The Homeowners Association Manager Search – By Richard Thompson, APRA advisor
Is your homeowner association self managed? Has it crossed your mind that there must be a better way? Keeping an association running smoothly can be both time-consuming and stressful. Because of this, many community associations choose professional over self-management.
In searching for the right management company, keep in mind that the abilities and focus of association management companies vary considerably. Time must be spent narrowing the field to find the right manager for your association. Prospective managers will consider you as carefully as you consider them. It’s like marriage…a long term relationship that should not be taken lightly.
What are the main points to discuss?
Financial Management and Reporting: Associations rise or fall on how money is handled. Does the management company provide timely financial reports? How are invoices approved and when are bills paid? What procedure is used to enforce collections on delinquent owners?
Rules Enforcement: What procedures are followed to ensure compliance of the rules?
Handling Information and Maintenance Requests: Does the manager have a written tracking system for documenting requests from start to finish? Is there a reliable 24 hour emergency response system?
Maintenance Supervision: How often does the manager tour the property to access maintenance needs? How are maintenance requests handled? Are jobs performed with in-house employees or outside contractors? How are major repair contracts handled?
Meeting Coordination & Attendance: Does the manager coordinate board and homeowner meetings, send out notices and agendas? Does the manager attend all such meetings at no extra charge?
Budgeting: Does the manager assist in preparing the annual budget and make recommendations on ways to cut costs?
Providing Sales & Closing Documents: Does the manager have a timely process for delivery information to escrow, title and lenders?
Manager Style & Personality: This is an extremely important factor in your decision. Is the manager self assured, knowledgeable, professional and friendly? Cool under fire? Speak his or her mind? The board needs a manager that will shoot straight and honestly.
Their Office: Pay them a visit. Does the office look organized, professional and have the equipment to handle business efficiently like computers, faxes, copiers, postage meters, papers and cell phones? Is the staff adequate and attending to business?
References: Request the names and phone numbers of three current association clients. Request the names and phone numbers of three former association clients.
Credentials: Does the manager and company have professional designations from recognized authorities like CAI (Community Associations Institute) or IREM (Institute of Real Estate Management)?
Now that you have taken the time to really get to know your prospective mangers, you are better prepared to pop the question: Will you manage our association…for better or worse?…for richer not poorer? If you’ve chosen correctly and the answer is “I will”, your management marriage is off and running. May you have a long and happy relationship.Share