How does a property manager differ from an HOA manager? A lot of people — even legislators — use these two terms interchangeably. But, there are differences between these two jobs.
In this article:
HOA Manager vs Property Manager: Understanding the Differences
Property management and HOA management are often confused for one another. And this is understandable considering the similarities of the two industries. But, it is important to differentiate between a property manager and an HOA manager. Property owners and homeowners association members sometimes mistakenly hire one when they, in fact, need the services of the other. This can create unnecessary trouble and lead to wasted time.
But, what does a property manager do exactly? And how do a property manager’s responsibilities differ from HOA managers? Are there any differences when it comes to salaries and fees? What about certification requirements? Find out below.
HOA Manager vs Property Manager Job Description: Duties and Responsibilities
In the setting of a homeowners association, individual owners are typically responsible for caring for their own properties. But, the burden of maintaining the common areas falls upon the HOA board. While some associations get by through self-management, most hire professional help. This is usually in the form of an HOA management company or manager.
An HOA manager is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of a homeowners association in cooperation with the HOA board. The HOA manager shares the board’s duties and responsibilities, which can range from resolving disputes to collecting dues. Although the exact services can differ depending on the agreement between the HOA and the HOA manager, typical tasks involve the following:
- Preparing and executing the annual budget
- Collecting dues
- Managing delinquencies
- Accounting and bookkeeping
- Generating financial reports
- Maintaining common areas
- Performing site inspections
- Complying with federal, state, and local laws
- Enforcing the governing documents
- Planning and attending board meetings
- Assisting with dispute resolution
- Assisting with vendor screening and selection
- Managing vendors
- Hiring HOA employees and other staff members
- Updating and purchasing insurance policies
- Advising the HOA board on various matters
On the other hand, property management refers to the managing of rental properties owned by individuals or corporations. While there is some overlap between the responsibilities of an HOA manager and a property manager, there are also some distinctions. Here are the duties a property manager is expected to perform:
- Advertising the property for rent or lease
- Managing the tenant application process
- Showing the property or unit to interested tenants
- Finding and screening tenants
- Taking care of the property
- Managing maintenance and repair requests
- Communicating with tenants and responding to their complaints
- Setting and collecting rent
- Handling budgets
- Accounting and bookkeeping
- Enforcing lease terms
- Assisting with the eviction process
- Other tasks delegated by the property owner
Who Do HOA Managers and Property Managers Serve?
An HOA manager typically serves residential communities. This can come in the form of a common-interest development, a homeowners association, a condo association, a cooperative, or a townhome association. They can also serve senior communities as well as country clubs or golf associations.
A property manager, on the other hand, serves an individual or corporate entity that owns a rental or leased property (or set of properties). Such properties can be residential, commercial, or a combination of the two. Some examples are apartment complexes and vacation homes.
Though, property managers can also handle properties that belong in an association. When this happens, the property manager can serve as a proxy for the owner of the property. Additionally, property managers must ensure compliance with the association’s rules and regulations. Should the tenant have any problems, they must take it up with the property manager instead of the HOA manager, even if they are living in a homeowners association.
One of the key differences between an HOA manager and a property manager is who they report to. An HOA manager works directly with the HOA board and puts the association’s interests above all else. A property manager, though, reports to a single owner or corporation. The goal of an HOA manager is to ensure smooth operations of the HOA community, whereas a property manager’s goal is to turn a profit for the property owner. To do this, property managers must minimize vacancy rates and maximize resident retention rates.
HOA Manager vs Property Manager Fees
For just about anyone, the cost of hiring an HOA manager or property manager is one of the most important factors in the decision-making process. But, how much do property managers charge exactly?
Property managers or management companies charge either a percentage of the monthly rent (plus expenses) or a flat monthly rate. Typically, though, they charge about 8 to 12 percent of the gross monthly rental rate, exclusive of other expenses. Some managers or companies will charge a lower percentage if the contract involves managing more than 10 units and a higher percentage if it involves managing less than that.
Apart from the monthly management fee, there are also other fees that come with property management contracts. The dollar amount of these fees can vary wildly, so it is important to check your contract’s terms before signing anything. Other fees you can expect to pay a property manager or management company include:
- Initial setup fee
- Tenant placement fee
- Vacancy fee
- Maintenance fee
- Eviction fee
- Early termination fee
In contrast, HOA managers or management companies typically charge an average monthly management fee of $10 to $20 per unit. Many factors, such as the location and size of your association, can affect this rate, though. Similar to property managers or management companies, HOA managers or management companies also charge other types of fees. In addition to the monthly management fee, you should expect to pay initiation fees and exit fees.
It is important to note that some HOA managers or management companies impose unreasonable or suspicious fees. Such fees include meeting fees, fees per instance, and miscellaneous fees.
HOA Manager vs Property Manager Salary
On average, HOA managers receive a base salary of $53,394 per year in the United States. The highest-paying city is Los Angeles, with an average salary of $73,471 per year as of writing. Orlando and Atlanta follow closely, at $71,091 and $69,655 per year, respectively.
In comparison, property managers make less than HOA managers, but only by a little. On average, property managers earn a base salary of $51,493 per year in the United States. Understandably, with its high population and many rental units, New York is the highest-paying city with an average salary of $74,270. Atlanta and Dallas come in second and third place, with respective average salaries of $59,251 and $55,291 per year.
HOA Manager vs Property Manager Certifications
It might seem like becoming an HOA or property manager is easy, but the truth is far from it. Both HOA managers and property managers must receive adequate training before they can do what they do. Proper certification is also ideal, though not usually mandatory.
Here are some certifications you should look for in an HOA manager or management company:
- Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA)
- Association Management Specialist (AMS)
- Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM)
- Accredited Association Management Company (AAMC)
For property managers or management companies, here are some certifications to keep in mind:
- National Property Management Association (NPMA)
- Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA)
- National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM)
- Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM)
- National Apartment Association (NAA)
Different Yet Equally Important
The differences between an HOA manager and a property manager are apparent. Though the two professions are comparable, their goals and duties are distinct. There is also a stark contrast between the entities or individuals they serve. While these two jobs are different, they nonetheless remain equally significant.
Running a homeowners association often comes with challenges. Outsource the hardest aspects of HOA management today to a company like Elite Management Services. Call us at (855) 238-8488 or contact us online to request a proposal.
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