A lot of HOA management companies are available to California communities, but how do you choose one?
The right HOA management partner will make a positive difference in your community. You’ll find that systems are automated and efficient, homeowners have somewhere to turn when they need help, and the board has a lot of time freed up for making long term plans and important decisions.
When you’re finding the best HOA management company for your community, you need:
- A team that understands your association’s unique needs.
- Experience that leads to better decisions and advice.
- Expertise in governing documents, enforcements, and federal, state, and local laws.
- Relationships that are based on trust and respect.
You’re looking for a management partner that will help you reach your goals as a community and an HOA board.
Here’s what we recommend when you launch your search.
Administrative and Logistics Support for your HOA
You’ll need detailed and organized administrative services from your HOA. Look for a company that can demonstrate their experience responding to homeowners, helping with financial administration, and providing regular management reports.
Homeowner relationships are especially important. Look for a management company with a good reputation for responding to homeowner concerns, mediating disputes between homeowners and acting as a liaison between homeowners and board members.
Budgeting and Reserve Studies
Budgeting is one of the most important functions that an HOA board provides. You’ll need a management partner with experience taking care of financial reports, setting and following budgets, and being a good financial steward.
Look for technology to support income and expense statements as well as budgets. You’ll need to present a budget to your homeowners every year, and you want to make sure you can defend and explain what was spent and why.
Reserves are increasingly important to HOAs, especially as costs continue to rise. You’ll need a management partner who understands how a reserve study can help your HOA. This is a best practice for California HOAs, and a good HOA management company will have a process in place to make getting an updated reserve study in place a smooth experience.
Vendor Relationships are Beneficial
One of the best reasons to work with an HOA management company is to leverage their relationships with vendors and contractors. You’ll need landscapers, pest control providers, HVAC technicians, roofers, plumbers, and many other vendors to take care of your community. Property managers often have long-standing relationships in place. You won’t have to spend weeks and months collecting and reviewing bids. You won’t have to wait for a vendor to find time in their schedule to meet your needs. You can rely on the professionals that your management company works with to take care of emergency repairs, routine maintenance, and preventative services.
If you’ve ever made a mistake hiring the wrong vendor, you know how important this is. Fraud, inadequate insurance coverage, and sub-par work are just some of the risks associated with selecting an unqualified vendor who isn’t putting the needs of your community first.
Collections and Assessments
The right HOA management company will have experience and systems in place for collecting assessment revenue and past due accounts.
This is a major issue for a lot of HOAs, and it’s a problem. If you cannot collect the money owed by your homeowners, you cannot continue to pay your bills.
Make sure you’re working with a team that understands the legal process of collecting dues, assessments, and penalties. You want to see an effective process for dealing with delinquent homeowners and bringing them into compliance.
Communication and Meeting Management
Talk about your expectations when it comes to communication before you hire an HOA management company. You need to know how communication will be structured and prioritized between the management company, board members, and the HOA’s members. Good communication impacts:
- The enforcement of governing documents
- The disseminating of information
- Hiring and supervising vendors
- Changes in the community that need to be shared
- Annual meetings and outcomes
Look for an HOA management company that’s responsive, committed to online and digital communication, and willing to take the lead on keeping your homeowners informed.
When it comes to managing your annual meetings, it will help to have a management partner who is willing to assist with setting and sharing the agenda, distributing minutes, and tracking the action items that are assigned during the meeting. It would be superb if you had a management company that could increase attendance and participation at these meetings.
Is Virtual HOA Management Offered?
Finally, consider whether you want full-service, on-site management, or whether your community would respond well to virtual HOA management.
If you’d like to keep much of your association management in-house with the board of directors, you might not need a full-service management team on-site. Sometimes, a virtual property manager will be just as effective for you. It will also save you a lot of money, which is why many associations ultimately decide to work with virtual property managers.
Having this option is important, and you may not find a lot of HOA management companies that provide it. With virtual management, you retain more control, you don’t have a management team physically present in your community, and you communicate mostly online with your property managers. It also costs less than full-service management.
As you continue searching for the right HOA management partner for your association, we’d be happy to support you in finding a good fit. We’d also appreciate the opportunity to talk about our unique services and our ability to provide high-quality HOA support.
Contact us at Hill & Co. so we can tell you more about the HOA services we provide in California for HOA boards and community associations just like yours. We can deliver full-service management or virtual management if you’re looking for something more flexible and cost-effective.