November 17, 2020

How to Become a More Effective HOA Manager

Do you manage an HOA and sometimes find yourself struggling to stay on top of all your tasks? Are you wondering how you could become more effective at your work? 

Let’s face it; a good manager is the heart and soul of any HOA. They ensure that the association runs smoothly, after all. The HOA manager would also execute practically all of the association’s tasks. Many HOAs hire a property manager, especially to reduce the board members’ workload.  

But that often results in one hell of a job to do. If you’re in that situation too and wonder how you could do it all and deliver the results needed, this post is for you. 

You’ll learn tips that will help you - an HOA manager - to become more effective in your work on this page. 

But let’s begin by reviewing your current situation in detail.


Typical Duties of HOA Manager

In a typical HOA, the manager handles almost everything relating to the workings of the association. They also enforce the community’s rules and regulations and often assist the board in any issues relating to evaluating and updating existing rules. 

But that’s quite a vague description of the job, isn’t it? Because for one, there are so many things you need to do in any of the areas we’ve mentioned above. 

So, in practice, being an HOA manager means that you have to oversee:

  • CC&R violations enforcement. That includes property inspections to ensure compliance with the HOA’s rules and regulations, sending violations notices to property owners, following-up, and managing disputes. 
  • Maintenance of the common areas. 
  • Collection of association fees from residents and ensuring that payments are processed promptly.
  • Keeping and maintaining financial records and budgeting (both short and long-term) and financial planning. 
  • Overseeing any works carried out in the community, including dealing with third-party contractors, hiring and managing them, and so on.
  • Communicating with residents and notifying them of any new developments in the HOA as well as the community.
  • Managing internal communications with HOA’s board of directors and the management team.
  • Managing HOAs records and all the governing documents.
  • Dealing with insurance and loans on behalf of an association, and more. 

The job keeps you busy at all times. That also means that you must develop ways to improve your efficiency to deliver the results the board expects you to make it. 

Well, here are a few tips to help you with that. 

How to Become an Even More Effective HOA Manager - 4 Essential Ways

#1. Streamline Your Work with Dedicated Software

I’m always surprised how many tasks HOAs still perform by hand. All the while, various software packages can help streamline HOAs’ work, free the manager’s time, and improve their performance.

Most software packages will automate various tasks, provide instant access to the data, and organize and maintain it much easier. 

Take tracking and enforcing CC&R violations, for example. As an HOA manager, it is your job to know exactly where you are in the process of resolving them. 

You need to keep records of each violation and its status. You must inspect the community and enter new violations or update the existing records. You must take and attach high-quality photos to each case to build concrete evidence, track repeat offenders, and more. 

And yes, you can do it with a spreadsheet. Unfortunately, keeping all those records manually will take an incredible amount of time. 

With the dedicated software, like HOALife, for example, you can do most of the work from your mobile device while you’re inspecting the area. Then, you can continue the work in the comfort of your home or office. Finally, the software will also automate some of the work for you. It will send out violation notices and issue comprehensive inspection reports that please the HOA board. 

All in all, just this one piece of software will save you hours of manual data entry and processing, increasing your effectiveness and the results you deliver in the process. 

#2. Stay On Top of the Association’s Finances

I admit that this advice may sound like a no-brainer. Unfortunately, as I’ve noticed repeatedly, it is something that some HOA managers tend to struggle with. 

In fact, many HOAs struggle with financial oversight, as well as budgeting and planning.

The thing is, it is the manager’s job to understand their HOA’s financial position. They must monitor the budget and ensure that the association has the funds to cover any planned works, and there is something left for when the unexpected happens. 

One of the worst things that can happen is for you to be questioned by the board about finances and not giving them the full picture. 

For that reason, develop a habit to keep all the HOA’s financial records meticulously. Review them regularly too, and stay on top of other financial matters of the association:

  • Collecting due, 
  • Tracking expenses and spending throughout the year, 
  • Budgeting and financial reviews. 

TIP: You can use software to automate many of such processes as well. If you’re wondering which option to use, look at our list of the best HOA management software packages. 

#3. Work Closely with the HOA’s Board

As the HOA’s manager, you serve at the board’s pleasure and answer to those people as well. 

The above also means that the board will set your goals and policies and regulate other HOA aspects. Your job is to implement and execute them on a day-to-day basis. 

Working on the HOA every day, you often have the biggest insight into the association, the community, and the neighborhood. As a result, you can and should act as the voice of reason and experience for the Board.

Your experience can guide the board and help them manage the community with the most up-to-date insight and information. 

For that to happen, though, you must gain a position of expertise and work closely with the board. 

#4. Develop Patience with People

Dealing with people is part and parcel of being an HOA manager. In most cases, this means communicating with the community. However, at times, you’ll also have to interact with angry homeowners, manage disputes over CC&R, and generally encounter people whose attitude towards you might not be positive on the day. 

Then, there are all the issues when dealing with external contractors and managing their work in the neighborhood. 

This can put a strain on anyone. 

The solution? Develop people skills and patience. Each will help you manage those situations more easily and resolve disagreements without aggravating those negative issues further. 

Conclusion

It goes without saying - the HOA manager is by far the most critical person in the association. While the board oversees the direction and initiates goals for the HOA, it is the manager who turns those into reality. 

For that reason, being an HOA manager is not a small feat. And for one, you must develop specific managerial and people skills to succeed. 

In this article, you’ve learned the four most important things that will help you become more effective at your work. 

Good luck!