Homeowners Association

Is Your Property Management Company the Right One For You?

A property management company has been managing your community for some time, but now you’re wondering if the right decision was made. Evaluating your property manager comes down to answering a few questions: Is your manager doing what they were contracted to do? Are they doing it in the right way? 

To break it down, you’ll want to ask yourself this:

 

1. Do they provide the services that they promised?

Take a close look at the contract to see what services were agreed upon. To make this evaluation easier, document any instances that you can praise the manager, or make recommendations for improvement. 

 

2. Do they stay informed about current laws and best practices?

Laws and best practices change regularly, so it’s important for your manager to stay up-to-date since you lean on them for their expertise.

 

3. Do they avoid exposing the Homeowners Association (HOA) to liability?

This may be a no-brainer but across the United States, you’ll find HOA’s that fall victim to lapsed or inadequate insurance, unlicensed or uninsured vendors, and fraud. A great property manager will have integrity and an attention to detail that does not expose you to liability. 

 

4. Do they work in your best interest?

Make sure that your property manager always has your HOA top of mind. A manager that works in your best interest will save you time and money. 

 

5. Do they treat all owners with respect?

Property managers should always act professionally and respectful towards board members and homeowners alike. You might even share feedback from homeowners and vendors. 

 

An annual review will determine if your manager is the right fit for the community. During the review, acknowledge and praise their successes, address any issues, and develop a relationship that lasts. These annual reviews will also allow you to realize it’s just not working, so you can make the necessary changes to better the community.

Sign up below to schedule your free consultation.



The Ultimate Guide for Hiring a Property Management Company for Homeowners & Condo Associations

Fill out the form to download the FREE ebook.

Posted by admin in HOA Property Management

What to Check Before Signing a Contract With a Property Management Company

During the process of hiring a property management company, the Homeowners Association (HOA) will have to face the challenge of reviewing the property management contract. Most companies will have a standard contract, but don’t sign right away. You’ll want to pay special attention to the fine print and details, such as terms, cancellation rights, and fees. If things aren’t crystal clear, ask as many questions as you need. Not doing so can lead to misunderstandings down the line. And don’t worry – you’ll be able to make any changes if needed. 

A property management contract can be broken down into these categories:

1. Responsibilities and Fees

This is the section of the contract that should list out the services that are being agreed upon 

and how those services will be performed. This section will also break down the fees. Take some extra time to see how the fees are broken down and if there are extra fees for certain services. You’ll also find details about what your responsibilities as the HOA are in this section. Pay special attention here because you’ll want to know what you’re agreeing to. 

 

2. Termination Clause

Make sure the contract has a clear termination or cancellation clause. This section will detail under what circumstances you or the property manager can end the relationship and what fees will be incurred. Some specific things to look out for are:

  • Notice to Terminate: Make sure there’s a specified number of days.
  • Fee for Early Termination: Fees often will vary from a few hundred dollars to having to pay all fees the management company would have been paid for the remaining length of their contract.
  • Reason to Terminate: You’ll want a contract that does not require cause to terminate the contract.
  • Obligations Upon Termination: There will be a list of responsibilities that must happen upon termination and the time window it must be completed within.

 

3. Liability and Other Common Items

All property management contracts will list out what the company can and cannot be held liable for. This section is sometimes referred to as the “hold harmless” clause and protects management companies, except where they have been negligent. The property manager is not responsible for the negligence of vendors they hire. To protect yourself, include a “reasonable care” clause in the contract. This means that the property manager is not liable if, and only if, “reasonable care” has been taken when hiring the vendor – they did their research and did not hire a vendor with a history of complaints.

Other common clauses you may run into are:

  • Entire Agreement: The contract is the final version of the agreement and supersedes all prior written and oral proposals.
  • Modification: The contract can only be modified by a written agreement executed by both parties.
  • Assignments: The property management company can transfer their contract to another management company without your consent.
  • Governing Law; Venue: What states’ laws will govern the contract’s interpretation.

 

Most importantly, once you have reviewed the contract, have your HOA’s attorney (if you don’t have one, find an experienced attorney in the area) to review the contract. The attorney can alert you if there are any issues and changes needed. Once you get the green light, it’s time to sign and build that lasting relationship with your property management company!

