To Self-Manage or Not? How to Get the Best Out of Your Buck

Posted on Thursday July 10, 2014 |

It has been said that some self-managed homeowner associations believe they can’t afford to hire a professional HOA management company to help manage their community’s operations, assets, finances, common areas and other day-to-day functions. Truth be told, as you’ll learn in this article, a professional HOA management company is one thing many communities can’t afford to be without.

What Kind of Service Does Your HOA Expect?

Receiving exceptional community management service that is effective while cost efficient requires 24/7 attention, knowledge, experience and, most importantly, action. Some HOA management companies will provide great service but with limitation. You need to make ensure that you are paying for great service that is all-encompassing of pertinent HOA management areas, such as operations and administration, maintenance, finance, collections, compliance, community activities, support and more.

In self-managed communities, these critical HOA management responsibilities are handled by board members, which are almost always volunteer homeowners. If board members have sufficient experience, knowledge, support and time to successfully fulfill these duties, property values within that community will remain strong and the association will thrive. However, there are many situations with the operations of an HOA in which a professional HOA management company can provide value-added tools and benefits for communities by teaming up with board members.

The Proper Experience Can Increase Your Property Values

A full-service HOA management company can increase your property’s value by closely managing operations, maintenance, finance, accounting, collections, insurance, contract negotiation, landscaping, staffing and compliance with ever-changing federal, state and local legislation.

The strongest HOA management companies have extensive experience managing residential units of all sizes and types. From single-family to condominiums, from developer controlled to high-rise developments, they will possess deep expertise, skills, knowledge, and best practices in this broad range of areas.

With years of service in the industry, these professional companies build strong relationships, develop a circle of certified vendors and partners, and continuously evolve new and tailored products, services and tools designed to maximize property values and enhance the quality of life for homeowners. The right HOA management company will assist in reviewing your budget and utilize these relationships to negotiate costs for property maintenance and improvements, saving your community money and achieving its goals sooner.

Help You Accomplish More in Less Time

A board member’s time is valuable – it should be invested wisely. Between calls, complaints, and routine maintenance issues, responsive management can easily consume all of the board’s time. Having a professional HOA management company who can provide full-time assistance, including a community manager, community associate, executive and regional support, maintenance staff and more to deliver responsive service is very beneficial to the success of an admirable association. The level of personal service and relationship building is what truly distinguishes the best HOA management services.

As an additional benefit, some of the top HOA management companies accompany their full-service management with exclusive value added services available only to their managed communities. For example, at FirstService Residential, North America’s leading HOA management company, a full menu of exclusive services are offered, such as preferred banking, lending and insurance services, along with advanced technology and combined buying programs, which ensure clients receive the highest quality and lowest prices for third-party vendor services.

In fact, in many cases, the cost savings and added value received from these services outweigh the company’s management fees.

Sure, Everyday Issues Are Covered – But What Happens in a Major Emergency?

The best HOA management company should not only handle everyday tasks attentively and proactively – they should have a comprehensive emergency plan in place to handle major events, such as a storm, fire or other disruption. Unforeseen emergencies and natural disasters can cause multiple units to suddenly require more intensive attention which take much more time and energy than your board members may have, especially if they themselves are affected.

For communities that are self-managed, just one major event can severely strain the budget with after-hours service calls and replacement cost for damaged fixtures and equipment. Having an HOA management company that can execute your emergency plan immediately will help your community be better prepared for such an event.

Is Your HOA Protected from Legal Issues?

Busy board members may not have sufficient time to dedicate to thoroughly understand their community’s covenants and the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) that govern associations. If your community chooses to be self-managed, you will want to make sure that your board has a thorough education in community association management to ensure you are complying with all federal, state and local laws. For example, will you know what documents and how often you need to file with the State? What about a reserve study or financial audit?
In addition, if board members make critical errors or omissions, not only may individual property values suffer, but board members and homeowners may also be at risk for personal liability. Do you carry D&O (Directors and Officers) or crime insurance? If you are not sure of any of the above, then you may benefit from the service of a professional HOA management company.

Don’t Lose Control of Your Community

The right HOA management company will have all of the major resources you need, with qualified community managers and vendor relationships that you can trust and count on. They will provide a tailored, full-service management solution and exceptional service and support for your board members, while adding value to your community and enhancing the quality of life for your residents.

One thing to always remember, HOA management companies work under the direction of the association’s board, and do not make the rules or enter into legally binding contracts on its behalf. HOA management companies are hired to enforce the directives they have set in accordance with the community’s governing documents and federal and state laws.

In other words, the HOA management company with the best service understands that your board members know what they are doing, and will work to ensure your community is run the way you want it to be.

Self-Management or Professional Management?

So, should your community association self-manage or hire a professional management company?

If you feel that your board could use some help to effectively protect the value and enhance the quality of life for your community, a professional HOA management company is likely to be the best investment you can make.

Fill out this form to see what great service and support FirstService Residential can provide your community today!

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