A homeowners association manager must be able to wear many hats to be successful. The HOA manager often serves as a pillar for your HOA and offers critical assistance to the board. As such, it’s important to choose an HOA manager that demonstrates specific qualities and skills while managing your community.
What Does an HOA Manager Do?
First of all, it’s important to know the difference between an HOA manager and a property manager. Many people use these terms interchangeably, though there are clear distinctions between them.
An HOA manager or HOA management company helps homeowners associations run their community. In contrast, a property manager or property management company manages rental property that belongs to an individual or corporation. Sometimes, people will refer to an HOA manager as an HOA property manager.
HOA Manager Job Description
What do HOA management companies do? An HOA manager or management company bears many responsibilities such as overseeing day-to-day operations and the general management of the community.
Homeowners associations are led by a set of leaders known as the board of directors. Board members, though, don’t always have the time or skills necessary to perform management tasks. For this reason, many associations hire an HOA management company or manager for assistance.
Keep in mind that not all companies offer the same services. The exact HOA management company responsibilities will depend on the agreed-upon services stipulated in the management contract. Though, typical HOA property management company responsibilities do include but are not limited to the following:
- Understand the HOA’s governing documents
- Ensure the HOA complies with federal, state, and local laws
- Help prepare the annual budget
- Ensure the HOA stays within budget
- Collect dues and assessments
- Oversee invoices, receivables, payables, and delinquencies
- Secure the right insurance policies
- Provide monthly management and financial reports to the board
- Schedule and attend board meetings
- Document and keep records
- Inspect for violations
- Enforce rules and regulations consistently
- Review policies and provide recommendations
- Reply to homeowner concerns and questions
- Keep members updated through various communication channels
- Sending notices
- Maintain common areas — making sure they’re safe and properly insured
- Oversee projects
- Resolve disputes within the community
- Help facilitate board elections
- Prepare taxes
- Advise the board on various matters and decisions
- Coordinate with professionals such as attorneys, accountants, reserve specialists, etc.
Hiring an HOA Manager
Are HOA managers and HOA management companies one and the same? Although they do have the same responsibilities, HOA management companies are firms that provide management services to homeowners associations. On the other hand, HOA managers are the actual people associations deal with.
When you hire an HOA management company, they will typically assign an HOA manager to your community. After all, you can’t work with a faceless corporation. It’s also unrealistic to have different point persons for different management tasks. An HOA manager will oversee the community’s operations, support the board, and act as a liaison between you and the management company.
Qualities and Skills of a Great HOA Manager
How do you know that you have a good HOA manager? One way is to see if they make an effort to go beyond the HOA property manager job description. This shows that they truly care for your community and aren’t just doing the bare minimum. Here are other important qualities of an HOA manager.
1. A Natural Leader
What makes a good HOA manager? A good HOA manager must be confident enough to voice their opinions and not let others step over them. Some board members will be very opinionated, and the manager should know how to respond to them in a helpful and constructive way. A manager should be able to act as your HOA’s leader.
2. Calm and Professional
There may be times when an angry resident will resort to yelling or treating your manager poorly, but a good manager will remain professional in any situation.
They won’t show hurt or frustration, as that can only escalate the situation. You want an HOA manager that can handle these tense circumstances calmly. A manager with conflict resolution skills is a plus, too, since they will be able to resolve issues without needing legal interventions.
3. A Good Speaker
Communication is key, especially when it comes to community association management. The manager communicates daily with your board, residents, and vendors, so they will need to be able to properly respond to others and clearly articulate what they are thinking.
4. HOA Knowledge
This one might seem obvious, but an HOA manager should be well-versed in the workings of your HOA and its rules and regulations. This includes staying up-to-date on federal and state laws regarding HOA communities, which is so important for ensuring the HOA is running according to the law.
5. Quick to Respond
Problems that are brought to the manager should be fixed quickly and efficiently. This can always be a challenge since HOA managers have a lot on their plates, but an effective manager will be organized and prepared for responding to problems in a timely manner. If community members see that their manager is quick to respond, they are more likely to approach the manager for their concerns.
6. Contractor Knowledge
It really helps to have a manager with general contracting knowledge. Of course, they don’t need to have the same skills as a contractor, but knowing what the process involves will make communication more successful between manager and contractor.
The manager will be able to understand the expected time period and rate for projects. Your manager may even provide valuable insights that positively influence community projects and timelines.
7. Open Communication
HOA managers should be able to communicate well with all types of individuals, including residents, the board, and vendors or contractors, despite any differences in background, opinions, or beliefs. If a manager has conflicting thoughts, they can still explain their side — but in a way that is neutral and respectful to all parties involved.
8. Accounting Experience
An HOA manager doesn’t need to have professional accountant skills, but it’s helpful to have general accounting knowledge. This goes a long way when maintaining the monthly, quarterly, and yearly HOA budget, which the manager handles.
But if financial services are a forte of an HOA management company, financial expertise could be one of the skills of a manager. You’ll be able to rely on your manager when it’s time to make important financial decisions for the community.
9. Mediation Skills
When running an HOA, the manager will have to deal with a diverse group of people. So, there will be butting of heads and disagreements on correct procedures. Dispute resolution is an integral part of HOA property management duties.
A successful HOA manager will know how to negotiate between parties and help all come to a compromise. No one will get everything they desire, of course, but proper mediation can leave people happy enough with the results and feeling like their opinion has been heard and considered.
10. Listening Skills
It’s crucial that your HOA manager be good at listening. After all, communication is one of the biggest components of community management. Many people will come to your manager with their concerns (sometimes angry concerns), and they should have the patience to listen and try to understand each member’s situation so they can help effectively.
11. A Multitasker
Having many tasks can be overwhelming for anyone. However, a good manager will be able to handle multiple HOA manager responsibilities and tasks at the same time — if needed. Attending to one matter at a time is still ideal, but you want a manager that can multitask during peak or busy hours. They won’t collapse from the pressure of having to accomplish a never-ending list of tasks.
12. Always Willing to Learn
It’s impossible to have a perfect manager, especially if you’ve only begun working together. However, one of the best qualities to have in a manager is the willingness to learn.
Even a good HOA manager will make mistakes from time to time, but a great manager will be one that can learn from their mistakes. An ideal manager also takes the time to expand their knowledge base, so that they can impart valuable information to their communities.
Trust Is Imperative
The relationship between the HOA manager and the board members is crucial to the success of your community. That’s why you want to find someone who possesses these 12 qualities and skills.
Apart from that, though, it’s important to find a manager that you can trust. When there is trust, the HOA board and manager become more productive and efficient. Through this collaboration, you’ll be able to meet the needs of your community and its residents.
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- How To Pick An HOA Management Company That’s Right For Your Community