 

Sign up below to schedule your free consultation.



The Ultimate Guide for Hiring a Property Management Company for Homeowners & Condo Associations

Fill out the form to download the FREE ebook.

Posted by admin in HOA Property Management

20 Interview Questions to Ask a Property Management Company

So, the Homeowners Association (HOA) decided it’s time to hire a property manager and you don’t know where to start. A good place to start is by asking the right questions in an interview. Here are 20 questions to ask a property management company:

1. How long have you been in operation?

Knowing how long a property management company has been in business gives you an idea of their experience level. Even though your decision will not be based solely on the years they’ve been in business, this may give you more confidence in your decision.

2. What are your core values/mission as a company?

This is an important question to ask and often overlooked. Their answer will give you a general idea of what they are going to be like as a partner.

3. What services do you offer?

Property management companies offer different services. Be sure that the list of companies you’re interviewing offers a suite of services that meets your needs.

4. What type of properties do you manage?

Knowing what properties the company manages will help you determine their skill set and expertise. 

5. How many homeowners associations do you currently manage?

This will help you to gauge if the company is stretched too thin given the size of their staff. You want to be sure that your community receives the personal attention you need.

6. Who would be our property manager? What kind of experience do they have?

Most times a specific property manager will be assigned to your association. You’ll also want to know if your property manager carries the necessary licenses required by states. 

7. Are you licensed and insured?

First, you’ll need to check if your state requires the property management company to be licensed and insured. Either way, this is something you’ll want to know. 

8. What do you charge for your services?

Fee structures will vary from company to company. Find out the comprehensive list of charges so you don’t find any surprises later on. Some of the fees you’ll be charged are:

  • Set-up Fees (charge to take over day-to-day management of the HOA)
  • Continuing Fees (monthly management fee)
  • Exit Fees (charge incurred when the HOA leaves for another company)
  • Miscellaneous Fees (extra charge for marketing, and etc.)

9. How are finances handled?

Managing finances is one of the most complicated responsibilities an HOA will face. This is why they often turn to a property management company to help them. So, it’ll be critical to find out how they’ll handle the community’s finances.

10. Who are your vendors?

When things need to get fixed, it’s important to do it as quickly as possible. If the property management company has a list of trusted vendors for your community, it’ll save you time and money!

11. Are you up to date on HOA laws?

Because state, federal, and local laws are always changing, you want to make sure that the company you hire is up to date on these regulations.

12. What’s your process for handling service requests?

Find out how the company tracks and manages service requests and your role in the process. Look for a company with a well-thought-out process.

13. How will you respond to emergencies?

Emergencies are bound to happen, especially when it comes to an HOA. Ask them if they have a plan in place in case of emergency and what they would do if disaster strikes.

14. What is your response time?

In the case of emergencies, you don’t want a property management company that takes longer than 24 hours to respond. Response times can vary based on service level and emergency vs non-urgent request.

15. How often will you conduct community inspections?

Inspections should be done regularly. Find out how many times they’ll come to inspect for HOA violations before you choose a company.

16. How often will you provide the HOA with updates?

Communication is key to a community being run smoothly. 

17. What is your preferred method of communication?

Look for a company that is willing to communicate with you, residents, and vendors through various media – phone, text, or email.

18. What sets you apart from other property management companies?

With so many companies to choose from, what sets this one apart? What can they offer you that the other companies can’t? This will help you narrow down your decision.

19. How will you add value to our community?

Make sure that the management company’s specialty aligns with the needs of the community. For example, if one of the community’s special amenities is a park, verify the company is familiar and experienced with dealing with maintaining a park.

20. Do you have any references?

Be sure to ask for a list of references. There’s no better way to find out if the company is going to fulfill the needs of the community than word of mouth. 

 

You’ll probably have more questions to ask, but this list is a good starting point. By asking all the right questions, you can find the perfect company. Once you hire a property manager, it’ll be one of the best decisions your HOA makes.

Sign up below to schedule your free consultation.



