When interviewing an association property manager, the first question HOA board members usually ask is, "So what will this cost?" While your association's budget is essential, looking at a price tag out of context will likely set you up with a manager that won't be the right fit. A better approach is to think of hiring an HOA manager as an investment over time, comparing costs to the value you may get and the overall long-term impact you want to see on your community.
The first step to clearly assessing value is to determine the specific services you need.. Let’s unpack what an HOA property manager can do for your organization.
As you navigate the crucial task of selecting a property management solution for your HOA, explore various options tailored to your community's specific needs. Consider three primary types of property management: full service, remote, and consulting.
Full-service management provides comprehensive support, handling day-to-day operations, financial matters, and maintenance tasks.
Remote management offers flexibility with online tools and remote communication while consulting services provide expert guidance and support to your existing board.
Consulting management focuses on strategic planning, decision-making, and optimizing property management processes. With consulting management, you can tap into industry expertise to enhance operational efficiency, streamline workflows, and implement best practices tailored to your property management needs.
When evaluating potential managers, look for essential skills such as effective communication, financial expertise, and knowledge of local regulations. Moreover, take a moment to ponder whether a specific task truly requires direct board involvement or could be handled solely by a skilled HOA manager. Making an informed decision ensures that your community thrives under capable leadership.
Gauging the cost of hiring a manager can be tricky. How much property managers charge the HOA depends on the community's size and the extent of their responsibilities. When interviewing multiple association managers, an easy way to compare HOA property management fees may be on a cost-per-unit measurement.
Generally, there are no set fees, and typical HOA fees vary widely from company to company. However, for some activities, HOA property management fees may be regulated to some extent by state laws, allowing your association to look up the limits.
Some firms offer different combinations of services or may allow HOAs to select from the list of their offerings to determine what functions a property manager will perform. The choices made may depend on how active the HOA and community are, the size of the community, and the level of knowledge and experience the HOA members have.
Here are the top three types of typical HOA property management fees:
When searching for the perfect HOA manager, there are certain skills you want to look out for. Understanding the scope of these services and the typical HOA fees is essential for making informed decisions regarding your HOA's financial planning and operations.
One of the primary responsibilities of an HOA manager is to handle accounting and financial advising services. This includes tasks such as bookkeeping, budget planning, and financial reporting. The manager may suggest how much to budget for future costs, anticipate maintenance needs for common properties, and provide guidance on finding reputable contractors. For example, they can help with estimating the budget for regular repairs, landscaping services, or improvements to community amenities.
HOA managers play a vital role in overseeing collection actions. Their professionalism and impartiality as non-residents of the community can be beneficial in handling delicate matters such as preparing notices of delinquent assessments or enforcing late fees. For instance, part of their role may include communicating with homeowners regarding outstanding payments, and initiating necessary legal actions if needed—a delicate task that benefits greatly from the expertise of an association manager.
Enforcing community rules is another responsibility well-suited for HOA managers. They act as mediators and enforcers of the HOA's governing documents. This can include addressing violations, issuing warnings or fines, and ensuring compliance with architectural guidelines. For example, the manager will often handle situations like towing improperly parked vehicles or removing items left on common property violating the rules.
HOA managers often deal with insurance-related matters on behalf of the association. While this is not a regularly required activity, it is crucial to have someone knowledgeable handling insurance claims when needed. For instance, if the community experiences damage due to a natural disaster, the manager can guide the board through the insurance claim process, coordinate with adjusters, and ensure the HOA receives appropriate coverage.
Many HOAs have regular communication channels with residents, such as newsletters or community updates. Property managers can create and distribute these documents on behalf of the HOA. They can take care of content creation, design, printing, and related costs. Newsletters can be a valuable tool for sharing important community information, upcoming events, and policy reminders.
When it comes to property maintenance, HOA managers often oversee contractors hired to perform various tasks. They act as the point of contact, ensuring the work is completed satisfactorily, within budget, and according to the agreed-upon timeline. For example, if the HOA decides to repaint the community clubhouse or repair a pool, the manager will coordinate with contractors, obtain competitive bids, and oversee the project's progress.
When comparing prices, it's essential to consider the services offered by different companies rather than solely focusing on the price. Remember that the cheapest option may not always provide the necessary value. Hiring the right HOA property manager is an investment that can save time and provide peace of mind knowing professionals oversee and guide your HOA's operations.