State of the Community Management Industry
While I am excited about all of the new communities that are once again emerging with the increase in building, I continue to be stunned that negative perceptions of HOAs still exist. These perceptions are often due to (1) lack of transparency and (2) lack of communication.
Unfortunately, recent headlines across the country indicate that there is still a steady stream of illegal activity being conducted by Board Members, Community Managers and Management Companies.
What does this mean for us? What does it mean for the professionals who serve existing and new communities? We need to focus on increasing transparency and educating our homeowners, Boards and Community Managers about fraud and what to expect from their Management Companies, HOAs and Managers with regards to monthly financial information and year-end reporting (e.g. annual audit, review or compilation) – whether statutory or not. Ensure our Board members and homeowners take the time each month to review their communities’ general ledger detail, bank statements and bank reconciliations in detail to look for unusual transactions. We are all accountable – management companies, Community Managers and Board members – for being transparent in our industry and for sharing critical information to keep HOA members informed. Transparency creates trust and trust helps build sustainability and harmony within our communities.
As we look to 2018, we need to focus on the positive aspects of our HOAs and do all that we can to be ethical and excellent stewards of our communities’ assets. By doing so and by holding each other accountable, we should be able to keep the negative headlines to a minimum and help boost the perception of HOA living. We also need to do what we can to manage the current public perception with contributing to an increase in positive press – offer stories that demonstrate how much we do to help our communities, stories about the ways Boards and Managers give back to the greater community, and stories about how homes in HOAs maintain their value better than homes that aren’t.
Additionally, communication continues to be a key component to maintaining healthy HOAs. It is imperative that we continuously look for opportunities to do outreach and educate Managers, homeowners, Board members and the media in order to quell the burgeoning misinformation seen in public and social media. We cannot be complacent when it comes to communication and we must use all available tools – e-mail blasts, text blasts, website updates, newsletters, etc. to ensure that our communities are educated on a regular basis with accurate facts, not rumors.
As clients of AAM, we thank you for your continued dedication to your communities and participating in an industry that I am most proud to be a part of!