Finding the right HOA management company is one of the most important things the Board of directors can do to make sure their community is well run. An HOA management company takes on many of the day-to-day responsibilities of running the association. Directors serving on the Board are volunteers, and often have their own careers. An HOA management company allows the Board to delegate the day-to-day operations and focus on what really matters. This typically covers helping the Board enforce the community’s covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) and assisting with communications between the Board and homeowners. Before the HOA Board hires a new company or replaces your current one, here are the seven essential tips for HOA directors to consider when selecting an HOA management company in Arizona.
- Establish Bid and Review Criteria
First, the Board should establish the criteria that will be used for the bidding and review process. The Board should all the responsibilities and jobs that will be delegated to the HOA management company. Will they be complementing existing enforcement and communication efforts by the Board? Or will they take over as much of those day-to-day tasks as possible? Creating a detailed proposal and needs assessment will help ensure your bid request is accurate and assess which companies are worth contacting.
The second thing to consider before creating your request for a quote is how you will review and judge the received bids. There are some situations where budget limitations will make pricing most important. In other cases, their level of service and current client testimonials will hold the most weight.
- Create the Request for Proposal (RFP)
Take the criteria established by the Board and turn it into a simple template that includes all the most important points that need to be addressed by any potential HOA management company. This invites them to submit a complete breakdown of their services and address the specific needs of your community in their proposal. This can be viewed as an initial test of the company’s responsiveness and attention to detail. If they fail to address some of the specific questions or needs outlined in the RFP, that is likely a sign they will not be able to provide the level of service required.
Creating an RFP also makes it easy to send out to any management companies that might be a fit, instead of forcing an individual Board member or two to reach out to these companies one by one. It also provides an opportunity for the Board to get on the same page about expected services, key pain points, and proposed budgeting.
- Track and Review All Proposal Submissions
Once the Board has sent off RFPs to any potential HOA management companies, you should give them a few weeks to follow up with any additional questions and draft their proposal. The Board should then meet to review the RFPs. This is an opportunity to review the criteria established for selecting the best option and narrow down the best few proposals to schedule follow up interviews.
- Interview Management Companies with Best Proposals
If your HOA has followed these steps and taken time to determine your needs, there should be just a few companies that stand out based on your priorities. These HOA management companies that submitted proposals will expect a short interview to be a part of the process. It can be helpful to do these interviews over the phone or virtually to save time for everyone involved. Before conducting the interviews, the Board should establish a list of questions that must be addressed by each potential management company. There are likely to be general questions for all interviews and specific questions from certain proposals.
- Review HOA Management Contracts
Ask any of the management companies that you have included in your final potential selections to submit their contract for services. The contract can be vital to the final decisions. It is not uncommon to find some surprises or restrictive language in a particular contract that makes the final decision much easier for the Board. Once you have received the proposed contracts, have a law firm that specializes in HOAs review each of them and highlight any potential areas of concern. An experienced HOA attorney will likely be able to find parts of the contract that will be more or less favorable to your community needs. They can also help spot contracts that could include unexpected costs.
- Final Assessments Before Selecting an HOA Management Company
After all interviews have taken place, the Board should review what was learned during the interviews. This is a good opportunity to establish whether there is a clear favorite or a few potentials still left. If there are multiple companies being considered, it can be a good time to request an opportunity to speak with a current client or two from each potential management company. A company not willing to provide some access to a current client or detail some testimonials of their expertise and client care might point to some potential problems down the road.
At the Brown Law Group, we specialize in representing Arizona homeowners associations and planned communities. We routinely work closely with HOA management companies throughout the state and have helped many of our clients find the best fit for their needs. Our firm can assist with every step of the process in finding the right HOA management company. Call us today at 602-952-6925 to schedule an initial consultation or make an appointment on the contact us page of our site.
The Brown Law Group shares this article for informational purposes only, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship.