Self-Managed Association – or are there other options for our Association?
Self-Managed vs. professionally managed has long been debated in the association industry. Several factors behind the discussion are: we could save so much money doing it ourselves; we’re intelligent, dedicated people and frankly, this management stuff doesn’t look so hard and we’re going to lose control of our association. Wow, what misconceptions! There are other options for Associations that want to stay involved with important decisions, yet not be involved in the daily headaches.
Let’s address the first statement – we could save so much money doing it ourselves. Professional managers bring with them years of negotiating contracts in this specific industry. They know who the right vendors are to recommend and who to avoid. Managers also assist in being sure bills are paid timely and avoid late fees and penalties.
We’re intelligent, dedicated people, we can do it ourselves! Yes, you’re probably right, but why? Many people look at the total amount that Professional Managers charge for their expertise instead of looking at the cost per unit. Most associations have just three or four dedicated people doing the work and eventually they will want to stop doing the work. Now, you have records at multiple homes and no one person knows the history of why decisions are made.
Another case has been made around control. Losing control of the association is actually the opposite of what occurs. A professional manager helps you gain control: of your finances, of your budget, of your reserves, of your responsibilities. The manager is able to look at your association in the big picture, understands where you should be and works WITH your board to get you there. Procedures are not dictated to the board, but rather suggested as a way to get the end results. Working with a professional manager gets your community to a higher quality of life for the board members and the residents.
Let’s face it, volunteers do not have lots of time and usually not the expertise in how to run a smooth Association. There are many hidden responsibilities that Board members are not even aware of that need to be done in the day-to-day management of an Association. Who is going to handle the title company phone calls and emails on a daily basis and provide the necessary information usually required the same day? Who is going to provide the resale certificates to the realtors and sellers? Who is going to send out the monthly, semi-annual or annual statements to the property owners? Who is going to do the late letters and collections? Who will answer the phone calls that a resident did not get their trash collected or they want to rent the clubhouse or pool? So many daily details and the list goes on and on. Now, board members usually have their own jobs, families and/or personal activities and very little time to devote to the daily responsibilities of the Association.
An Association can also utilize a property management company and select specific items they need for their particular Association. Board Members need to be sure they stay involved in the management decisions so it is important to work closely with any management company. Typically hiring an individual to work on location at your Association as a property manager can also be very expensive and time consuming for an Association.
So, there are definitely other options for Associations that are much more time and financially efficient. Be sure to find the Best Fit Solution for your Association to become more efficient and effective for board and the members.