Switching your management company may seem like a lot of work, but the success of your HOA is worth it. When the association/management company relationship is working well, it makes life easier for everyone involved. On the other hand, when the relationship is faltering, it can create problems when trying to achieve even the smallest of community goals.
How can you tell if it’s time to move on from your management company? Here are five signs that it’s time to find a new HOA management partner.
Sign #1: Your manager is changing often
As with any profession, people move on to new opportunities, so there is likely to be some turnover over the course of any long-term professional engagement with your management company. However, if you have multiple managers occupying the position within a year or so, that can indicate that there is serious instability at your homeowners association management company. A revolving door of managers can cause problems for your community because each new person starts from scratch. This lack of continuity can interrupt your community’s forward momentum in accomplishing important goals.
Sign #2: Routine and pervasive lack of communication
If “radio silence” comes to mind when you think of your manager, it’s probably time to move on. Quality homeowners association management is heavily dependent on communication. Clear and open communication between manager and association is an integral part of the service provided by your HOA management company. If you have left messages or sent an email that hasn’t been returned – or even acknowledged – for a week, that means it’s probably time for you seek a new management company. Managers may not be able to answer your question immediately, but a great manager will respond to your message within at least 24 hours to let you know that they received your inquiry and are looking into it.
Sign #3: Failure to follow up or follow through
It’s the manager’s job to bring all of the board’s decisions to fruition. This means setting a clear plan of action that includes next steps, action items, ongoing status and final wrap-up. The board should know the status of every project at all times, without having to track each step themselves. If you feel like the status of community improvement projects have fallen into a black hole and your manager has not provided a projected timeline for each, it’s time to look for someone who will keep you in the loop.
Sign #4: Poor financial transparency
As an association member, you have the right to know the status of your HOA’s finances at all times. Your manager should provide the board with detailed, updated financials that clearly demonstrate how much cash is on hand and how much is in the reserves. For community improvement projects, your manager should make sure that vendors stick to their bids and deliver on their promises. If your manager has to scramble to put together your financial statements, or you haven’t seen a statement in months, it means they’re obscuring your records, either intentionally or inadvertently. You should find a homeowners association management company that is more professional with their recordkeeping.
Sign #5: No real guidance or advice
Your HOA manager should be able to guide you through the details of state code, your community’s CC&Rs and rules & regulations, and provide thoughtful business guidance for your HOA. While it falls on the board’s shoulders to make all decisions for the community, a quality manager should provide vital support. The involves things like comparing vendor bids and making recommendations, guiding the board through compliance violation processes and communicating with the membership to build a stronger sense of community. HOA managers that simply act on the board’s directives without providing any proactive advice or input are not delivering top-not service. You have the right to work with a management company that does.
A great HOA/manager relationship provides a huge benefit to the association. The members and board know what’s best for their community, while the management company provides expertise in best practices and regulation. At its best, this partnership supports strong, smart decision-making that is in the best interest of the HOA. However, if you feel like your association is struggling because your management company is falling short on any of the above, don’t be afraid to start shopping around.
Want to know more about how expert management from Keystone can support your HOA? Contact us today and let’s talk.