Much of a property management company’s success with your HOA is influenced by the relationship between the manager and your board of directors. We often hear from prospective clients who want to know if the service they are receiving from their current property management company is standard practice or if they can expect more from their manager.
Keep in mind that your property manager’s goal is always to increase your property values and help your HOA board run your association in an efficient and effective manner. Read on to discover the four key behaviors that you should expect. If your current manager isn’t living up to these basic behaviors, it might be time to start looking for a new management partner.
Follow up and follow through
Lack of follow up and sluggish follow-through are the biggest concerns we hear from boards and residents who are dissatisfied with their current HOA property management company. Successful property managers prioritize communication. They know the importance of acknowledging receipt of calls and emails and being available to answer questions. At most, it should take no more than 24 hours for your property manager to return your call.
At Keystone Pacific, our policy is to return communications as quickly as possible within a reasonable period. We generally return morning calls and emails that afternoon and the following morning for communications we receive the afternoon prior.
Taking action on checklist items is equally as important, as it’s your property manager’s responsibility to act at the direction of your board. Of course, depending on the specific directive, follow through will take time. However, the ideal property manager will provide you with regular status updates and progress reports to keep all stakeholders informed.
Advice on business decisions
As part of their role in preserving the values of the homes in your HOA, your property manager should provide sound advice and expert guidance on business decisions that affect your association.
- Is the time right to perform maintenance on common area structures?
- When should you invest in re-paving the streets?
- Are there enough funds in operating and reserve accounts to perform all maintenance and operational tasks?
As an expert in all subjects related to the successful running of an HOA, your property manager’s job is to keep your association on track. When your board makes a decision, your property manager should be proactive about providing recommendations based on best business practices.
- Do you receive information and recommendations in a timely manner?
- Is the information clear and digestible, facilitating easier decision making?
- Does your property manager put careful thought into their recommendations?
- In hindsight, did their recommendation make sense for your HOA?
You have the right to expect that your property manager’s advice will always support the best interest of your association.
Ability to execute
When the board makes a decision, it’s your property manager’s job to act quickly–or provide a reasonable timeline as to when they will be able to move forward. If your board issues a directive to your property manager and it seems like the request has fallen down a black hole, it’s a red flag. Your property manager should maintain (and be able to provide at any time) a list of action items that they are handling, based on decisions made by the board.
Make sure to read all materials provided by your manager before arriving at board meetings. This will enable you to ask pertinent questions and reach decisions more quickly. As with any business relationship, the interaction between the property manager and board of directors is one of ongoing back and forth. It’s the property manager’s responsibility to issue sound business advice and act at the direction of the board, and it’s the board’s responsibility to make timely decisions in the best interest of the association.
Formal and informal education
Your board is comprised of volunteers, so you are not expected to have a complete scope of knowledge about the ins and outs of running an HOA. Your property manager is there to help. Many HOA property management companies offer specific orientations for new board members to equip them with a solid understanding of the responsibilities and operations involved in running an association. A formal orientation is usually supplemented by ad hoc education based on various issues facing your community. This education can take place during scheduled training sessions conducted by your property manager or on a one-off basis via phone before your board meeting.
If you have questions about your meeting packet, contact your manager prior to the meeting for an explanation. If the majority of your board requires more education about a particular topic, speak with your manager about formally adding a quick tutorial to the agenda of your next board meeting.
A clear understanding of what you should expect from your property manager can help you evaluate how well your manager meets the needs of your community. If you’re unhappy with the service your manager is providing, speak to your HOA property management company. By clearly articulating what isn’t working, you take the important first step toward correcting the issue.