You flip the switch. We do the rest!
This list of questions includes some that allow a Board to differentiate between companies that claim to do what you need vs. those who are professionals at what you need.
Keep in mind that property management is not association management. If someone doesn't know the difference, you don't want them managing your community. We bring decades of experience specifically working with Boards and community associations! This is what we do!
Most management companies will assign your community to one of their newest people, oftentimes with little to no experience, education or training. All of our new clients are assigned a team. They get one of the owners of our company, an assistant, a member of our accounting team, and others when applicable.
Our team, including customer service team members, managers, and assistants all go through standard industry training through organizations such as the Community Associations Institute (caionline.org) and Adamen, Inc (adamen-inc.com). We attend local events and training around legal changes that will impact our clients. We do constant team and teammate development & training.
Our managers exclusively manage community associations. Our assistant managers work directly with managers on their assigned community associations. It's what we do. It's all we do.
Community association management has always been a high turnover industry. A lot of this is due to burnout. Companies that come in cheap have to then overload their people. This is part of why we aren't the cheapest, and why we assign a team to each client. If we lose one person, you still have others who are familiar with your community. You never feel like you are starting from scratch because your manager or another person leaves our company. That said, our turnover is very low compared to industry standards.
The Community Associations Institute (CAI) is an incredible resource and advocate in our industry. We have experience with CAI in other States where they have been amazing! However, we have issues with the Utah Chapter and therefore have been less involved than we would like to be otherwise locally. We do attend their events whenever possible, especially the annual Legislative Action Committee (LAC) meeting at the Utah State Capitol. There really isn't another legitimate industry organization for community association management in Utah.
We commit to reply to emails and return calls within 24 business hours. However, our clients find that most of the time it's within minutes. We actually monitor the statistics to ensure we're delivering on this commitment.
For us this has multiple parts. We attend CAI's annual Utah LAC meeting. We consult with Utah HOA attorneys frequently. We seek out information through various other sources. We knew about the solar panel law changes that were implemented about 3 years ago well before it became law. We knew about the push to make builder defect lawsuits nearly impossible, months before it was in effect. As this answer is being typed, we are aware of eight different bills being worked on that would impact the industry. We keep up with any and all changes so we can help our clients reduce liability and ensure compliance.
We work with several great law firms that specialize in community association law. We help Boards find the right attorney who fits the needs of their community. Although we occasionally work with an attorney a community has used for a long time who does not specialize in HOA's, we strongly encourage Boards to use attorneys who specialize in the industry. Some of the best include Miller Harrison, Smith Knowles, VF Law, and Jenkins Bagley Sperry.
While our clients are free to choose the agent/broker they prefer, we have found there's only a handful in Utah that actually know HOA insurance and the applicable laws well enough to ensure they're getting communities the coverage they truly need. Because of this, there's only three we use regularly. Hint: if you've heard or seen a commercial for the insurance company, they probably aren't one we typically use. Some of our favorites are Goldenwest Insurance, The Buckner Group, and SentryWest.
Most communities in Utah should have a full reserve study done every six years, with an update done in between, at the three year mark. We consider healthy funding to mean anything over 70% of the recommendation contained in the reserve study. There are rare cases where a lower percentage is still acceptable, but we see way too many communities that are at 10% or less of the recommended amount. Low funding leads to a deteriorating community and large special assessments. We use Complex Solutions to do our reserve studies most of the time, just as a reference.
For us it's about 5% of our clients. Unless there's valid reasons, we don't want to be involved with communities that will not fund reserves properly. If a client isn't where they should be, we help develop a plan to get them there. Small changes over time can typically get you where you need to be.
Our first reaction is to check the documents and share our interpretation. If we aren't confident in our interpretation we may follow up with an attorney to make sure. However, we do not send you to the attorney for every little thing. That gets very expensive!
First of all, we are one of the few that do not lock you into a long-term contract. We have a 30 day out clause that either party may use at any time, for any reason. Now, regarding pricing, we actually view it as part of our entire business model. We price based on workload. We price in such a way that we don't overwhelm our people. Overwhelmed people simply cannot deliver a higher level of service. If a potential client chooses a cheaper option, that's understandable. However, oftentimes they come back a year later for another quote because the cheaper option didn't deliver on their promises. Pricing enables quality or supports a lack thereof. In other words, a higher price doesn't guarantee better results, but a low price almost always results in a lower level of service.
Yes! We have run into competitors who believe the answer is no. Most community associations are non-profit corporations. Regardless if there's any taxes due, Federal and State taxes should be filed on an annual basis.
Our management software, Vantaca, allows us to set reminders for things like this. An HOA's registration must be renewed before expiration in order to avoid additional expenses and work. We ensure it happens! To check on your own status, Google "Utah Business Entity Search", click on the link that says "Business Search - Utah.gov", put in part of your HOA's name and hit "Search."
The HOA Registry should be updated every time there's a change in Board membership. Not updating the registry could result in losing the ability to file liens as part of a collection process. To see your HOA's listing, Google "Utah HOA registry", click on the result named "Utah Homeowner Associations Registration", type part of your HOA's legal name in the field titled "HOA Name" and hit enter.
We have an extensive list of vendors we have worked with that do good work, communicate well, are prompt and are reasonably priced. Some on the list are higher quality and higher priced, and others are on the other end, with a lot in between. The key determining is which one is right for a specific job at a specific community. When a Board needs multiple bids we of course do so. Other times something just needs done, so we get a great vendor on the job ASAP. They know they won't get future work from us if they don't take care of our clients. We won't use vendors who are not licensed and insured.
We believe in finding vendors that fill the unique needs of each client. Vendors who we can hold accountable. Because of this, we do a very limited scope of handyman type services for our clients ourselves. Most of the time, even that is sent to a vendor we trust. We will never push something on our clients because it puts dollars in our pockets.
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