Why Have Professional Management for your HOA?

Answer 1: because knowing the relevant Virginia code is crucial … and a full-time job.

Property Owners’ Association Act

This is Chapter 26 of the Code of Virginia, titled “Property Owners’ Association Act.” It is part of Title 55, titled “Property and Conveyances.” It’s comprised of the following 29 sections.

“Does this neighborhood have an HOA?” is one of the most common questions my buyer clients ask. The next two (usually prodded by me) are “is it professionally managed?” and “is it solvent?”.

Answer 2: So that neighbors can be good neighbors and have someone else responsible for the management of the Association. Running a neighborhood is a business – budgets to manage, lawn maintenance contracts to negotiate, occasionally delinquent neighbors to fine … better to have a professional to manage these things than neighbors who don’t do this full time. In many things in life – going to court, fixing your car, selling your house – hiring a professional is money well spent.

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  1. Stormy October 1, 2012 at 16:08

    Of course, to pay for that professional management, you have to boost the HOA fees that no one likes to pay and that people want to see what their money goes to. Bit of a catch-22, especially in newer developments (or developments with “new” HOAs.)

    1. Jim Duncan October 2, 2012 at 07:07

      True. I’m finding that most new neighborhoods require at least three months’ dues to be paid at closing to seed and fund the HOA coffers.

      A constant challenge is proving the HOA’s value, and ensuring that the budget is a fiscally sound and responsible one.

      I’d challenge anyone to come to a meeting such as the one I attended last week – in which at least 4 different codes were cited, processes that legally must be followed, etc – and say that they want that responsibility on their shoulders. 🙂

  2. Heather October 2, 2012 at 19:42

    You make a valid point re: legal issues, but just to throw in a counterpoint about a different aspect of management: our old neighborhood’s HOA was managed by Real Property, one of the biggest property management companies in the area, and it was extremely difficult to ever get through to them or get responses to concerns, even when there were egregious violations happening; sometimes they never bothered to respond at all despite multiple attempts to contact them (and forget ever reaching a live person on the phone, we were routed to various property managers’ voicemail every time). So frustrating. By contrast, our current neighborhood’s HOA is managed by the neighborhood, and our board is great at proactive communication and responding to neighborhood concerns quickly. I think there are some benefits to a neighborhood-run HOA, since the members have more incentive to get things done than someone who works in an office and has never set foot in your neighborhood, much less has to live there.

    1. Jim Duncan October 8, 2012 at 05:40

      I think you’re one of the lucky ones (except for the experience with Real Property) … HOAs are complex entities, and compliance every year is becoming more and more difficult as the Code gets added to and edited.

      I know there are classes that members can take to get up to speed on the changes, but I’m an advocate of hiring pros to do certain jobs and this is one.

      Mine, for example, has a board of five members and a rep from the management company who is always responsive … we make the decisions, they execute and advise.

      And … if there is ever legal action within a community, I think having the pro be there to manage such things will more than pay for itself. 🙂


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