How to Successfully Change Your HOA Management Company
Homeowners Association (HOA) management companies handle a community's day-to-day operations. Their services generally include maintaining common areas, managing financials, and enforcing rules and regulations. Though, the level of service provided is not always created equal and may not satisfy the needs of the community, residents, or Board. Sometimes, the Board is faced with the task of switching HOA management companies, whether due to poor communication, lack of transparency, or simply a change in priorities or needs of the homeowner's association.
In this article, we'll discuss the main reasons it may be time to change HOA management companies and provide a step-by-step guide on making the transition as smooth as possible.
Evaluate Your Current HOA Management Company
Before changing your HOA management company, evaluating your current one is essential by assessing their performance and identifying any areas of concern. This evaluation will help you determine if a change in management companies may be warranted and what qualities to look for in a new professional hoa management company.
Signs You Need a New HOA Management Company
Below are some typical reasons Boards may start to conduct a new management search.
Lack of Communication
A lack of communication is among the most significant indicator of poor HOA management. If the management company is not responding to emails, phone calls, or other requests for information, it can be very frustrating for homeowners and for you as Board member. Is your current company responsive to your inquiries and concerns? Do they keep you informed of important updates and changes?
Technology is essential to streamline processes and improve efficiency. Your HOA management company should offer a user-friendly and comprehensive online portal, such as a mobile app, to make it easy for Board members and residents to access important HOA information and pay dues. It may be time to switch if your current management contract or company isn’t invested in advancing technology.
Another indicator of poor HOA management is poor record-keeping. If the management company is not keeping accurate financial records or failing to document important information related to the HOA, it can not only be difficult for the Board or homeowners to make informed decisions but also create distrust in the management company or harm the association financially.
Failure to Enforce Rules
If the management company is not enforcing the rules and regulations of the HOA, it can lead to disruption and dissatisfaction among homeowners. A lack of enforcement can also lead to legal implications for the HOA.
If the management company is not adequately overseeing the maintenance of the common areas of the HOA or responding promptly to repair requests, it may lead to safety hazards and lower property values.
Lack of Transparency
If the management company is not transparent about its fees, services, or other vital information, it can build distrust and a lack of accountability. Are they open and honest about their processes and fees, or do they have hidden costs? Do they provide detailed and accurate financial reports?
Quality of Service
If the management company is not delivering quality services to your community association, it is likely time to start looking at other options. Are you satisfied with the quality of service your community association is currently receiving?
Know What Your HOA Needs
Before you begin your search for a new HOA management company, you must clearly understand your association's unique needs. Some of the things you should consider include the following:
- Community Size: The size of your community will impact the services you need from a management company. A larger community may require more frequent maintenance, implementation of community staff, and a higher level of financial management, while a smaller community may need less support.
- Priorities: What are your community's top priorities? Is it maintaining common areas, enforcing rules and regulations, or ensuring financial stability?
- Budget: Your community's budget will also impact the services you need from a management company. Consider how much you can afford to spend on management fees and ensure the service provider can deliver the necessary services within your budget.
- Expertise: Finally, consider the specific expertise your community needs from a management company and HOA manager. For example, if your community has a lot of landscaping and outdoor maintenance needs, you should find a management company with expertise in those areas.
Research and Find Potential HOA Management Companies
Once you've identified the reasons for changing your HOA management company, it's time to research and find potential companies. A thorough online search and referrals from other HOA members can help you find the right company.
Qualities to Look for When Switching HOA Management Companies
Experience and Expertise
One of the most critical factors to consider when choosing a new management company is their experience and expertise. You want to choose a company with a proven track record of successfully managing similar properties. At AAM, we have decades of experience managing various properties, including single-family homes, master-planned, lifestyle, and condominiums. Questions to ask, how long have they been in business? Do they have experience managing communities similar to yours?
Another essential factor to consider when selecting an HOA management company is its range of services. A good HOA management company should offer a wide range of services to cover all aspects of your community. Some services to look for include financial management, administrative support, and vendor management. Additionally, the company should clearly outline its service offerings, so you can determine if they meet your community's unique needs. Questions to ask, do they offer the specific services your community needs? How do their fees compare to your current management company? Are there any hidden fees or charges you should be aware of?
Another essential factor to consider when choosing an HOA management company is its customer service. Your management company will be working closely with your homeowners, so you want to make sure that they have a reputation for excellent customer service. At AAM, we pride ourselves on providing exceptional customer service to our clients. We understand that every association has different needs, and we work closely with our clients to meet their needs.
Professionalism and Communication
Selecting an HOA management company with high professionalism and strong communication skills is crucial. You want to choose a management company that is responsive and proactive when it comes to communication. At AAM, we have an open-door policy, and we encourage our clients to reach out to us with any questions or concerns they may have. Our Client Relations division, and regional leadership teams, respond to HOA Board member concerns to endure quick and diplomatic resolutions. We also provide regular communication through newsletters, email updates, and meetings.
Managing finances is one of the most critical aspects of HOA management. You want to choose a management company with a reputation for excellent financial management. At AAM, we have a team of experienced accountants dedicated to managing your association's finances. We provide regular and accurate financial reports and work closely with clients to create budgets and financial plans.
With the ever-evolving technological landscape, selecting an HOA management company that is up to date with the latest technology is essential. At AAM, we use state-of-the-art software to manage all aspects of HOA management, from accounting to communication. Our online portal and mobile app allow homeowners to access important information and make payments online, making the process more convenient for everyone.
