Step 1: Define Your HOA’s Needs
Thoroughly evaluating your HOA’s needs and priorities is the critical first step toward choosing the right management company. You want to match the provider’s service offerings and strengths to the must-have support your community requires.
Carefully consider and document:
Size of Community
- Total number of homes/units in the association
- Approximate number of residents
- Average home value range
- Any planned expansion if still developing
This helps match you with a management company that has experience with communities of your scale. They should have adequate staffing and infrastructure to meet service demands.
Amenities to Maintain
- Clubhouse, pools, tennis courts, dog parks and other recreational facilities
- Gated entries and perimeter fencing
- Ponds, lakes, or water features
- Playgrounds, parks, fields, common green spaces
- Roads, sidewalks, signage, lighting, landscaping
The more physical common assets your HOA must manage, the more maintenance coordination support you’ll need from a management provider.
Service Priorities and Pain Points
- Are assessment collections a struggle? Seek strong financial management.
- Is overgrown landscaping drawing complaints? Find support to bolster grounds care.
- Do you need help enforcing parking restrictions? Ensure rules enforcement is available.
Document the specific areas that need the most oversight where a partner could provide relief and improve homeowner satisfaction. State these priority needs upfront when interviewing.
Scope of Management Support Required
Clearly establish which facets of management you want to outsource, such as:
- Finance and budgeting
- Accounting and bank reconciliations
- Payment processing
- Insurance administration
- Contractor selection and management
- Maintenance coordination
- Inspections for CC&R violations
- Architectural design guideline enforcement
Some HOAs hire a manager for a narrow subset of tasks, while others want full-service community management. Defining your requirements will inform provider selection.
Special Projects in the Works
Make note of any unique initiatives already in motion or on the horizon that will require management assistance, like:
- New amenity construction
- Major landscape renovations
- Reserve study completion and funding strategy initialization
- Board election process updates
- Technology implementation projects
- Policy changes or bylaw amendments
Availing managers of significant plans ahead of time ensures they marshal the proper resources and expertise.
Step 2: Vet Industry Experience
Once you have a clear picture of your HOA’s service requirements, vet the experience of prospective management companies thoroughly. Confirm they have proven expertise, specifically within community association management.
Ask targeted questions like:
How Many Years Has Your HOA Management Company Been In Business?
- How long have you been serving HOAs under your current brand?
- Were you established here locally or part of a national company merger?
- Do you specialize only in community management or serve other property types?
Many fledgling start-ups give HOA management a try but fail to scale adequately. Verify a well-established track record – because you don’t want to be the test pilot!
What Is Your Portfolio of Communities Served?
- How many homeowner associations are you currently managing?
- What size ranges are included in your management portfolio?
- Could we get a sample list of current client communities you manage?
Cross-check that they have extensive experience serving HOAs in your state and of comparable size. Preferably they also offer references from similar communities.
What Industry Training and Designations Do You Hold?
- What percentage of your HOA managers hold advanced certifications like CMCA, AMS, PCAM, etc.?
- Do you incentivize or sponsor your staff to pursue such professional development?
- Are staff required to complete a new manager onboarding training program?
It’s a good sign if the company invests substantially in formal training for its personnel. Well-credentialed managers ensure knowledge of best practices.
By evaluating the scope of an HOA management company’s hands-on experience managing communities over many years, you gain the confidence they can capably handle your association’s needs.
Step 3: Interview Multiple Providers
Once you have screened for extensively experienced candidates on paper, take the process to the next level by sitting down for in-person interviews before selecting your HOA’s management company.
You’ll want to include an assessment of the company’s core values and brand voice. Do their beliefs align with those of your HOA? Are they focused on quality, efficiency, customer service, or something else? This is a key step in ensuring a successful partnership between your association and its management company.
The interview should also cover topics such as services offered, fee structure, reporting timeline, and standards of communication between both parties. What tools does the firm use to facilitate communication with board members, residents, and vendors? How do they handle enforcement policies?
All these matters are important when selecting a management provider that best suits your community.
Step 4: Take The Potential HOA Management Options to Your Community and Board
Once you have narrowed down your choices to a handful of potential candidates, it is time to take these options to your community and board for approval.
Make sure all the important information is included in this discussion. This may include costs associated with each provider, their approach to communication, how they handle emergency situations, and more.
The input from both the board and community members will help determine which HOA management firm best fits the needs of your specific association. After careful consideration, select a firm that best reflects the culture and values of your neighborhood.