Some common strategies exist for HOAs to get the most from their management efforts. However, a look at the typical association structure will help provide a helpful foundation.
The Players in HOA Community Management
A common organizational structure starts with the HOA’s board of directors. Elected or assigned from among the homeowners, this group’s responsibilities commonly involve maintaining the community facilities, ensuring rules are being followed, encouraging member participation, communicating important HOA information to members, and, most importantly, making sure the community is on track to accomplish its goals. The ultimate responsibility of any board of directors is to make the neighborhood a desirable place to live for everyone who chooses to live there.
Homeowners within a HOA are referred to as the “members” of the association. They fall under the leadership of the board of directors. Obviously, this group makes up the largest constituency within the neighborhood and has the biggest voice in HOA community management.
HOA property management companies are outside firms that the association hires to assist with HOA community management activities. The scope of work the HOA management company does depends on a number of factors. Examples of projects assigned to a management company might include dues collections, vendor management, HOA community management projects, plus a variety of homeowner communications and interactions.
Successful Strategies for HOA Community Management
The best strategy most HOAs can deploy is to bring professional skills on board. Although board members may consist of professionals, few will have the time necessary to devote to properly managing every aspect of the community. Remember, every homeowner working on behalf of the HOA is a volunteer. Many will have jobs outside their work with the HOA.
In addition, board members are elected or assigned every year. Although the HOA can be assured the board will have a vested interest in the community’s success, it may not always have the skills needed for proficient HOA community management.
A HOA property management company also brings special expertise to the table. With specialists on staff, these companies can help with a wide variety of projects in finance, accounting, marketing, human resources, legal matters and more. Many companies are well qualified to share a host of skills ranging from problem-solving, goal-setting, communication, negotiating, organization and more.
In addition, independent HOA community management companies are routinely paid based on parameters established in their contract. The board of directors and members of the HOA establish the specific performance guidelines for the management company.
Another proven strategy is to have a HOA property management company participate in the budgeting process with the board of directors. This participation helps ensure any amounts listed within the budget aren’t inflated or undercut. By avoiding miscalculations from the beginning, the HOA can avoid serious funding issues that can adversely affect operations. These types of problems will often lead to major breakdowns between members and the board of directors.
Whether the HOA community management company supervises the board or assists with HOA management, it can play a valuable role in building a strong neighborhood that meets every member’s expectations.