Opinion: Go beyond the rhetoric

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Commentary by Eric McKinney

Recently, I read an article about tips for starting an HOA/COA management company that stated, “Having a background in real estate is helpful, but not essential.” Huh? Everything your management company provides as a service to your community should be designed to positively impact property values. There’s no better way to gain experience in real estate than having a real estate license.

Two questions now beg to be asked: Why do 43 states not require community managers to have a real estate license to manage HOA/COA communities. And what does it mean when an HOA/COA property management company expresses they have your community property values at “heart?”

Expecting your HOA/COA management company to positively impact a community’s property values is a tall order to fill, especially if your community manager has no background in real estate. So, is this really something your management company can do, or is it rhetoric used as an attractive industry marketing tool?

The fact that 43 states don’t require community managers to be licensed real estate professionals also relinquishes accountability when it comes to managing HOA/COA property.

In the real estate profession, a broker/sales agent can lose their license (and their livelihood) by misleading clients. Not the case in the HOA/COA industry, unless your state is one of the seven requiring a license or certification to manage HOA/COA communities.

So, how does an association board extract assurances from its management company when it comes to property values and accountability of the manager? First, choose a management company that has licensed real estate professionals serving as community managers, and then require management to negotiate with vendors, manage and thoroughly inspect community projects, and request comprehensive project documents associated with each community project.

Eric McKinney is a 28-year veteran of the HOA/COA industry, managing partner of Cambri Management Services, cambrimgt.com. Contact him at ericm@cambri.com or 317-732-7720.

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