Homeowners Associations, or HOAs, have big challenges on their hands: they have to be on call to maintain the quality and smooth functioning of a community, no matter what challenges it may face. The resources and experience of an HOA board may not always be matched to the task, however — and sometimes, an external perspective can be beneficial. HOA Property Management, offered by San Diego HOA management companies, can provide the resources and experience needed to support an HOA in its work.
What Is an HOA Management Company?
An HOA management company is a third party (separate from the HOA board and the community residents), which handles certain operations on behalf of the HOA board.
What Do San Diego HOA Management Companies Do?
An HOA management company enforces the policies of the community which are set by the board. They work closely with the HOA board in order to understand the unique needs and challenges of the community, and to deliver the services needed.
These services can involve day-to-day operations such as:
- Collecting and managing dues and finances for the HOA board.
- Responding to maintenance requests.
- Taking care of common areas.
- Responding to vandalism on the property.
- Vetting, hiring and managing contractors for area improvements.
- Mediating disputes between residents.
The services offered by HOA management companies vary, so you should always research exactly what services a company is able to offer.
What's the Benefit of Working with an HOA Management Company?
The reasons that HOA boards bring management companies on board vary, but some of the common benefits include:
- Specialized expertise. The HOA board is generally chosen from people who know their community best and can create policies which encourage the health of that community. However, these residents may not have the skills or experience needed to expertly source contractors, manage finances, or perform other administrative tasks. Delegating those responsibilities to an HOA management company allows the board to focus on what it does best and leave financial, logistical, and sometimes legal matters to experts who are specifically trained in them.
- Impartiality. Community politics are as rich and complicated as the residents of a community, and it's important to avoid the appearance of favoritism. An HOA management company which isn't part of the community itself can provide an impartial eye when disputes come up, and can shield the HOA board from accusations of unfair play when a resident doesn't feel that a dispute has gone their way.
- Time management. There's a lot of administration that goes into running a homeowners association, and it can become a time sink as the community grows. Delegating tasks to a management company allows the board to spend more of their finite time focusing on the community's needs, and on community development.
- Greater reach. An HOA management company frequently has long-standing relationships with vendors and contractors, allowing them to find the best services available, at the best prices. These connections have a positive effect on the HOA's finances, and on the maintenance of the property.
How Can HOAs Find the Best Management Companies?
As with any service, finding the best management company for your HOA is important. In researching San Diego HOA management companies, ask the following questions, and make sure each one is answered to your satisfaction before making a decision:
- What services does the company offer? What services do you need? For example, do you want a company that can help to organize or clean up after community events? Would you like them to handle contract signing with new residents? Are you looking for a company which can offer referrals to renovating companies?
- What is the company's pricing structure? Do they ask for a flat fee per residence, or are they priced per service? Are there hidden fees or markups which could cost your HOA more than you anticipated?
- How much experience do they have, and in what arenas? What connections with vendors and contractors do they have, and how long have they worked with them? If they offer accounting services, how long have their accountants been working? How long have they been in business?
- What are their maintenance policies? Do they only cover damage or repairs, or will they also take on care and cleaning for the area? If they do cover cleaning, at what level do they do so? Do they care for lawns? Will they pick up trash? How do residents get in touch with them for maintenance issues, and what's their response time? What are their hours for emergency versus non-emergency maintenance calls?
- Do they have references? Are other HOAs happy to work with them? Do they have a rating with the Better Business Bureau?
Working with San Diego HOA management companies can offer big benefits to your HOA, and research is key to finding the right fit.