The members of your HOA Board serve their community purely on a voluntary basis. While these labors can certainly be fruitful and successful, there comes a time when most associations need to enlist outside assistance, specifically by securing a professional manager who can bring skill, experience, and knowledge of HOA best practices.
It’s crucial to remember that not all HOA management companies are created equal. You’ll want to do your due diligence, comparing a few different vendors and asking the right interview questions before you arrive at your final decision.
Certainly, if your community is based in the Carolinas, we hope you’ll consider Kuester Management Group. We’re a leading name in the HOA field, with decades of experience providing HOA Management in Charlotte NC, Huntersville NC, Myrtle Beach SC, and HOA Management in Fort Mill SC.
In the meantime, we invite you to take stock of some of the core qualities to look for in your chosen HOA management company.
What’s the Process for Selecting an HOA Management Company?
First and foremost, it’s important to remember that this isn’t a decision for your Board to make on the fly. There’s a process to follow, ensuring you’re being careful and methodical about this critical selection. And while that process can look a little different from community to community, it typically follows this basic pattern:
- Form a search committee. Your entire Board shouldn’t be involved in the nitty-gritty details of the selection process. Instead, form a smaller committee of volunteers, including a few Board members but also some members of the community at large.
- Determine your bidding specifications. Before you start your search in earnest, it’s important to know exactly what it is you’re searching for. Set some clear parameters for your budget, and also articulate your expectations for exactly what services you hope to receive.
- Draft a request for proposal. As you start considering specific management companies, you’ll want to have a request for proposal document you can send out, detailing some of the specific services and benefits you’re looking to procure, and offering basic specifications for your community.
- Review proposals. By sending out your request, you should start to receive a few proposals from local HOA management companies. Your search committee should carefully review each one based on your initial bidding specifications, then narrow down the options to maybe three to five potential vendors.
- Conduct interviews. Request a face-to-face interview with a manager from each company on your short list, being sure to ask the right kind of interview questions to size up their skill, experience, customer service ability, and more.
- Get it in writing. Before committing to any specific management company, ask for a full written contract. Carefully review the terms, ideally with your HOA attorney present.
What Should You Look for in an HOA Management Company?
As you go through this process, take stock of the core qualities each potential vendor can offer. Here are a few of the essential traits to look for in your professional management company.
HOA management companies must have subject-matter expertise spanning a number of different areas, including everything from insurance to budgeting, from investment to HOA law. As such, you should always look for a HOA property management company that is licensed and credentialed but also displays an investment in continuous education. Completion of coursework and certification programs through the Community Associations Institute (CAI) or a comparable organization is recommended.
While continuous education is paramount, there’s also be something to be said for real, on-the-ground experience. Look for a HOA property manager who has a proven track record of results on behalf of other clients, backed by years of experience offering effective, strategic HOA management.
When you talk with a community association management company, always ask for testimonials from their current or previous clients, along with references. Size up the level of satisfaction and customer service the company is able to provide. Interviewing Board members or even regular homeowners can be a great way to assess the level of service that’s being offered.
Breadth of Service
Every homeowners association is different, which means your HOA will have some unique needs. Maybe you need help staying on top of maintenance issues and general financial management, or maybe you’re looking for more general support with day-to-day administration. Always ask about the number of services available, ensuring you can get the help you need for your community to succeed.
You’ll need a management company that can assist you with communications, whether that’s sending out emails or helping you resolve disputes with neighbors or fellow Board members. When interviewing an HOA manager, ask about their approach to communication. Also take note of the clarity, candor, and professionalism with which they communicate with you.
Back-end technologies can make the administration of your HOA much more seamless and efficient. Ask your HOA management company about payment portals and other digital solutions that they can help you to implement.
The best HOA management companies will have real enthusiasm for their work, including a palpable zeal for community-building, and pride in their work in other HOAs. Always ask the representative you’re speaking with to spend a little time talking about why they love their work, and maybe even sharing some of their favorite success stories.
If you spend some time with a HOA manager and don’t like the level of customer service they provide you, that’s reason enough to look elsewhere.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the typical cost for an HOA management contract?
The HOA management fees will vary greatly depending on the specific breadth of services you’re looking for. What’s important is to begin the process with clear bidding specifications, allowing your Board to stay on budget and to be clear-eyed about how much you can really afford to spend on your HOA manager.