5 Ways to Choose the Right HOA

choose the right hoa

When it comes to your property, your community, and your lifestyle, decision-making processes require careful consideration of what is at stake. Therefore, the task of choosing the right third-party company to manage your HOA cannot be taken lightly. Here are some tips to choose the right HOA for your unique community.

Board-level discussions begin the journey in the right direction. Then, to make informed decisions on which HOA management company is best for your community, follow these essential steps.

  1. Know before you go

A familiar phrase, yet an important starting point for your search, is having a clear picture of the overarching needs and expectations of the HOA. The decision to seek external management has already been made, of course, but the Board should also be united on what levels or types of services your HOA will. To this end, Board members might consider the following questions:

  • Do we need onsite management?
  • How frequent will in-person or on-location engagement be needed (e.g., meetings, inspections)?
  • What HOA management credentials or certifications are necessary to comply with our HOA Bylaws and state requirements?
  • How much is or will be budgeted for HOA management?
  1. Look for specialization

Now begins the actual searching part of the process, which can include online searches, word-of-mouth referrals, phone book (yes, they still exist) ads, and local business organizations like a Chamber of Commerce. In addition, a specialized online directory like HOAManagement.com may help your initial search.

The key is not necessarily where to look for, but what to look for, regarding prospective management companies. At least initially, it is best to limit your search to companies that specialize in HOA management, rather than rental-type property management.

  1. Narrow the field

Aim for three companies that fit within the criteria set by the Board to interview first, although it is always good to have one to two alternates in the waiting. Factors to help narrow the prospect field include:

  1. Ask the right questions

The interview process may take on various forms via phone, in-person, one-on-one, group interview, and so on. Regardless of the type of interviews your Board conducts, asking specific and pointed questions are key to obtaining a clear picture of each prospective HOA management company on your list. Make sure your interviews include these seven questions:

  • How long have you been managing community associations, either HOA or COA?
  • What services does your company include? What service(s) requires most of your time?
  • How will you choose a manager for our community? Will we have input on this decision?
  • How do you handle maintenance (e.g., company crew, subcontractors)?
    How does your after-hours and emergency service(s) work?
  • How often will you communicate with us?
  • What is the status of your credentials, recent certifications, insurances (e.g., liability, errors and omissions)?
  • What are your bond limits?
  1. Make the best choice for your HOA

Yes, this is the culmination of your due diligence. Ultimately, the company that fits best will be determined by not only references, reviews, and interviews, but also by how well or how “right” the Board feels with the company’s representatives

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