Whether your property is a townhome or a house that is part of a larger community, most benefit from having a management entity in place for everything from repairs to amenities. The question then becomes, “Do I need a property manager or a HOA (homeowner’s association) management company?” The answer can usually be found in the type of property or properties that are needing to be managed.
The best place to start can be learning what a property manager and an HOA management company are and then comparing their services and abilities to see which best matches your specific needs. In many cases, an HOA management company can be the best way to go.
What is a Property Manager?
A property manager is an entity that manages a specific property, such as a townhome, a single-family home or an apartment complex. They make decisions based on the properties run under their management only.
These entities tend to operate on a smaller scale when it comes to repairs and maintenance than those managers that oversee an entire community. It is crucial to read the fine print before signing with a property manager as there tends to be less consistency for this type of operation than there can be with their larger counterparts.
A property manager’s basic duties can include:
- Handling or coordinating property maintenance
- Setting and collecting rent from tenants
- Managing the property budget
What is an HOA Management Company?
An HOA management company can be instrumental in helping to manage large communities, rather than a single building or complex. These entities also tend to have a built-in checks and balances system since they do not typically independently govern a community. An HOA management company is instead simply an extension of a neighborhood HOA.
Some of the basic duties adopted by HOA management companies to better assist HOAs are:
- Amenity maintenance and survey. This usually means site visits to ensure that amenities such as walking trails, tennis courts, swimming pools, and more are in good working order. Any improvements or upgrades that are deemed necessary upon inspection can be referred to the HOA.
- Assisting with the collection of annual association dues from neighborhood residents.
- Enforcing consistent property maintenance. The disrepair of a property can impact the properties around it. By helping to enforce an HOA’s property guidelines and rules, this can also contribute to the stabilization of neighborhood property values.
- Financial management. These companies assist HOAs with basic financial housekeeping duties such as accounting, payment of approved vendors, record keeping, and developing an annual budget for the HOA.
Property Manager and HOA Management Company Similarities
Property Managers and HOA management companies are designed to help a specific property and/or a community run more smoothly, from repairs to amenity maintenance to property value. In addition to this primary similarity, there are several ways in which these two types of management are alike.
They keep you from having to go it alone
Regardless of if you are a tenant in their property or a homeowner in their community, having management to fall back on can keep you from having to go it alone when certain property issues arise.
Vacancies say a lot about them
Whether it a smaller property or a neighborhood community, the number of vacancies they have can say quite a bit about the success of their manager. Too many vacancies can indicate an issue whereas a full property or community tends to indicate a more stable housing trend.
Property Manager and HOA Management Company Differences
Although both property managers and HOA home management companies can be helpful for residents, the two share far more differences than similarities. For example, some of the things to consider before choosing which type of management you need can include:
A large HOA management company’s reputation can be easier to establish and trace, but even if it is more difficult to determine, a smaller property manager still must have adequate referrals and a good industry reputation.
It is usually a given that an HOA management company manages a number of properties, sometimes in multiple cities, and therefore will have sufficient experience. But before choosing a property manager, verify how many properties he or she has managed at one time in the past to ensure they can handle the workload.
Property managers usually represent themselves, whereas an HOA management company represents a volunteer led board of directors that make up the neighborhood HOA. Another important distinction regarding leadership is that a property manager works alone whereas an HOA management company typically employs a team of people that work together.
A property manager could potentially own one of the properties they are managing. This should raise a red flag as it may be possible that they could make management decisions based on what is best for their property rather than considering others under their care. Large HOA management companies typically do not own property within a neighborhood they manage.
While part of an HOA management company’s description is usually to maintain amenities, this does not necessarily hold true for a property manager. Those under the care of a property manager should ensure ahead of time how they handle maintenance issues.
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