Expert community management is a critical part of any home owners association (HOA). Although volunteer board members are necessary and must participate in the HOA, an outsourced management company can provide real value. However, you need to make the right selection and then manage the relationship properly.
The following tips can help you protect your HOA and build a positive relationship with your HOA management company.
- Understand exactly what you need done for effective community management. In other words, what can the HOA management company do for you? The range of services from one HOA management company to another can vary greatly.
You may not need everything a company recommends, like complete community management and a full menu of services. Maybe your HOA just needs occasional project management for special assessments or helping in a bid process for a major investment. Or, your HOA may want a full-service provider to alleviate the burden on the volunteer board members.
- Consider a shorter contract term for a new HOA management company. Even if you were extremely diligent during the selection process and are convinced you made the right decision, still consider a shorter-term contract for community management. This arrangement will benefit both parties to make sure the relationship is mutually-beneficial. If all works well, you can renew for longer periods of time.
It’s important to note a significant amount of work is required to bring a new HOA management company on board. If you decide to sever a relationship shortly after it begins, the HOA may be subjected to additional start-up costs. Therefore, a one-year contract versus a three-year contract may be more beneficial. During that time, you can determine whether the management company you selected will meet your requirements for the long term.
- Develop a comprehensive contract. Even if your initial engagement is for a shorter period of time, don’t skimp on the contract review and finalization process. Everything you want your HOA management company to do regarding your community management must be spelled-out in writing.
Every service needs to be listed and all fees identified. You also need to highlight exclusions. In other words, what won’t your vendor do? Frequency of all services performance should be outlined as well. In addition, termination terms are important to clarify for both parties.
Finally, document when services are due. For example, if you need financial reports by a certain date, make sure you include that deadline requirement in your contract.
- Identify roles for community management functions. Who will HOA members call with issues? What issues go to board members and what issues should be addressed with the HOA management company? Clearly identifying roles and responsibilities can help create a positive working relationship. Communicating these roles to the HOA members after clarified will avoid confusion and promote operating efficiency.
AAM brings an entire team of proven professionals to your community management. We become fully vested in each and every community we manage.