Self-Managing Your HOA vs. Hiring a Community Association Manager
Lowering operational costs of a HOA and thus reducing membership fees is a temptation that could likely entice many people in your neighborhood. Sooner or later, discussions will circulate about whether you really need the services of Community Association Managers (CAMs). Using a self-managed HOA structure does offer a lot of potential savings on behalf of management expenses, but it’s important to see both sides of the coin before embarking on a venture you may later regret.
Why a Community Association Manager is worth it
In addition to lowering board expenses, turning into a self-managed HOA provides more clarity on the association’s work for the local community. Truly, a DIY association is more open in terms of individual resident participation in the community’s everyday tasks, giving more power to the actual members of the HOA. It can backfire, though, resulting in constant disputes about policies and procedures as the members start questioning every move of the association itself. As a result, relationships between neighbors will certainly grow worse and the tension between residents will make it more difficult to efficiently manage the association.
When overwhelmed by the idea of reducing the HOA’s operational costs, people tend to forget that there is a reason for those expenses, and it is the simple fact that running an association is, in fact, a full-time job. Even in case you find enough volunteers to carry out everyday tasks such as small repairs and infrastructure maintenance, you’ll soon realize that preparing financial documents and tax reports, and abiding a whole lot of other legal regulations is not a walk in the park. Frankly, without a professional with sufficient education and experience in HOA management, the association will be facing a lot of legal liabilities sooner or later.
A partial solution, as enthusiasts of a self-managed HOA will advocate, is using a paid software program to help manage all the paperwork. Unfortunately, as a stand alone solution, these programs offer little help in solving the association’s management issues. It works in concert with the work of a CAM.
No program can ever replace a living person when it comes to assessing all your association’s needs and goals, and minding all the variables revolving around your specific community in order to properly plan the HOA’s management actually takes quite a lot of effort.
Hiring a CAM obviously costs money, but it ensures that all your responsibilities are taken care of professionally and efficiently. In fact, improved maintenance will result in increased market value, making a professionally run HOA the better financial choice, too. An experienced management firm has the experience and tools necessary to properly execute all aspects of managing an HOA, letting you sleep tight, knowing that everything has been taken care of.