Successful HOA management depends on a solid partnership between your homeowners association management company and the association’s board and membership. Your community manager (or “HOA manager”) plays an important role in ensuring the association runs smoothly. Your manager is present at board meetings and may work on-site in your community, but you may not realize the full scope of duties they perform.
Here’s a quick run-down of this vital position.
HOA board vs. management company: who does what
Before digging into the specifics of what HOA managers do daily, it’s important to understand the key distinctions between the roles and responsibilities of the HOA board versus the tasks your homeowners association management company performs. In short, the management company is employed by the association to carry out the association’s directives. The management company offers industry expertise and recommendations on best practices, but all decision-making power rests with the association’s board.
Your HOA’s central point of contact
Though employed by the homeowners association management company, the manager’s job is to serve the association. Whether working on-site or managing a small portfolio of other associations in your area, your manager is the central hub of information exchange between the board, management company, and association members (homeowners). They’re the day-to-day administrators for the association, keeping an eye on property maintenance, handling common area issues, and managing service requests. In addition to boots-on-the-ground support, HOA managers perform these important functions:
- They prepare the board to make great decisions. Your HOA manager—with back-end support and resources at your management company—give your board all the information necessary to make great business decisions. This includes providing accurate and complete financials, soliciting bids for association maintenance, ensuring the board is advised of state code, making sure the association’s governing documents are current and compliant, and providing ongoing education to the board.
The HOA manager helps facilitate board meetings by setting a schedule, communicating the schedule to the board and homeowners (for open session meetings), ensuring the meetings stay on track, and taking meeting minutes. Managers prepare a thorough set of documents (called a “board packet”) before each board meeting to help board members make the best decisions for the association. This packet also includes the manager’s recommendations on the best course of action. However, as previously mentioned, all decisions rest with the board alone.
- They provide sound business advice. A quality HOA manager will draw on their professional certifications, industry expertise, and years of experience to provide recommendations to the board. For issues that extend beyond the HOA management company’s purview, the manager will loop in other relevant consultants (ex. attorneys, irrigation specialists, pool maintenance specialists, specialty landscapers, etc.) The manager coordinates communications and traffics information between these key advisors on behalf of the association.
- They carry out the board’s directives. After the board issues a decision, the manager executes the board’s orders. This often involves CC&R enforcement, which is critical to maintaining property values and helps keep the community from appearing aged. Managers also develop project schedules, ensure contracts are signed and completed, and make sure projects are completed in scope. Some of the tools managers use include action lists, work order lists, violation reports, and task management software. These tools are all in place to generate comprehensive documentation and promote transparency.
- Property maintenance supervision. Ensuring that the community is properly maintained consumes the bulk of the manager’s time allocation. Implementing the board’s vision requires vendor qualification and monitoring as well as overseeing maintenance needs. Community managers perform periodic on-site inspections to monitor common areas, qualify prospective bids, inspect work completed by association vendors, and identify potentially problematic areas.
- They facilitate communications. HOA managers serve as the central point of communication for the association’s membership. Mangers are available by phone, email, and in-person to answer questions, welcome new homeowners, listen to homeowner concerns, and direct homeowners toward useful tools and resources. Managers are also tasked with maintaining the HOA’s communications platforms, which may include social media, on-site notice boards, community newsletters, email blasts, and more.
- They help build a sense of community. A strong sense of connection between neighbors supports property values and helps homeowners get the most out of living in an HOA. In addition to providing new homeowners with a welcome packet to help orient them to the community, managers apply their creativity and organizational skills to help HOA boards develop initiatives that strengthen the association’s sense of community. This may include event planning and execution, creative ideas for amenities usage, and suggestions to help homeowners take full advantage of all the features of the community.
Behind every great manager is a stellar HOA management company
Every HOA manager you see in your community has the support of a full team at your homeowners association management company. Here is a brief list of some of the key activities we perform “behind-the-scenes” at Keystone:
- Financial reporting
- Annual report preparation
- Annual operating & reserve budgets
- Annual audit preparation and management
- Banking activities
- Escrow processing (new developments)
- Assessment collection
- Architectural processing services
- Managing online member & board portals
- Creating and hosting community websites
- California Civil Code compliance
- Board training programs
HOA managers are more than the face of the management company. A strong relationship between your property manager, management company, board, and membership creates the foundation that protects property values and ensures your community is a vibrant, inviting place to live.
Want to know more about how Keystone can improve HOA management for your community? Contact us to start a conversation.