If you already have a homeowner’s association (HOA) governing your neighborhood but are considering the idea of enlisting some help via the right HOA management company, it may be able to save the association board a lot of headaches and time. Keep reading to learn more about how an HOA management company can help you and why you need it.
The Difference Between an HOA and an HOA Management Company
For some, the line between an HOA and an HOA management company can be a bit fuzzy, so let’s start there first.
An HOA is a homeowner’s association that is led by a neighborhood elected board of directors to volunteer their time and energy toward making their community a more beautiful place for residents and businesses alike. The main focus of their efforts include:
- Establishing neighborhood amenities
- Forming policies and guidelines that will benefit the community
- Holding monthly community meetings
An HOA management company is typically just an extension of the HOA. In other words, a management company can be utilized to ease the burden of various tasks that a volunteer board of directors may not have the time or capacity to perform. In keeping with this job description, most management companies do the following:
- Conduct daily administrative services
- Offer customer and emergency services
- Assist with record keeping and related finances
Top 10 Ways Having The Right HOA Management Company Can Save Boards A Lot Of Headaches
1. Being Present.
An HOA board of directors is comprised of volunteers, meaning they keep their regular day jobs too. While they are committed to the well-being of their community, they are forced to divide their time between their normal daily responsibilities and those of being on the HOA. However, by enlisting the help of an HOA management company, it can increase the number of individuals available to work on tasks during regular business hours.
2. Providing Emergency Service.
A reputable HOA management company should be able to provide owners within the community they serve with twenty-four hour emergency assistance. This can be a huge relief for an HOA board who is receiving phone calls all hours of the night at their places of residence.
3. Managing Amenities.
Establishing neighborhood amenities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, walking trails, and parks is the easy part. Maintaining them can be a challenge timewise for a volunteer board. A management company will make amenity site visits a priority to ensure that things are in proper working order and identify if any repairs are required. Based on their findings, the company may also make recommendations to the HOA regarding amenity upgrades such as creating an indoor gathering space adjacent to the park or adding in an additional swimming pool.
4. Collecting Association Dues.
Most HOA members pay an annual fee to help fund neighborhood amenities. Fee collection letters are typically sent out around the same each year and specify a time deadline for payment. Although it is not considered to be the norm, there are times when residents may simply forget to pay these HOA fees or fall behind. Tracking down this revenue which is vital to keeping the neighborhood standards in place can be time consuming. An HOA management company can help collect all fees and miscellaneous payments, follow up on the collection of delinquent payments, and deposit that money to the HOA’s account.
5. Supervising Neighborhood Property Guidelines.
While the HOA drafts guidelines for neighborhood property owners, time and staff limitations can keep them from being able to regularly enforce them. A management company can assist in this matter by offering to conduct routine property inspections across the community and detail the results of those inspections. This can help keep the neighborhood more consistent in appearance and prevent the deterioration of property that can sometimes contribute to unstable property values.
6. Providing Industry Knowledge.
Whether it is helping with the bylaws or understanding the provisions of state law that can affect how an HOA operates, management company staff should be well versed in both areas and be able to pass that information along to the board of directors.
7. Tracking Legal Records.
An HOA management company should be willing to be a brick and mortar office retaining important legal documents, association meeting minutes, bank registers, and other pertinent financial records. A reputable company will provide these services at no extra cost.
8. Managing Vendor Relationships.
With all the different working parts of the activities an HOA oversees, there is a constant need for reputable and trustworthy vendors to assist with accomplishing these tasks. This may include a vendor to resurface the pool, do landscaping for the park, or build an outdoor pavilion. The management company can assist with assembling a list of preferred vendors complete with contact information and find cost-effective vendor bids for HOA projects and repairs.
9. Financial Record Keeping.
Most HOAs oversee a number of financial transactions which necessitates thorough and proper record keeping. A management company can assist an HOA with tracking payables and receivables, managing payroll services, developing operating budgets, and composing monthly financial reports.
10. Assist With Financial Planning.
Every HOA has their own annual budget, which they are required to be good stewards of. A management company can help them maximize a budget by helping to form it with capital planning, reserve funds, and asset management in mind. This type of financial planning can help a board to be more confident in their annual budget and overall supervision of operating funds.
Things To Look for In An HOA Management Company
After reading the above, you’ve likely realized that an HOA management company can be instrumental in helping an HOA make their neighborhood and community everything they want it to be. But what are some of the most important things to look for when shopping for the right HOA management company?
- The right fit. Remember, in many ways the management company will be the everyday face of neighborhood leadership. For this reason, it is essential that the company be a natural fit with the community. The primary reason a relationship between an HOA and their management company can become strained is because the company representation is not in line with the feel of the neighborhood they are representing.
- Customer service. The management company will likely be fielding phone calls from residents and possibly even speaking with some of them in person. It is critical that the staff have a warm and friendly disposition as well as the ability to be firm when needed. They must be responsive and respectful in all communication mediums including emails, phone conversations, and written correspondence.
- Experience. The company you choose to represent your HOA should have experience with supporting people and neighborhoods, and the more the better. After representing multiple large communities, management companies generally become more adept at being a better partner and resource.
- Resourcefulness. Look for a company that is willing to help you find a solution to a problem, if they do not already know the answer. Managing a community is a big job that can have many different facets, making the company’s ability to be resourceful a necessity.