Breaking it Down
In the world of HOA’s, there are two main ways to manage your community: A board can either choose to hire out an outside HOA Management Company, or the board can choose to self-manage their HOA. There are downsides and benefits to both, but in this article, we’re breaking down how to self-manage your HOA without losing your head and deciding to terrorize the newly planted community garden in your neighborhood.
Self-Managing your HOA, whether you come from a big subdivision or a smaller neighborhood, requires a lot of time, work, and diligence It is possible to run a successful HOA and create a happy environment for residents if your team is willing to put in the work! There are many points to consider before deciding to run your HOA, but if you’ve made the decision and you’re ready to hustle, let this guide ease your mind into HOA-Management Harmony.
Dust off the Old Filing Cabinet
The one point we can’t stress enough if you’ve decided to self-manage your HOA is to GET ORGANIZED! Here are some responsibilities you will face when running your own HOA – educating your board members, planning for the association, keeping track of costs, and–most importantly– understanding legal considerations for your neighborhood.
The above are broad strokes in the painting of HOA management. You can rest assured if your brushes aren’t clean and paint cans unorganized, your masterpiece in HOA management will resemble a Jackson Pollock painting– and not in a good way. The main reason communities opt to self-manage their HOA’s is normally because it’s cheaper than hiring out a management company to do the work. If you don’t have a board with dedicated roles and responsibilities in place, chances are you’ll spend as much or more money if you had just hired help instead.
One option to consider if you’ve decided to self-manage your HOA is to use an online project management tool to keep your team organized. If you want to take it one step further, there are countless webinar courses online that offer tips for self-managing HOA’s, and HOA management software programs specifically designed to keep track of due dates, responsibilities, and tasks for your HOA.
Get Your Team Together
Even if your board has decided not to hire a management company, you still need a team of professionals backing you as you make decisions for your community. This means you’ll need to have a lawyer or law firm at the ready to consult you on legal advice. Oftentimes, HOA management companies are familiar with the legalities behind running an HOA, but if you’ve decided to self-manage, it’s crucial to have a law firm on deck to whom you can direct your questions and concerns.
In addition to a legal advice team, it’s also equally as important to hire an accounting firm to handle the HOA’s finances. We recommend hiring an accountant with experience specifically fixed in HOA finances. As you self-manage your HOA, and as these outside teams periodically pop in to lend advice and handle issues, it’s your job to make sure the pre-leg work is done for them. This means keeping a tight and consistent record of almost everything so that when you do need to get outside help, everything is ready for him/her ahead of time.
Finally, an obvious yet overlooked part of successfully self-managing your HOA is to get on the same page with your fellow HOA board members! Understanding your team’s strength and weaknesses as individuals will improve the function of your team as a whole. Perhaps someone on the board spent his career in bookkeeping– she might be the one to manage your HOA’s budgets. Maybe another member went to law school to learn real estate law, he might be the one to create your association’s rights. Getting to know each member’s background can help all of you assign HOA responsibilities to one another– and trust that they’ll be done correctly.
Rely On Your Team
The key theme shared in all of our advice for self-managing your HOA is to maintain a strong team. Volunteering as a member of your community’s HOA is a big job regardless of whether you decide to hire outside help or not, and it takes a strong team of dedicated individuals who share the common goal of bettering your neighborhood to see projects through to the end.
Self-managing your HOA is a responsibility reserved for those who agree and believe that each member of their board has what it takes to push forward the agenda of the HOA and promote a prosperous community. It requires a lot of patience, diligence, and organization, as well as discretion to know when to delegate work onto others. As long as your board understands and follows these ideas, your residents will see the changes each of you have worked hard to bring to your community!