Board members discuss HOA myths at a conference tableWhen considering professional management or self-management, the most effective boards arm themselves with research and facts to help them determine the proper support for their association. Make the right choice by discovering the truth behind these 7 property management myths.

Myth #1: Community associations that hire a professional management company lose control over operations, staffing and general decisions.

FACT: Your community association board is the decision-making body that works to make the best choices based on the community’s interests and its governing documents. That doesn’t change when you hire a professional management company. In fact, your management company is designed to help empower your board for decision-making. When it comes to major decisions like hiring staff, investing in capital improvements, and implementing policy changes, your management company should equip you with the support, expertise and best practices needed to run your community effectively. By taking on practical tasks like arranging staff interviews and participating in property tours, they also provide you with the bandwidth needed to make thoughtful and purposeful decisions.

Myth #2: Professional management services are unaffordable. Community associations on a tight budget cannot cover these costs.  

FACT: When it comes to the value gained by partnering with a management company, the cost of those services is often negligible in the long run. Although some boards might view a professional management partner's contract as too expensive, the partnership offers many opportunities and long-term savings. A professional management company can help with administration and board education, staffing, and developing and managing employee-related claims, which can result in significant savings for homeowners associations (HOAs) or condominiums. You can even get guidance on revenue-generating opportunities from them. For example, FirstService Residential-managed properties have access to FirstService Financial, which uses its scale to eliminate unnecessary bank fees and increase interest income on reserve fund investments. A solid management company will have the industry relationships and experience to help your HOA or condo save money and enhance service levels, property values, and resident satisfaction.

"Running a community association demands a lot of time and effort from the board of directors," said Christopher L. Pappas, senior vice president at FirstService Residential. "We're dedicated to providing the board of directors with the support and resources they need to perform their jobs more effectively, which helps make their lives easier."   

Even the best HOAs and condo communities can’t do it all.  Get a glimpse of Tampa Bay Golf and Country Club's Success Story and see how our team and resources helped the community save money.

Myth #3: Unless the community or high-rise is complex, the community association doesn’t need professional management support. The board and manager can handle everything.

FACT: Doing everything yourself isn't always the best option, regardless of the size or complexity of your community. It can be challenging for your board and managers to deal with resident feedback, communicate tough decisions, and manage financials. An HOA or condo’s board and managers are at a greater risk of burnout and making uninformed decisions if they do not receive support from a management company with expertise in areas such as HR and accounting. This can result in frequent manager and board member turnover or challenges like inadequate staffing, late vendor payments, and even legal challenges.

Myth #4: Community associations cannot get the personalized service and solutions they need from large management companies.

FACT: Many boards think that they will get lost in the shuffle if they partner with a large management company. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Larger management companies can create customized solutions for any community, leveraging their specialized knowledge, expertise, and personnel. The size and scale of many property management companies often enable them to have dedicated finance, administrative, and procurement teams to support your organization. Also, large management companies have access to local and national resources that can assist with unique challenges. For example, your HOA or condo may be considering a water sensor system that another property managed by the same large company has already implemented successfully. Your manager and management team can reach out to them immediately for expertise and guidance. Finally, the best property management companies have lifestyle experts to guide HOAs and condos on amenities and programming including food and beverage, spa and wellness, and resident events.

"FirstService Residential’s size not only works in our favor,” said Danny Ellis, president at FirstService Residential, "in fact, it’s the key to our success. To provide communities with the most comprehensive support, we leverage our network of resources across the US and Canada.”

MYTH #5: A strong manager is all a successful community association needs.

FACT: While your association manager is essential to a well-run condo or community association, they are most effective when paired with a management company’s support and resources. The most experienced managers cannot master every aspect of HOA and condo management, particularly accounting, insurance, HR, and project administration. Your professional management partner should have in-house subject matter experts and resources to guide your board and manager. The key to avoiding burnout among managers is to provide them with this support.

MYTH #6: The board will be forced to use vendors that their management company chooses.

FACT: As mentioned in Myth #1, your board is the sole decision-making body – and that applies to vendor selection as well. An ethical management company will never ask or encourage you to work with a vendor with whom they already have a relationship. A reputable and experienced management company will leverage its resources and experience with vendors and the RFP process instead. This is why it’s especially important to work with a management company that has a vast portfolio and experience working with different vendors, boards and property types. They can provide a wealth of information to help guide your decision-making process.

MYTH #7: Once a management company is brought on board, they effectively own your association’s data.

FACT: Fear not. HOAs and condos always own their own data - always. Property management companies protect and maintain your data but do not own it. Your data will be stored using the management company's software or through third-party software, which can be easily exported and uploaded into a new system.

There is often hesitation and concern when it comes to partnering with a professional management company. However, not everything is as cut and dried as it seems. Professional management is surrounded by many myths. As always, it’s critical to be aligned with your fellow board members, equip yourself with the facts about professional management and thoughtfully consider the pros and cons of each option.  

Contact us today to discuss further and see if a professional management solution is right for your association needs.

Monday January 23, 2023