On the surface it seems reasonable that the business of operating a homeowners association (HOA) can and should be handled by the homeowners themselves. Those that volunteer their time to serve on the board are motivated to do the best for themselves and their fellow property owners. And since they are volunteers, the costs are minimal. Board members are probably pretty smart, too, and what they don’t know how to do can be figured out by trial and error.
Often these fair assumptions are squashed when a board member has to collect dues or assessments from a neighbor, or has to enforce an HOA rule, like picking up after a dog. And consider the most important goal of maintaining property values. If no one the board has a high level of construction and building maintenance, then proper planning and funding may become a big problem. An absence of maintenance quickly leads to eroding market values and livability of the community. Suddenly, self-management is no longer easy or fun. – even if the price is right!
The Professional HOA Management Alternative
Retaining a professional HOA management company is an alternative way of providing for many of the services needed by a residential community. If your HOA believes it could benefit from some professional assistance, what management services should you consider? HOA management companies typically have a range of service offerings that can be tailored to the specific situation. Most home associations choose some or all these core HOA management services:
HOA Administrative Support
- Administrative support of an HOA helps day-to-day operations run smoothly. Administrative support can include:
- Maintaining, archiving and storing HOA files;
- Providing written and verbal communication to members;
- Safeguarding confidentiality of association documents, board correspondence, members’ personal information, etc. as appropriate and lawful;
- Applying proper transparency and clear communication of the HOAs actions, reports, meeting minutes, etc.;
- Keeping the HOA aware of and in compliance with changing state and local laws;
- Attending HOA meetings;
- Responding to homeowner concerns in a timely matter;
- Enforcing rules, regulations, by-laws and covenants; and
- Managing insurance and service contracts.
HOA Financial Management
Managing an HOA’s finances is considerably more complex than general administrative support and requires a higher level of expertise and experience. HOA financial management services might include:
- Strategic planning with the board;
- Maintaining financial records;
- Reconciling and balancing bank accounts;
- Collecting dues and assessments;
- Ensuring bills are paid in a timely manner;
- Producing financial statements and reports that are clear, accurate and timely;
- Creating draft budgets for the board;
- Implementing budget policies; and
- Assisting in the preparation of tax filings and paying taxes as necessary.
Physical Property Maintenance
Physical property maintenance is key to the ongoing enjoyment of the community by members and the long-term success and appreciation of the properties. Physical property maintenance services and benefits that should be considered by an HOA include:
- Performing property inspections to identify maintenance issues and rule violations;
- Gaining the purchasing power of the management company due to its established relationships to qualified contractors;
- Monitoring contracts and overseeing maintenance: lawn care, landscaping, pools/spas, common areas, facilities, infrastructure and equipment;
- Soliciting and qualifying bids for maintenance projects;
- Negotiating and monitoring maintenance and service contracts;
- Supervising onsite personnel;
- Overseeing major repair and capital improvement projects; and
- Communicating and reporting physical property matters to HOA.
Great HOAs Make Great Neighborhoods
Most every home association needs management services, whether its provided by the volunteer board of directors, or from an outside professional management company. HOA management companies, like The Tiehen Group, help HOA board members accomplish their goals and enhance property values. Consider the level of support you need and can afford when you talk to HOA management companies. Only contract with an HOA management company with integrity and that offers an optimal level of service for your community. Then start living that carefree lifestyle that your community promised.
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The Tiehen Group has been providing professional property management services for homeowners associations in the Kansas City area for more than 20 years. We enjoy sharing our knowledge and perspective with interested people and organizations. Contact us today if you like to discuss professional HOA management or other HOA matters.