Four tips to help you select the right firm for your community.
Your homeowner association’s management firm acts as your community’s fiduciary, which means it must do what is in the best interest of your HOA. That could involve preparing financial statements, hiring contractors, dealing with homeowner complaints, negotiating contracts and numerous other tasks to ensure your HOA is properly maintained in all respects.
It’s a big task, so you want to be sure you’ve selected the right firm for the job. Here are four tips to help you find the right HOA management firm for your community.
Determine the needs of your HOA.
During a board meeting, discuss what tasks you want your management firm to do and what homeowner volunteers could take on. Be sure to touch on those points when interviewing potential firms. (Find out if you should hire a professional firm, or self-manage your HOA.)
Beyond the tasks your management firm will perform, what expectations do you have of the company? Are you looking for a firm with established vendor contacts? What level of customer service do you expect? Now is the time to set those expectations to minimize misunderstandings in the future.
Check references and credentials.
Find out what certifications each potential management firm has and what credentials may be required in your state for property managers. Ask for references and follow-up. When talking with references, find out how the firm handles conflicts, how well they communicate with homeowners and the board, and whether they respond quickly to calls and emails.
Unless your community requires an on-site manager with regular hours, the firm you hire likely is working for other HOAs as well. Find out how many hours the company can devote to your HOA each month and their daily hours of operation. Ask how emergency after-hour needs are handled.
Understand fees and contracts.
Ask for a fee schedule from each potential management firm and read through each firm’s standard contract. Ideally the contract with your new management firm will run for a year with at least 60 days termination notice. If the management firm requires a longer contract, be sure it includes an acceptable termination clause.
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