Choosing an HOA management company can be difficult if you don’t have criteria. The company your association works with should ultimately be able to match your needs as well as your budget. Select the right HOA management company for you using these essential factors.
Top Considerations When Choosing an HOA Management Company
Homeowners associations can greatly benefit from hiring professional HOA management companies. Your HOA board will not only gain access to expert practices and innovative resources but can also look forward to more free time to focus on the community’s future. HOA management companies can take care of the day-to-day operations of your association with relative ease and accuracy.
However, choosing an HOA management company is not that simple. You can’t just pick the first one you find online. Here are the top factors to take into account when considering your options:
Accessibility is crucial to a successful partnership with your HOA management company. When the company is located far away from your HOA, you might incur additional and unnecessary fees in the form of travel expenses or gas fees. It will also be hard and time-consuming for your HOA manager to travel back and forth, especially when there is an emergency in the community.
When choosing an HOA management company, always use your location as a keyword. For example, a Raleigh-based community association should look for an HOA management company that serves or is headquartered in Raleigh, NC.
It is imperative to review the services of the HOA management companies you are considering. Some may offer the services you are looking for, while others may not. There is no point in hiring a company that doesn’t provide financial services when that is your main priority. Most companies typically offer accounting, financial reporting, collection, and homeowner communication services.
In addition, you must also evaluate the quality of services these HOA management companies deliver. Consider their processes and procedures. How do they handle late payments of HOA fees? How do they deal with disputes among homeowners? Do they perform maintenance services in-house or have a network of vendors lined up?
Cost is perhaps one of the most important factors when choosing an HOA management company. Ideally, you would hire the most reputable company with the highest quality services, but that just wouldn’t be realistic if you don’t have the funds for it.
Before starting your selection process, make sure to allocate room in your budget for HOA management fees. Send out a request for proposal and indicate your budget so that prospective companies know what to expect.
With an amount in mind, examine your different options and eliminate ones that don’t meet your criteria. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should instantly go with the cheapest option. Weigh the cost with other factors to arrive at the best choice for your association.
4. Previous Clients
Client history can say a lot about a business. For instance, if an HOA management company has worked with hundreds of communities, that means they have experience. That doesn’t necessarily mean new companies are bad, though. Newer and smaller companies tend to have fewer clients, which means you will receive more attention.
In the process of choosing an HOA management company, make sure to also ask for references and testimonials from past clients. Ask for permission to contact these clients yourself. Companies will tell you what you want to hear to close a sale. However, past clients will tell you the truth. If a previous client has had a bad experience with a company, they will let you know if you get in touch with them.
Beyond that, you should do your own research online and check out review sites. HOA management companies are not immune to fraud or embezzlement. If the company has been involved in scandals or has a history of wrongdoing, that should be a red flag.
5. Customer Service
Customer service is a fundamental part of business and one that many Americans use as a deciding factor of whether or not to patronize a company. As such, it only makes sense to go with a company that offers a great customer experience. When interviewing companies, ask them about their customer support hours and response time. It is also a good idea to learn how they handle complaints and emergencies.
If you manage to reach out to a company’s past clients, ask them about their customer service experience, too. Ask whether or not the company lived up to its promise of responding on time.
The Fine Print
These factors should help you determine whether a particular HOA management company is a good fit for your association. Nonetheless, it is equally important to review your management contract before signing it. Check if the contract’s terms match what the company said during the interview process. They may have promised one thing and put something else in writing.
Additionally, look out for certain clauses in your management contract that might lock your association with them. If you’re unsure about a company and would only like to retain their services for a few months, make sure the contract reflects that.
You should also pay attention to an auto-renewal clause. This clause usually states that the contract will renew automatically for another set number of months or years if your association fails to notify them of your intent to terminate by a specific time period. If this clause is present, either ask the company to remove it or put the termination deadline in your calendar so you don’t forget it.
A Long-Term Investment
These are the factors you must take into account when choosing an HOA management company. It is important to measure the candidates you are evaluating against these standards in order to arrive at a conclusion that suits your needs well. Otherwise, you will be stuck in a long-term contract with a company you don’t like.
Choosing an HOA management company can be a challenge. For more information on the selection and hiring process, visit Cedar Management Group.