Good HOA managers make a huge difference in how an association functions. They are the face that homeowners see, and the person with whom most will communicate. It is important, therefore, that they exhibit many of the qualities that are necessary for a leadership position. Aside from strong interpersonal skills, a good HOA manager should also be able to turn in a solid performance in the tasks you expect from him/her to do.
What Are the Qualities of a Good HOA Manager?
What can you expect from a good HOA manager? Some of these qualities are apparent in the first meeting, while others can emerge only after the HOA manager has worked for a few months with the association.
When evaluating your HOA manager, you also need to consider the terms they are working with. Some HOA managers are engaged in onsite work. That is, the HOA manager serves under the board, typically for just one community, and has a more or less full-time engagement with that association. An HOA manager working under this type of arrangement will usually handle larger budgets, broader responsibilities, and perhaps even a small team that they manage, as well.
Other HOA managers serve different communities, usually as an employee of an HOA management company. This type of engagement lets the HOA manager work with several communities, serving for several associations for varying stretches of time.
An HOA manager that works with a portfolio of several communities will usually have a smaller share of the responsibilities of running each association. On the other hand, you can expect their wide range of experience under different boards to be incredibly helpful.
Here are a few things that the board of an HOA community should be looking for when hiring an HOA manager. Whether as an onsite manager on the ground, or one that manages a portfolio of several managed communities, good HOA managers have these things in common.
1. Solid Grasp of HOA Manager Responsibilities
A good HOA manager will have a solid handle on their typical responsibilities, and you can expect them to be reliable when it comes to those. What sets a good HOA manager from the middling one often lies in the way they approach their responsibilities. The good HOA managers don’t just rely on their to-do lists — they proactively go out there, make an assessment on the situation in the community, and identify the things that need to be done in priority order.
HOA manager responsibilities typically fall under these categories, and it’s important for a good HOA manager to have a good grounding on all of them:
- Assist the board with legal compliance
- Oversee financial decisions with the board
- Board and member management for the community, which includes overseeing the relations between the HOA board and homeowners.
- Managing architectural control, architectural review committee (ARC) applications, and the information related to those
- Coordinating with vendors and service providers
- Organizing the agenda and schedule for HOA meetings
- Responding to and relaying inquiries and feedback from residents to the board
2. Good Understanding of the Board’s Goals and Objectives
A good HOA manager should, in time, have a solid understanding of the direction that the board wants to take the community. It takes an excellent HOA manager to learn how the unique circumstances of a particular community and its board led to its current state and what it takes to take the community to the next level.
Both the board and the HOA manager should be in agreement as to what needs to happen in the community and be able to put those in concrete plans that the HOA manager can then help to execute.
3. Good Knowledge of Established Practices
Not all HOA board members have the background to stay current with the best practices when it comes to community management. That’s where a good HOA manager comes in. An HOA manager that stays abreast of how the most successful managed communities do things is one that can bring in fresh ideas to the board meeting.
A typical HOA board manager can come in and suggest a decision for a particular community issue. A good HOA board manager, on the other hand, can come up with an idea for an actual policy that the board can use to keep the same issue under control for good.
Even if a board member offers resistance to a new policy, a good HOA manager can come up with examples of how a certain practice has been successfully established in other communities. In the end, a good HOA manager can help establish policies and best practices that will still benefit the community years after the manager’s contract has ended.
4. Competent Financial and Budgeting Administration Skills
A good HOA manager should be able to help a board manage its budget and finances in a way that the board can easily cross-check. A good grounding in financial administration, budgeting, and transparency policies are all pretty much mandatory for any HOA manager that is involved with running the association’s accounts.
5. Familiar with Legal Requirements
The board should always comply with all legal requirements, and it’s up to the HOA manager to guide them to make sure they are good on everything. Starting with the basics, a good HOA manager should see to it that the board is in full compliance when it comes to their corporate status, their business operation status, and their taxes. After that, the HOA manager should be able to go over all current activities to see that they are in line with the governing rules, state civil code, city and local regulations, and all pertinent decisions.
6. Can Be Trusted with Confidential Matters
Sharing a similar experience from another HOA is fine and all, but a good HOA manager knows where to draw a line when it comes to a specific association, board member, or vendor details. The board trusts the HOA manager with certain confidential information, and it’s important for an association to know that their information is in safe hands.
A Good HOA Manager Is a Partner You Can Trust
The decision of who to hire as an HOA manager is one of the most important that the association can make. A good HOA manager who fits these qualities and more can be hard to find. If you need help in finding one for your community, just give us a call.
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