Fall is that special time of year when the temperatures start to drop and the leaves turn different colors. This fall season is even more special because of the 2012 Presidential Election. All around the nation, citizens will be voting for our county’s next leader. Similarly, many HOA board members will be voting, too. That’s because fall is also the time of year when many HOA management contracts expire and are up for renewal.
Perhaps one of the greatest and most obvious advantages of hiring a professional property manager is access to the wealth of knowledge and experience they have to offer. Property managers with experience can guide a board of directors through their decision-making process and help to make sound business decisions. What’s the level of experience within your community leadership? Perhaps you already have experienced homeowners on your board. If not, you may want to consider the benefits that an experienced property manager can bring to the table.
Management companies are also a big help when it comes to association financials. Budgeting, collecting dues, and working with collections agencies are all part of the management process.
For example, it’s the management company that works to collect funds when a homeowner is delinquent on dues. The management should work together with the board to create a policy on collecting late assessments. Liens and foreclosures often require working with banks and attorneys, another job for the management.
Is your HOA management company adept at association financials? Are their reports accurate and easy to read? If not, take this into consideration. If your association is self-managed, then you will want to assess its financial ability in the same way. Are dues and late fees assessed correctly? Most importantly, is your association allocating adequate funds into reserves? A quality HOA manager will work with reserve specialists and committee members to determine an adequate amount of reserve funding. Without this, what will your association do when it’s time for a major repair or replacement, such as re-paving the roads or replacing roofs?
Staying on top of maintenance issues is a must when managing a planned community. This can prove difficult for larger communities or those with substantial common property. The quality of maintenance is often a benchmark for not only the vendors, but the management as well. That’s because anyone with eyes can determine the physical condition of the community. It can be painfully obvious when maintenance work isn’t done right, or in some cases isn’t done at all. How are maintenance issues handled at your community? Are work orders issued in a timely manner, or does it take weeks to get work completed?
Nearly all professional HOA management companies have a list of preferred vendors that they use on a regular basis. These include landscapers, insurance companies, contractors, and maintenance companies. This means that you don’t have to “take a chance” on hiring a vendor that may not be able to deliver; the management company has already done the screening process for you.
Finally, communication is probably one of the biggest reasons that management contracts are not renewed. When you call your property manager, are your calls returned in a timely manner? Are they returned at all? Does your manager say what they mean, or do they speak in riddles? When it comes to the management of a homeowners or condo association, communication is key. A quality management company will always strive to keep an open line of communication with its clients.
Hopefully this will give you some insight into what constitutes a truly professional HOA management company. All of the companies within the HOA Management (.com) directory have been proven to be effective leaders and are trusted by their communities. A quality property manager must have a good sense of humor and maintain a positive outlook in order to succeed in this industry. Though no property manager or management company is perfect or without fault, a dependable HOA manager is worth their weight in gold to their community’s leaders and residents.
This article is provided by HOA Management (.com).