The Ultimate Guide for Hiring a Property Management Company for Homeowners & Condo Associations

Fill out the form to download the FREE ebook.

Posted by admin in HOA Property Management

Choosing the Right Property Management Company For Your Homeowner Association

Finding the right property management company is crucial. You straddle a fine line between finding one that’s going to hemorrhage money or one that will save you time and money. But where do you even start when there’s hundreds of choices to choose from and so many of them do the services you need. Narrowing down these choices could take weeks, and that doesn’t even include the interview process. Sounds difficult right? Well, it doesn’t have to be with these helpful tips:

 

1. Form a Search Committee

Because this is a decision that will ultimately impact every one in the community, find volunteers within the community who have different specialties – such as law, finance, construction. Include a few board members to ensure that the proper processes are followed.

 

2. Determine What Services You Require

Find out what services you need met and how much you are willing to pay for them. 

 

3. Draft a Proposal and Send it Out

Create a list of details and specifications, including your expectations. This will be sent to all property management companies. 

 

4. Reach Out to Other Communities for Referrals

Find similar communities and reach out. Word of mouth will give you an idea if the property management company will work for your community.

 

5. Evaluate Responses Based on Criteria

You’ll receive responses from the companies, so you’ll want to evaluate them based on fixed criteria that you have pre-determined.

 

6. Narrow Down Your Options

The evaluation process will allow you to narrow down your list to a select few.

 

7. Conduct Interviews

There should always be an interview. Have a set of interview questions designed that best suit your needs. 

 

8. Review the Contract

Have your lawyer review the contract as well. Make all the necessary changes before you sign it!

 

9. Track Performance

Annual reviews will play a key role in determining if the company is a right fit. Monitor their performance and make sure they’re delivering on their promises.

 

Finding a property management company isn’t an easy task, especially if you’ve never done it before. However, with these tips in mind, you can simplify the process and find the right company for you.

 

Sign up below to schedule your free consultation.



The Ultimate Guide for Hiring a Property Management Company for Homeowners & Condo Associations

Fill out the form to download the FREE ebook.

Posted by admin in HOA Property Management

Breaking It Down: The Steps to Hiring a Property Management Company You Can Trust

Oftentimes, Homeowners Associations (HOA) are inundated with tons of responsibilities. For a group of volunteers that are elected to the HOA, these responsibilities are often overwhelming and time-consuming. That is why hiring a property management company can be a game-changer. But for a group of people already so busy, hiring a company can be a daunting task. Choosing the best one that is right for your community seems impossible at first, but we broke it down for you. We even made a handy checklist for you included in The Ultimate Guide for Hiring a Property Management Company for Homeowners Associations (HOAs).

Check out these steps to hiring a property management company made easy:

 

1. Review Governing Docs and Get Member Buy-in

You’ll want to review the governing documents (they usually include the HOA’s rules, regulations, guidelines and other community bylaws) for restrictions on employing a third-party like a property management company for help. Before you move onto Step 2 though, you’ll need to make sure every member of the HOA has all agreed to move forward. Because this is a big decision, you don’t want a few members unhappy with it. Invite everyone to make suggestions about services they prioritize and make it collaborative to ensure that every member is a part of the process. 

 

2. Determine the Scope of Services You Need

You have already reviewed the governing documents in Step 1 and collaborated with members, so now determining the services you need help with should be a breeze! There may be limitations on what responsibilities can be given to a property manager, but there are five important functions the HOA board should take into consideration when deciding which services they want handled by the company:

  • Accounting and Collections
  • Community Maintenance
  • Rules Enforcement
  • Board Education
  • Legal Advice

 

3. Narrow Down Your Options

Reach out to other similar communities in the area to see if they have any referrals. Now that you understand what you need from a property management company, find a handful of companies in the area. Talk to these companies (ideally 5 or so), and figure out their priorities, and how they’ll support the HOA. This can help you narrow down your list to a select few that you will then bring in for the hiring process.

