Many small to mid-size homeowner associations start out as self-managed properties. It appears to be an easy way to lower operational costs, especially if you have some owners willing to serve on the HOA Board. It usually doesn’t take long before you find that saving money is an illusion. When you look beyond the smoke and mirrors, you’ll see that short-term savings can lead to higher long-term expenses.
Property management is challenging under the best of circumstances and can get complicated when you hit a snag.
Eventually, even the most skilled Board members discover that they need additional expertise to manage a homeowner association. In addition to the legal and financial issues, you need expertise in architecture, vendor management, collections, technology, negotiation and peacekeeping. You also need to keep current on state and federal legislature changes. Many Boards begin to transition from self-managed to professionally managed HOAs when they need expertise in specific areas.
There’s a lot of conflicting information about whether self-managed is less expensive than professionally managed associations. When you look at long-term maintenance and management, it can save you money. Property management companies have relationships with vendors that provide high-quality work, and pricing is usually lower because vendors value the volume of work they receive from the management company. Professional managers also help develop long-term maintenance plans that can solve problems before they arise, which saves a significant amount of money. Some Boards choose to engage a management company to simply handle the financial area because it’s critical in operating the association.
When Board members must collect delinquent money or enforce rules, it can take a toll on neighbor relations. Sometimes, it gets out of hand and the tension escalates to conflict and arguments. Collections and rule enforcement are jobs that must be done in every successful community. Yet, some Board members are so uncomfortable doing these jobs that they let them slide, which puts the entire community at risk. In the interest of time and community harmony, some Boards appreciate the real value in outsourcing collections and rules enforcement to a management company.
Hiring a community association management company offers many advantages for an association. Many management companies offer different levels of service, so you can choose one or two services or transition fully to a professionally managed HOA. If your Board members are tired of spending their limited free time researching problems, turn your problems over to an expert. Put professional management into action for your community.