Does your complex or neighborhood have an HOA? Is it primarily managed by the neighborhood resident in a volunteer capacity? Many neighborhoods opt for the volunteer approach to HOA management in order to save on the fees associated with a professional manager. However, the volunteer approach may sometimes be more expensive in the long run. If you've used volunteers in the past, there may come a point when it makes sense to switch to a professional.
Here are three signs that it's time:
1. Your biggest volunteers are young. Yes, you may have lawyers, accountants, and other competent professionals running the HOA on a day-to-day basis. However, it's important to consider the demographics of your volunteers. Are your biggest volunteers young in their careers? Are they just getting married or starting families?
There's a real possibility that may move at some point. People are generally more likely to move when they're building their family or starting their career. If you're dependent on them and they move, will you be able to fill that critical role?
Using an HOA management company ensures that you'll have consistent management with no break in service every time a resident moves out.
2. You're getting complaints. Homeowners associations are notorious for causing ire and frustration among residents. What may seem like intentions on you and the board's part could actually cause serious inconvenience on the part of the neighborhood residents. Maybe you've chosen to have the sidewalks cleaned and repaired at an inconvenient time.
Maybe the pool isn't being maintained to the community's standards and expectations. Maybe you and the board are having trouble keeping transparent records of how money is being spent. There's no reason you should have to bear this responsibility. Bring in a professional to handle those issues for you.
3. You have a long list of repairs and maintenance. Far too often, volunteer-run HOAs fall behind on scheduled maintenance because they simply don't have time to get to them. If you're in that position, it may be time to bring in professionals. They can set a repair schedule and line up contractors to complete the jobs. As an added bonus, many HOA management companies have discounts with contractors, so they may be able to complete the work at less expense to the HOA.
You can also create a hybrid approach where you hire the HOA to complete some tasks and still use volunteers to complete others. Talk to several HOA companies to see which setup best suits your neighborhood's needs.