 

4. The Hiring Process

  • Now that you have a selective list of property management companies, you can schedule interviews with each of them. (Check out the 20 questions you can ask them here.) This is critical to the process and allows you to engage one-on-one with the company to gauge if they’re a right match for you. 
  • Does your state require licenses and credentials? If so, check that. You want to make sure you hire a company that not only abides by your community’s rules, but also by state, federal, and local laws. 
  • By now, you probably have an idea of exactly who you want to hire, but the next step of the hiring process is something that should not be overlooked. Consider checking the company’s background checks. Also, take a moment to obtain a copy of their insurance. You may want to consult with an insurance agent to see if the insurance is adequate for your community.
  • During the interview, the property management company should have given you a few references. Talk to them to see if this company is the right for you.

 

5. Finalize the Deal

You narrowed it down to one spectacular company. Review the contract very carefully. (Check out this blog for tips on what to look for.) Have the HOA’s attorney – and if you don’t have one, find an experienced one in the area – to look over the contract before you sign. Once the contract is reviewed, sign on the dotted line. 

 

Congrats! If you followed these steps, you just hired a property management company. Now it’s time to work on developing a great working relationship between the board and management company so the community can flourish.

Sign up below to schedule your free consultation.



The Ultimate Guide for Hiring a Property Management Company for Homeowners & Condo Associations

Fill out the form to download the FREE ebook.

Posted by admin in HOA Property Management

5 Signs It’s Time to Hire a Property Management Company for Your Homeowners Association

As a volunteer elected to the Homeowners Association (HOA) board, being a member is often a difficult job. You’re buried under hundreds of responsibilities and neighbors turn to you whenever there's a problem regardless of the time or day. If a neighbor hasn’t cut their lawn, or they’re not paying their dues, it’s your responsibility to talk to them. It can make relationships sour quickly in a close-knit neighborhood. And in this day and age, most people already have a mountain of responsibilities with full-time jobs, families, and more. This is where a property management company can come in and take a lot off your plate. If you’re still unsure, here are 5 signs that it’s time to hire a property management company.

 

1. The HOA doesn’t have the time or experience to serve on the board.

Managing a HOA can become quickly overwhelming, even for the most experienced board members. There’s always something that needs attention and time-consuming issues are bound to happen. Sometimes it feels like there’s not enough hours in the day and not enough experience to find the most cost-effective solution. In these situations, hiring a manager is extremely beneficial to not only the board, but also every resident in the community.

 

2. The HOA is stressed out.

Even if you have the time or experience to manage a community, dealing with frantic emergencies and enforcing rules is a lot to handle. If you’re finding that you’re getting stressed out, you should hire a property management company. It’ll give you peace of mind and the time to relax.

 

3. The HOA is responsible for managing complex systems, amenities, and/or properties.

The saying that more is always better isn’t true when it comes to managing HOAs. Your community could have numerous amenities like parks, pools, and gyms that fall under your responsibility. On top of that, you’re also responsible for making sure your entire community follows the rules and regulations to maintain optimal curb appeal. If you’re finding your plate overflowing, it is time to consider hiring a property management company. 

 

4. The community is large – making routine billing, correspondence, rule enforcement, and complaint management very time-consuming.

The more owners you have, the more you have to manage – from bills, to complaints, to regulations and more – making it painstakingly long and tiring to be a board member. A property management company can come in and take over all these responsibilities, so you can focus on planning and developing the rules and guidelines for the community.

 

5. The HOA is looking to leverage a property management company’s relationships to get discounts on services and contractors.

You’re quickly realizing that getting multiple bids from vendors is challenging and the bids can often be expensive. You don’t know who will do a good job for the best price. There’s a lot to consider before you hire a vendor, leading to a lot of headaches. A property management company already has established relationships with reputable vendors. Often these relationships can lead to lower rates on everything from insurance to maintenance. 

 

If you’re going through these signs and realizing it’s time to hire a property management company, don’t worry! We made the process easy with helpful tips, questions to ask, and a checklist is included in the The Ultimate Guide for Hiring a Property Management Company for Homeowners Associations (HOAs).

Sign up below to schedule your free consultation.



The Ultimate Guide for Hiring a Property Management Company for Homeowners & Condo Associations

Fill out the form to download the FREE ebook.

