Your HOA board has decided it’s time to hire an HOA management company, and you are in charge of the interview process. You know there are probably general questions you should ask, and other things you should find out before signing any kind of contracts. But, you’re still a relatively new board member and want to do this right, so where do you start? Right here. Below are some important things to consider before you hire an HOA management company.
What is the company’s history?
Start by vising the company’s website and reading the About Us page. You’ll want to pay attention to things that will give you an idea of the company’s level of experience. For example:
- How long has it been in business?
- What services does it offer?
- What is its mission statement?
- How many homeowners associations does it manage?
- Do you get an overall good feel from what you read?
If your answer to that last bullet point is “yes” then schedule a time to meet a representative from the company.
Who would be my property manager? What kind of experience do they have?
At The Hignell Companies, a specific property manager is assigned to your Association, but you’re really hiring the entire team from the Community Association Department at Hignell. This is important to know because if your property manager is gone, there is always someone you can talk to via cell phones, email, voicemail, etc. You’re never left in the dark.
Who are your current vendors? How fast will things get done?
When things need to be repaired or replaced you want it to be done efficiently. An HOA management company has relationships with vendors they use or provides the services themselves. It’s important to know who they work with and why they choose to work with them.
How are finances handled?
One of the most important jobs of an HOA board is understanding the finances of the Association. So it’s crucial that you find out:
- How bills are paid
- How delinquencies are handled
- Who the financial team is and its structure
Request an opportunity to sit down with the management company to see what the financial statement looks like. The treasurer and board president would be the appropriate people to do this. You want to make sure the company has a very clear statement that helps people understand the finances, even though they don’t necessarily speak the “financial” language.
What do you charge for your services?
Keep in mind it’s going to be difficult for an HOA management company to give you even a ballpark figure without understanding your specific Association. A trustworthy company should need to have your CC&Rs, bylaws, budget, and do a walk-through of the property to understand what needs to be done before giving any hard number.
On the flipside, it’s important to see how the management company operates too. Property managers at The Hignell Companies will invite HOA board members to visit the office and see the environment they work in. This is a good indicator of who they are and how they operate. For example, maybe you don’t want to work with a company that has cluttered offices, but a clean, bright, uncluttered space makes you think they are organized an efficient.
If you don’t get an invitation from the prospective company, request a tour anyway.
How do you keep your board members up to date?
An HOA management company should provide educational opportunities for board members. For example, Hignell has a dinner seminar for members and an expert is invited to speak. Board members like the time to ask an expert at no extra cost, and it gives them a chance to just chat with one other.
Are there references of current board members we could talk to about your services?
A property manager should have a list of references ready to give you. If not, ask them to put one together for you. There really is no better way to find out if an HOA management company is doing a good job or not than word of mouth. You may also consider reading online reviews and looking at its social media account if it has one.
Hiring an HOA management company can be one of the best decisions an HOA board makes. When considering different companies to work with, be prepared with good questions to ask. Last tip – listen to your gut! If you have a bad feeling, then don’t hire the company. You want a positive working relationship with a company you can trust.
To learn more about how The Hignell Companies can help your HOA board, contact us today!