If your HOA board has hired a manager for the first time, there are a number of things it can anticipate the management company will ask for. The Board can prepare for the manager in advance by gathering specific documents and records pertaining to your homeowners association. Then, the HOA board itself can be proactive for the Association by communicating with homeowners and starting the relationship with the manager with an open mind.
1. Gather Current Documents
As the new point-person in the Association, an HOA manager will need up-to-date documents to understand the policies, procedures, and even personality of your homeowners association. These include:
- Rules & Regulations
- Architectural procedures
- A current set of financials
- Tax returns
- Current list of homeowners
- Updated list of projects that are currently happening or plan to happen in the next 6 to 12 months
- Current list of vendors, including the Association’s attorney
The manager will refer to these when answering questions, recommending a course of action, and helping plan for the Association.
Tip: Arrange the documents above in a packet or binder for better organization!
2. Locate Past Records
The HOA management company also acts as a keeper of the records, and will store the records of your homeowners association. Hopefully, your HOA board has been keeping good records of:
- Board meeting agendas and minutes
- Correspondence with homeowners
- Vendor invoices
- Insurance policies
- Tax returns/audits
- Any past litigation
- Reserve Study
You may have to dust off some old boxes or search through archives, but you’ll be a step ahead of the game if you can gather these in advance.
Tip: Provide past records in chronological order for quicker reference!
3. Introduce the New Manager to Members
A letter from the HOA Board President to the Association membership introducing the new manager sets the stage for a positive relationship between the manager and homeowners, and helps members feel comfortable with the idea of having a manager. It’s also a way to recognize that future communications will be coming from the manager.
Tip: If you live in an active homeowners association, consider having a social event to meet the new manager so homeowners can have a face to go with a name.
4. Stay Engaged
It may not be easy for HOA board members to pass the baton so to speak – or they may be thrilled to do so! Either way, beginning to work with an HOA manager will involve a period of transition time. Board members should be encouraged to be open minded and informed by:
- Contacting the manager anytime there are questions
- Scheduling a time to sit down and discuss the flow of the year, i.e.: starting projects, conducting a reserve study, preparing taxes, putting together the annual budget, new laws taking affect, etc.
- Prepare for the first board meeting by going over the financial statement so they are comfortable with the format, what it means, know what they’re looking at, and can easily understand, so things go smoother
Tip: A good HOA manager will get the board members involved right away to foster the confidence and trust that the decision to hire a manager was the right decision!
If your HOA board made the decision to hire a manager, congratulations! The suggestions above will be helpful as you start working together to make your homeowners association a successful and enjoyable place to live.