Posted by admin in HOA Property Management

5 Benefits of Working With a Property Management Company

Homeowners in communities often owe a monthly or yearly fee to their Homeowners Association (HOA) to maintain common areas and enforce rules and regulations. Most of the time, the community residents will be elected or volunteer to serve on the HOA Board of Directors. But, sometimes it’s difficult to stay on top of the mounting responsibilities as a volunteer member of the board. Well, you don’t have to struggle with them alone. A property management company can come in and help you take care of all the details. Here are five benefits of working with a property management company instead of going at it alone:

 

1. Be the Experts You Need

Partnering with a property management company comes with a great deal of expertise, support and guidance for the HOA board members. By leaning on the property manager for their expertise, even the most experienced of HOA’s can optimize its operations, communications and relationships with homeowners. Because property management companies are regulated through mandatory education, testing, and held to the highest standards of conduct, they are experts in running the day-to-day operations of communities and community legislation. Even if the board has sat for several years, there may be an instance where a new issue arises that they’re not sure on how to handle. A property manager can provide the support and guidance necessary to help resolve these problems and execute decisions in a decisive-manner. 

 

2. Enforce Community Rules Fairly

One of the biggest perks of working with a property management company is that they ensure that HOA rules and regulations are legal and followed. First and foremost, an experienced property manager will review community documents to ensure they align with state and federal laws. They make sure that these guidelines are clear, concise, and consistently enforced. And, the HOA has peace of mind that their rules are implemented fairly and problems are addressed in a timely manner. What could be an awkward meeting between a neighbor who’s breaking the rules and an HOA member, is now the responsibility of the property management company to handle in an unbiased, professional way. 

Within the community’s governing documents, the use of common areas is defined and regulated. Because what good is a community park or pool if it’s falling apart? Not only do property management companies maintain the upkeep of these areas, but they also effectively communicate what is and is not allowed. For example, the HOA may agree that a noise curfew would be in everyone’s best interest. The property manager will then notify homeowners about these guidelines so the community is on the same page.

 

3. Handle Daily Operations Cost-effectively

When working with a property management company you get access to their large network of vendors who have already been vetted for pricing and good work. This translates into significant savings compared to trying to find a reliable company yourself. You also save yourself the trouble of having to visit the sites for property conditions and supervising contractors and landscapers. A professional property management company will oversee the work directly and make sure the community’s curb appeal is maintained in a cost-effective manner. 

 

4. Bring Years of Experience to Your Community

A property manager’s experience can be your best kept secret. Not only can they help define best practices for your community, but also their connections can be a powerful cost-saving tool. An experienced property manager understands how best to implement new guidelines, define regulations, and communicate updates and changes in the best way possible. They also can provide recommended businesses for landscaping, construction, repairs, and more to save the HOA time from having to get bids themselves.

 

5. Be Committed to the Neighborhood

A property management company is only as good as the communities they serve. So naturally, they take great pride and responsibility in creating the best possible community environment. As a result, they keep the best interests of the community top of mind, all the time. By providing extra support and guidance to the HOA board members and taking on many day-to-day responsibilities, property managers give HOA members more freedom, less stress, and more time to plan and discuss other community improvements. 

 

Ultimately, your property management company is there to help you create the optimal living experience for every resident. They’re committed to your neighborhood as if it were their own and bring with them years of expertise.

Sign up below to schedule your free consultation.



The Ultimate Guide for Hiring a Property Management Company for Homeowners & Condo Associations

Fill out the form to download the FREE ebook.

Posted by admin in HOA Property Management

Clearing Up the Confusion: Homeowners Association Vs. Property Management Company

Running a community can be a challenge for anyone, let alone a group of volunteers elected to the Homeowners Association (HOA) board. The HOA is in charge of managing the community, while balancing the needs of the neighborhood. But, often these responsibilities are painful and time-consuming to manage without professional support

This is where a property management company can save the day. However, the lines can be blurred as to who does what. To ensure that the HOA and property management company understand their roles, we outlined the responsibilities and expectations to clear up the confusion.

