More than 25% of the U.S. population lives in a community association. There are nearly 50,000 homeowners associations (HOA's) or common interest developments (CID's) within California alone. The aggregate annual revenues generated by CID’s in the state of California is estimated at over $12 billion. 88% of homeowners say their association’s rules help protect and enhance their property values. So why do HOA's suffer such a bad reputation? It's about how you govern the community and the management style. This business partnership can make all the difference in the world and have a direct impact on quality of life as well as property values. So, it's that important to consider the services and qualities needed for the best possible outcome.
To help facilitate the discussion amongst Board Members, we’ve compiled a list of thought-provoking questions based upon our experience, which identify the most important areas of concern for a typical community association.
Has the Board of Directors agreed upon a vision or mission statement, or established long term goals for the community? How about a code of ethics for the Board to follow? Do you need a manager who can help facilitate this process?
Does the Board have a sense of how much staff time is needed to provide professional quality customer service, accounting, management and administrative services to the community on a weekly basis?
Have you developed an agreed upon “wish list” of what is most important in the selection of a new management company/manager?
Does your association need full-service professional management, stand-alone HOA banking and bookkeeping services, or do your needs fall somewhere in the middle of these two?
Does your Board need help establishing a clear and complete set of supplemental policies for the governance of the association, or updating the existing policies?
Is your Board looking for an efficient and dependable administrator to carry out the directives of the Board, or an experienced Certified Community Association Manager (CCAM) with the industry experience and education required to provide proactive recommendations and professional guidance?
Would the Board like to be able to view and approve the monthly financials, vendor invoices/accounts payable and approve payments to vendors online rather than mailing checks back and forth to the management company?
Would you like access to an extensive list of qualified, vetted, properly licensed and insured vendors with years of experience working specifically in the HOA industry?
Are you looking for passive administrative management, or do you need thoughtful assistance with the annual budgeting process and/or planning reserve projects to ensure accurate forecasting/results, as well as proactive management throughout the fiscal year to meet or exceed established budgetary goals?
How important is it that your association’s past-due accounts are handled with a sense of urgency, with clear and timely reports and solid recommendations at each board meeting?
Are you looking for a management company that will work cooperatively and respectfully with your past-due members and offer “in-house payment plans” PRIOR to sending the account to collections?
Do you need help with creative solutions to collect on seriously past-due member accounts?
This isn’t intended to be an all-inclusive list of considerations, but good thought-starters to discuss at the beginning of the search process. We suggest your Board of Directors agree upon a list of “must-have” services and qualities in a new association management firm before beginning their search.