HOA management is always a mix of moving parts. Balancing the goals and objectives of the board and association members—along with various personality types and ever-pressing time constraints—means keeping track of many important details. Based on our decades of providing HOA management services for associations large and small, we’ve seen which techniques help propel an association forward.
Here are four secrets to make your HOA management more successful.
Secret 1: Find the right property manager—and right management company
Your property manager relationship will go a long way to support the success of your HOA. Be sure to find the right fit. Two similar candidates might both possess the same experience and qualifications, but one will be a better personality match for the association. Don’t limit yourself to what looks good on paper. Take the time to carefully evaluate each manager’s hard and soft skills to determine which candidate will be the strongest asset in addressing your association’s short-term needs and long-term goals.
It’s important to work with a property manager whose management style supports your community objectives. However, the personality of the manager is only one part of the equation. The strongest working relationships between HOA and management company are for the long term. Therefore, it’s important to choose a company that has a solid process for vetting and training, and who can continue to develop great managers for your association in case your current manager ever decides to move on.
Secret 2: Maintain a clear focus
Issues can arise when HOA boards get stuck on items unrelated to the enjoyment of the community or the protection of property values. A common example is when a single board member begins to focus on a particular rule infraction and goes on a citation spree. This type of myopic thinking is counter-productive because it does nothing to protect property values or promote community enjoyment. Instead, it takes up time and upsets the association members.
Remember to keep the big picture in mind. Don’t become too pedantic in rule enforcement, pet projects, or personal agendas. Stay focused on the things that are important to the entire community.
Secret 3: Prioritize your work
Boards that try to get everything done often end up accomplishing very little. Prioritization is vital. HOA management is a parliamentary process, so by design, progress takes time. Decisions made the month prior might not go into effect until the following month. Successful boards are patient.
Part of the management process includes establishing accurate and achievable timelines. Make sure that you rank community issues from most to least important, then assign each to different parts of your annual calendar. Your property manager can be a huge help. They are aware of the time required to accomplish projects and can assist in determining what should be scheduled when in order to keep everything on track.
Secret 4: Be proactive about communication
When people know what’s coming and understand what’s going on, they are more engaged and happier homeowners. Successful management companies anticipate potential hiccups and communicate this information to the membership. Use all the communication channels available to you: your community’s message boards and website, e-blasts, phone calls, email, text messages and more. Inform the membership about your vision and objectives and let them know where the process currently stands.
Every association will have its own quirks and processes, so there’s no one right way to run an HOA. However, by keeping the above tips in mind, you’ll be more efficient with your time, attention and resources.