 

The Homeowners Association’s Responsibilities

The HOA board members are made up of volunteers who dedicate their time and are not paid for the work they do. Instead, they also pay the same fees just like everyone else in the community. 

The HOA are entirely dependent on the governing documents, state, and federal laws to make decisions for the greater community. One of their primary responsibilities is to protect and enhance the value of the community, while maintaining legislative duties like setting rules and architectural review guidelines and procedures. For example, the HOA will choose and hire a landscaping company for the common areas. The governing documents decided by the HOA board, as well as state and federal laws, will guide how the landscaping company will operate within the community. 

 

The Property Management’s Responsibilities

As a third-party hired by the HOA board, the property management company are the ones who implement the HOA’s vision and facilitate the day-to-day operations in the community. Due to the large scope of responsibilities, the property management company helps to make everything run like a well-oiled machine. From maintenance and upkeep, to dispute resolution, to executing the rules approved by the HOA board, the property management company can shoulder the burden of managing a community of any size. In the same example above with the landscaping company, the property management company is responsible for managing the landscaping company and ensuring they understand the wants and needs of the community. 

 

Ultimately, the two separate entities operate to create the community residents envision. While the HOA board establishes the rules and regulations for the community, the property management company simply implements the guidelines set by the HOA. Better understanding who does what will enable you to go to the correct entity to address any concerns.

Sign up below to schedule your free consultation.



The Ultimate Guide for Hiring a Property Management Company for Homeowners & Condo Associations

Fill out the form to download the FREE ebook.

Posted by admin in HOA Property Management

The Difference Between a Homeowners Association and Property Management

It’s easy to see why there’s confusion when it comes to a Homeowners Association (HOA) and property management company. They both play critical roles in ensuring the community is managed properly. Even though they may work hand in hand, they often work independently of one another because the responsibilities of the two jobs are quite different. If you’re not quite sure what the difference is between the two, let’s take a closer look.

 

What is a Homeowners Association?

Within a community, the residents share the responsibility of maintaining their properties and the common areas. To formalize these responsibilities, the community may create an HOA that is tasked with developing and enforcing community rules that all property owners have to abide by. 

The HOA is completely made up of volunteer residents in the community – the board members are voted into each position. If the HOA is self-managed, board members are responsible for:

  • making and enforcing the rules
  • maintaining common areas
  • establishing and collecting dues
  • determining and managing budgets
  • managing insurance for common areas
  • hiring staff for common areas, like maintenance and security

But not all these tasks have to be performed by the HOA. To assist HOA members with these responsibilities, they may hire a property management company to make the lives of board members simpler, easier and much less stressful.

 

What is a Property Management Company?

A quick search on the Internet would show you that a property management company oversees and manages residential, commercial, and/or industrial property that is owned by another party or entity. In layman’s terms, property managers are hired to help you take care of your property.  In most cases, a property management company is employed by the HOA to make sure residents can live in a safe, well-cared for community. Some of the tasks that were once handled by the HOA are now given to a property management company, taking significant amounts of stress off their plates. 

Here are a few ways a dedicated, professional property management company can help an HOA manage their communities successfully:

  • takes care of common areas
  • collects homeowner’s dues to be a member of the HOA
  • manages financial reporting, budgeting, and other accounting services
  • hires staff to maintain common areas
  • manages insurance for common areas
  • handles work order requests for repairs and maintenance of common areas. 

 

But What’s The Difference and Why Does it Matter?

Most of the time, the HOA will hire the property management company to carry out responsibilities throughout the community, as mentioned above. The property management company does not hold a lot of power when it comes to the community at whole, but they can enforce the rules that they’re responsible for. On the other hand, the HOA has the legal authority to enforce their own rules. Should a rule be broken, the HOA can issue a warning, then take action at the expense of the owner. 

Running an HOA is a lot of work so having great partners is the key to success. A great property management company can ensure what’s best for the community is being cared for and makes everyone’s life easier. 

 

Sign up below to schedule your free consultation.



The Ultimate Guide for Hiring a Property Management Company for Homeowners & Condo Associations

Fill out the form to download the FREE ebook.

Posted by admin in HOA Property Management