An HOA board’s workload is immense. Responsible for managing an entire community and ensuring that dues are paid and projects completed in a timely manner, it can often feel like your job is never done.
Even for smaller communities, you may find that seeking the services of an HOA management company to lighten the load makes sense.
Finding the right HOA management company for a smaller association’s needs can take work, but examining what a good company can do for you and your association can help you determine if it makes sense to partner with a third party.
See below for our tips on what to look for in a management company:
A quality management company should provide significant professional support
When working with an HOA management advisor, boards should never feel alone. They should give you a manager who is dedicated to offering project support at every level of your community’s projects, whether large or small.
The primary benefit of having a management company is so that you can take a more hands-off approach to administrative functions; if you find yourself constantly having to find vendors, or check to see that work is being done, then that’s not the right company for you.
A good company will also support their advisors’ work by ensuring they have a solid vendor management system designed to weed out vendors who are less likely to perform a quality job or are not properly insured. As a board member, picking the right bid should be fast and easy – because your advisor has already done the legwork ahead of time.
The smaller a community is, the more important it is that advisors work to find cost-effective solutions and service providers for a community’s needs. Doing so may take some creativity, but if you’re talking with a company and they seem reluctant to share technology-based solutions, like electronic meetings, efficient communication tools, or forms to help process homeowners requests more quickly, that might be a signal you would be better off partnering with another company. Technology-based solutions are often time-saving solutions, too, and as a busy volunteer, you deserve all the free time you can get.
Professional support should come in more forms than specific tools and project management, though. One of the biggest values that a management company can provide you and your association is professional financial support. The best financial support should come in two forms: risk management support and insurance support.
Having a company that helps mitigate your risk is crucial. Your manager and their team should work with you to actively plan to avoid potential problems. They should also aid you in making sure you follow all rules and regulations.
An important element of risk management is making sure your association is properly ensured. Your HOA management company should pair you with a manager who is well-versed in insurance lingo and, more importantly, knows how to find insurance that’s HOA specific (most associations end up with boilerplate insurance that does not match with the HOA’s true insurance needs).
Finally, an important element of professional support is providing educational resources designed to help board members solve daily challenges and implement long-term plans for their community. Sometimes you have questions, and it’s just easier to look yourself for answers that address your challenges. The right HOA management advisor will know what to tools to send you that will make looking up your information a breeze.
A quality management company and advisor should offer a robust service package
You work hard for your community and spend a lot of your free time making things easier for your neighbors. A management company should recognize your time investment and be committed to giving you some of your time back. So, what are some services that all HOAs should offer?
A robust site management strategy should be an HOA management company’s primary service offering. Homeowners like living in an HOA because HOAs protect property values; moreover, having to check the HOA’s properties regularly is a job that would otherwise fall to busy board members.
To wow your community’s members and visitors, you want a company that will engage in regular site inspections on a monthly basis. On the administrative side of site management, ask any companies you’re considering partnering with to show you their system for tracking and managing violations for board members.
Ultimately, ensuring that the common areas and homes within your community are following your CC&Rs is the best way to protect property values, and the management company you partner with is the greatest asset in your fight for real estate prominence.
A good HOA management company will also offer basic financial management services. When associations have the right financial tools, board members can feel confident in their financial decisions.
You should expect regular accounting and posting of financial records. Billing services will also go a long way to adding time back to your schedule.
Finally, even in small communities, homeowners buy and sell property all the time. When an individual buys a property inside an HOA, certain documents are often required. Instead of the board members having to keep the documents organized and produce them when necessary, an HOA management company should aid the board by producing the documents for real estate transitions.
While smaller communities are going to need fewer services than larger communities, the right HOA management company will still work hard to ensure your community operates smoothly in the background.
An HOA management company that is dedicated to being your partner will provide many tools and resources to make your job easier
When you’re managing a small community, there are likely going to be some items that the board members will have to complete themselves. A good management company will recognize your needs and create tools designed to make your job easier and faster.
When looking at the tools your prospective management company is offering, see how technologically they are. Companies committed to bringing their customers the very best services will reflect that in their tool offerings. Board members and homeowners do most things on their phone and prize the feeling of self-sufficiency, and we think that’s a good rule of thumb when looking at a company’s tools: most tools should be self-service and be mobile phone friendly.
One technology-based tool in particular that management companies should offer is a custom app. Homeowners should have a place they can go to easily reach the information they need. An app can provide all the services and information you and your homeowners need from the comfort of your pocket.
Quality management companies will also provide their partners with tools that help them run effective board meetings. Tools should include access to a knowledgebase that will help them answer homeowner questions quickly during meetings, educational material that helps board members know the legalities of holding a board meeting, a platform for hosting electronic meetings, and a way to notice homeowners of upcoming meetings.
Other board member tools great management companies offer to include a way to view and make decisions about violations and aging reports quickly easily and a messaging center where you can receive and answer homeowner questions and concerns without giving away your private information.
Finally, management companies committed to bringing excellent service to their board members will keep quality digital records of financials, meeting notices, and other important information so that board members don’t have to worry about it.
Consider partnering with a management company that has a great system for submitting and managing homeowner improvement requests
Improvement request services are one of the most important services a management company can offer, and they represent a huge load to the ACC – who are often board members – when there isn’t a system in place to easily manage the incoming requests.
Here at JellyBird, we know we have what it takes to bring great professional support, an awesome service package, state-of-the-art tools, and an industry-leading improvement request service. If you’re looking for a management company to partner with and wonder if we might be a good fit, go here to get a bid and talk with someone today!
Also, visit Boardline Academy for more tips on how to be the best HOA Board Member you can be.