There is a lot of confusion about the difference between property management and Homeowner Associations (HOAs). While there are many similarities, the association and property managers offer different services and benefits to homeowners.
Both are designed to protect property values and ensure safe and well-managed communities. The primary goal is to provide residents with the services and amenities they desire and pay for in their monthly dues.
In this blog post, we will clear up the confusion and give you a better understanding of both. In the end, you will understand the difference and be able to make the right decision based on your needs.
What Are Homeowners Associations?
A Homeowners Association (HOA) is a group of residents who share common interests or concerns regarding their community. The purpose of HOAs is to provide services such as maintenance, security, and maintaining the community’s landscaping.
All homeowners in the community must pay monthly or annual dues, which go towards maintaining the common areas, paying for insurance, and other operational costs.
In addition, the rules that govern the organization may be different depending on where you live.
Most HOA board members allow anyone to join if they live in the area where the association operates.
The cost of membership varies based on the size of the association. Some associations charge annual HOA dues, while others require that members pay only for specific services.
- HOAs are governed by state laws that provide homeowners with protection.
- It saves money. Everyone pays the HOA dues no matter how large or small their home.
- You get benefits like lawn care services, trash pickup, etc.
- Your home warranty will cover damage caused to common facilities if the association has approved it.
- You get peace of mind knowing the grounds are being cared for.
- It gives you more freedom. Instead of relying on one company for maintenance, you get multiple options for things like landscaping and amenities.
- The HOA board members may not always act in the best interest of the homeowners.
- HOAs can be expensive to run and maintain.
- HOAs may not have the same level of experience or expertise as property managers when managing a community.
What Does a Property Manager Do?
HOA Property Managers play a vital role in maintaining the quality of homes and apartments. They also ensure tenants pay rent on time and comply with local laws. In addition, they are responsible for hiring competent employees to maintain properties in the community.
In most cases, HOA property managers are required to be licensed. This means they have completed specific training programs and passed proficiency tests before being permitted to manage houses and apartments.
They must regularly check the home’s roof, windows, doors, appliances, plumbing fixtures, and electrical wiring. For example, pipes, tubes, switches, fuses, and wires are checked monthly. If something goes wrong, it can be fixed immediately.
Property Managers have to know how everything works, and they must keep the surrounding area clean, including the lawns, streets, sidewalks, walkways, and parking lots.
The homeowners association management company may also be required to do minor repairs such as replacing damaged door locks, caulking cracks, tiling walls, and repairing broken fences.
Typically property managers work with multiple properties at once. During peak times, this workload can become overwhelming.
To ensure everything runs smoothly, HOA property managers must establish good communication with all relevant parties— homeowners, contractors, and even neighbors.
In many cases, they coordinate the activities of subcontractors such as plumbers, electricians, painters, gardeners, carpenters, and remodelers.
Besides their regular duties, the managers provide residents with helpful information about their homes and features. They can do this through brochures, letters, and websites.
- Regular checks are conducted to ensure safety and hygiene standards are maintained.
- Regular inspections are enforced to prevent problems.
- A system that helps to cut down on maintenance costs is in place.
- Coordination of routine maintenance and repairs is a top priority.
- All necessary documentation is provided in case any disputes arise.
- They have a better reputation in the community and the ability to attract new residents.
- Attempts to contact a property manager can be difficult, as they may have many other clients they are trying to manage simultaneously.
- Depending on its unique characteristics, what works for one community may not work for another.
- Property managers may not have enough resources to enforce rules if homeowners are delinquent on their fees or other payments.
- If the property manager does not take action, the delinquent homeowner can do whatever they want.
How Do HOAs Differ from Property Management?
The main difference is a group of homeowners typically owns HOAs, while property managers are contracted to manage homes on behalf of homeowners.
HOAs are governed by state laws, while property managers are governed by the contract they sign with the homeowner association. HOAs must have certain documents filed with the state, while property managers do not.
HOAs typically have a board of directors who make and enforce rules, while property managers don’t. Additionally, HOAs establish rules about how property can be used within the community and manage common areas like parks, pools, and other public grounds.
In a nutshell, HOAs are very restrictive while Property Managers are not, and many issues can be overlooked.
Property Manager duties are usually limited to managing the day-to-day operations of individual units and ensuring owners who use their services pay rent on time.
Property managers have the owners’ interests at heart, and they will work to ensure common areas are well maintained, pool areas are kept safe, and all property owners are getting their fair share of services.
Lastly, HOAs typically come together to offer services with group membership. These homes can be in the same neighborhood or within several different communities.
So, which is better for managing a community – an HOA or a property manager?
The answer depends on the needs of the community. For example, if the community is small and only needs someone to collect dues and maintain the common areas, an HOA may be sufficient.
However, suppose the community is large and needs someone to handle day-to-day operations, such as marketing the property and screening tenants. In that case, a property manager may be a better option.
In general, HOAs are more effective in managing communities because they must follow state laws, have certain documents filed with the state, and have a board of directors who make and enforce rules.
On the other hand, property managers are not required to follow state laws or have certain documents filed with the state.
They also typically do not have a board of directors.
While property managers may be a good option for some communities, they are not as effective in managing communities as HOAs.
Although there are some downsides to having an HOA, they are generally more effective in managing communities than property managers. This is mainly due to how they must follow state laws, have certain documents filed with the state, and have a board of directors who make and enforce rules.
Homeowners should consider these factors when deciding whether or not to form an HOA in their community. More often than not, the benefits of having an HOA outweigh any drawbacks.