windows, could negatively affect neighborhood property and home values without a management company in place to hold homeowners accountable.
- Settling disputes. If you’ve ever lived next to a neighbor who has a dog that seems to start barking for hours as soon as you turn out your light at night, this issue may be something a management company could help with. Most HOA rules address situations such as these in their agreements, but a management company may be able to help mediate a discussion and solution for the parties involved in a dispute. This type of mediation can provide a more peaceful atmosphere amongst residents in the neighborhood.
A management company can also help with continuity in a neighborhood in everything from the appearance of homes (ie no Christmas wreaths still up during the month of June) to the coordination of community services.
Knowing what you do now, which would you choose for you and your family to live in? The neighborhood without a management company and obsolete amenities? Or the neighborhood that features beautiful walking trails, swimming pools, and more?
Benefits of an HOA Management Company
In setting the tone for the neighborhood, a management company can be highly beneficial to the residents of a community. However, there are also several ways in which a management company can enhance the stability and success of a neighborhood’s HOA:
- Assisting with daily administrative duties and financial responsibilities. This typically includes collecting HOA dues and paying vendor invoices.
- Developing the HOA’s annual budget. With the management company already assisting with daily finances and accounting, it is a natural fit for them to develop an annual budget for the HOA.
- Managing amenities. The company can arrange to visit an amenity site to review its condition and either sign off on its condition or recommend necessary improvements.
- Managing vendors. To help the volunteer HOA board, the management company can assemble a working list of potential community vendors, acquire vendor bids, and handle payments.
- Performing record keeping. Management companies usually excel at accounting and can keep detailed records of current and truant dues as well as vendor payments should there be a question about services rendered.
- Helping with conflict resolution. In a situation where two residents are at odds with each other or a resident is at odds with an HOA, a management company may be able to step in and offer counsel for an appropriate resolution of the conflict.
- Providing knowledge of state and industry regulations. With an expansive background on state and homeowners association laws, a management company is uniquely positioned to help a HOA decipher the proper protocol and verbiage for neighborhood policies.
- Attending HOA board meetings. This allows for regular reports about neighborhood finances and activities.
Qualities of a Reputable and Professional HOA Management Company
A reputable HOA management Services should already be well versed in all aspects of community and homeowners association management. If looking for a management company to come on board with your neighborhood, be sure to look for the following:
- Dedication to the communities they serve beyond basic responsibilities
- Experience in deed restriction enforcement, assessment collection, contract negotiations, and annexations
- History of serving community and homeowners associations well
- Professional managers that practice continued professional development
- Standards consistent with those set forth by the Community Associations Institute and national trade organizations
- Accreditation with the Accredited Association Management Company
Finding a management company that meets the above criteria is essential to creating a positive experience for the HOA and residents alike and to set the tone for the success of your neighborhood. Be diligent in your commitment to research and interview prospective candidates.
HOA Management companies can help set the tone for the success of your neighborhood in a number of ways. Whether you seek to enjoy the community amenities of pools, walking trails, parks, or gathering areas, these are things that a management company can assist an HOA with. This partnership is designed to create a beneficial experience for the community at large, businesses, and residents.
If you have questions about how an HOA management company can assist your neighborhood homeowners association or make a difference in setting the tone for the success of your neighborhood, we encourage you to reach out to Sterling Association Services today to see how we can be of service.
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