How a condo is managed can quickly determine its success or failure. While many small condominiums can be self-managed, it is almost a necessity for medium to large-sized condos to hire an outside HOA management company to handle the responsibilities. Cost and time are the two most influential factors all associations will consider when deciding upon the style of HOA management, whether it be through HOA property management or self-management.
The number of units in the condominium will be the main determinant of the cost for what style of management will be implemented. Generally speaking, the majority of professional property management companies will not manage a building with fewer than twenty units because it is simply not cost-effective for them. It is also not cost-effective for a small building because they generally have limited operating budgets.
A positive aspect of HOA management companies is their solid relationships with vendors and legal firms in the event an issue with HOA laws arises. These relationships mean that vendors and law firms will make every effort to provide great service. The vendors know they will be paid on time by a stable management firm, and this will translate to repeat business. A self-managed condo association typically does not have that kind of pull with service providers.
When condos choose self-management, however, things do tend to get accomplished just as well as when handled by professional homeowners association management. When the owners have a personal stake in the success of the association, things tend to function well. Self-management of a condo also creates a sense of community for the owners. It is quite possible for owners to work together effectively when operating procedures are established and duties are delegated in a fair and consistent manner. Subsequently, a strong sense of accomplishment will be felt among the members when the tasks are accomplished through a concerted team effort.
Self-management should only be entertained when there are owners available who have not only plenty of time available to them, but also the broad range of knowledge required to address a variety of condo management issues all the way from finances to maintenance issues. The cost of correcting errors made due to poor management skills can quickly exceed the cost of simply allowing a professional to perform the job.
Of course, HOA property management companies can also be quite expensive, and a company may not always choose the most cost effective methods of getting something done. The vast majority of homeowners association management companies are conscientious about adhering to high standards of quality, but they will generally not be as particular about decision-making as the owners will be since they have no personal vested interest in the property. Furthermore, outside HOA property management may not be as receptive to concerns or observant of problems when they arise, and they may very well ignore certain issues that an owner would catch.