Should your Community Association be Self-Managed or Professionally Managed
If you're an HOA Board member, one of the biggest decisions you face is whether you should hire a full-time professional management company to run your community. Maybe you don't realize what a professional management company can do for your community, so you're not quite sure which direction to take. If you are currently self managed or are considering self management, here is a quick quiz with questions from CAI and some of our leading industry experts about the basics of community association management.
The Benefits of Professional Management
1. Staying Compliant with the Law
One of the main perks of hiring a professional company to run your HOA is not having to worry about staying compliant with the laws. Often, board members think they're complia, but they aren't, without even knowing it.
A common example is posting a sign at a swimming pool regarding hours for adults-only to swim, which is against the law. A professional HOA manager can solve this issue by setting aside a specific time for lap swimming. Consider how this generally doesn't appeal to most younger kids.
2. Better Transparency
A huge benefit of hiring a professional management firm is that it can provide improved clarity for your community. A full-time professional management company can present the HOA regulations and rules to homeowners in a clear way so that there's no confusion.
Sometimes, HOAs have controlling Board members who think there's no other way to do things other than their way. This can made it hard for other people to stand up to these people. As a result, there can be no accountability.
4. Better Efficiency
Although volunteer board members may devote a lot of time in managing an HOA and have the best intentions, they still may not know what needs to be done or what to do in certain situations. This can lead to an association being run inefficiently.
5. Best Selection of Subcontractors
Large management companies usually have ties with subcontractors in maintenance fields. These subcontractors have given them a considerable amount of business. A management company knows the most experienced and highly qualified subcontractors who have a proven track record for delivering high quality service.
What's more, a full-time management company knows how to get the best price for the best subcontractors. Consider how professional management companies help in managing vendors so that disputes don't intensify.
6. Lawsuit Protection
Failing to have the correct insurance coverage can put your HOA at risk for potential lawsuits. Sometimes, an Association does have insurance but not enough. A professional management company knows just the right amount and type of insurance your Association needs as well as the insurances companies that are reputable and the ones that are not.
7. Industry Knowledge
Moreover, a professional management company knows about real estate legal matters. If you're not familiar with terms, such as easements, acquisitions and recalls, you should hire a full-time professional. For example, a management company will know what to do when you must file a lien. If they don't know exactly what to do, they can refer you to a lawyer.
8. Neutrality in Administering Board Policy
A professional management company doesn't take sides or have a personal agenda when it comes to applying Board policies. In other words, because they run an HOA as a business, every homeowner is treated fairly.
- Your board is still accountable and responsible for HOA management policy even if you hire a professional management company.
- The size of your community is an important factor when deciding to change from a self-managed organization to a professionally managed one.
- Having 50 or fewer homes may not warrant hiring a professional management company. On the other hand, a community with more condos or homes can be overwhelming, so it may be best to hire a professional.
- If you don't feel comfortable dealing with homeowner requests and violations, it's a good idea to hire a management company.
- Board members of HOAs that are self-managed can feel as if they're always required to stop and answer questions from homeowners who bump into them on the street. A professional management company gives you a buffer between you and homeowners, which makes for good neighbor relationships.
For more information on how a professional management company can help you, contact us.