Considering the above factors, you can make an informed decision ensuring your community is well-managed, efficiently run, and highly functional.
Contact Potential HOA Management Companies and Request Proposals
Once you have a list of potential companies, it's time to contact them and request proposals. Ask for a detailed proposal outlining their services, fees, and additional costs. Ensure the proposal clearly describes the company's experience, credentials, and references. We have an article: HOA RFP Specifications that can aid HOA Board Members in preparing an RFP.
Once you've identified a management company you would like to work with, you must communicate your needs and expectations. This is the time to ask questions about their services, fees, and processes. You should also be clear about your community's priorities and any specific needs you have. Some of the things you should discuss with the potential management companies include the following:
Scope of services
What services will they provide? Will they handle financial management, maintenance, association records, and rule enforcement?
What are their fees, and how do they compare to your current management provider? This can be tricky, be aware of LOW management fees; it's, unfortunately, a common practice for HOA management companies to pad other costs such as envelopes, printing, and mailing to make up the difference. Make sure you are thorough when reviewing fees.
AAM has a significant cost comparison resource we can provide to Board members to make this task easier. Contact cchandler@AssociatedAsset.com for your free copy.
How will they communicate with the Board and homeowners? Will they provide regular updates and reports?
What are their expectations for the Board and homeowners? What are your expectations of them? It is always a good idea to conduct a walk-through of the community with potential service providers.
It is also essential to check if the management company is licensed, insured, and accredited by industry associations. This accreditation ensures that the management company adheres to the best practices in the industry and maintains high levels of professionalism.
Communicating with the new HOA management company ensures everyone is on the same page and the transition is as smooth as possible.
Notify Your Current HOA Management Company
After selecting your new HOA management company, you must notify your current company. Please provide them with written notice of your decision to terminate their services. Ensure that you follow the termination procedures outlined in your current management contract.
Prepare for the Transition
Once you've chosen a new HOA management company, preparing for the transition is important. This will help ensure the switch is as smooth as possible and your community's needs are met. Some of the things you should consider include the following:
Communicate the Change
Be sure to communicate the change to all homeowners in your community. Provide information on the new management provider, its services, and what homeowners can expect during the transition.
Organize Important Documents
Organize and transfer all important documents and information to the new HOA management company. This may include financial statements, contracts, governing documents, and other relevant information.
Coordinate with the Current HOA Management Company
Work with your current HOA management company to ensure a smooth transition. Please provide them with any necessary information and ensure no outstanding issues need to be resolved before the transition.
Establish a Transition Timeline
Work with the new company to establish a transition timeline. This should include key dates for the transfer of documents, the start date for the new company's services, and any other important milestones.
Conduct a Walk-Through
Schedule another walk-through of the community with the new Community Manager. This will allow them to become familiar with the community and any maintenance needs.
By preparing for the transition, you can ensure that your community's needs are met during the process and that the new management provider can hit the ground running once its services begin.
Monitor the Transition
Monitoring the new HOA management company's performance is essential during the transition. Ensure that they're following the contract and providing quality services. Regular communication with the new company will help identify issues and help with a smooth transition.
Board members often need help with decisions that require implementing changes in a way that doesn't disrupt the association. Switching to a new HOA management company is one of those decisions. It can be incredibly challenging if the Board has no experience with transitioning or has had a negative experience in the past. However, by choosing a management company with a dedicated team focused on streamlining the onboarding process, you can be confident that the transition will be smooth, professional, and respectful to your community and its residents.
At AAM, we understand the importance of a seamless transition when switching HOA management companies. That's why we have a dedicated Transition Team to ensure the process runs smoothly from day one. Our team follows a well-defined transition plan, which sets clear benchmarks for task completion at 30, 60, 90, and 120-day intervals, tailored to the size and needs of the community. With the help of advanced technology and effective communication, our experienced team can assume the association's management without causing disruptions to the community's daily operations. We are committed to providing excellent customer service and financial management to the residents right from the start.
Some of the things a Board should consider during the transition process:
Establish regular communication with the new Manager throughout the transition. This will help you stay informed of any issues or challenges and ensure the transition is on track.
Keep a close eye on the community's financials during the transition. Make sure that all financial information has been transferred to the new management company and that there are no discrepancies or issues with billing.
Review Maintenance Reports
Review maintenance reports to ensure your community management company properly maintains the community. This includes things like landscaping, building maintenance, and repairs.
Address Any Issues Promptly
If you identify any issues during the transition, address them promptly. This will help ensure that the transition stays on track and that your community's needs are being met.
By monitoring the transition to the new community management company, you can ensure that the process is successful and that your community's needs are met. This will help ensure a stress-free transition and a successful long-term relationship with the new management company.
Changing your HOA management company can be a daunting process, but with proper preparation, it can be a smooth and successful transition. By communicating the change, organizing important documents, coordinating with the current management company, establishing a transition timeline, and conducting a walk-through, you can ensure that the new management company is prepared to meet your community's needs from day one.
If you're an HOA Board Member considering changing your community's management company, consider AAM HOA Management. With decades of experience managing communities of all sizes, AAM has the expertise and resources to provide your community with the highest level of service. We understand that each community is unique, and we work closely with our clients to provide customized services that meet their needs. With a focus on communication, transparency, and quality service, AAM is committed to delivering our clients the highest level of satisfaction. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your community thrive with our top-tier HOA management services.