The SOA – Self vs Professional Management ?

self management

From the tone of the April 14th BOD Meeting Agenda Item 7.c “Discussion and Consideration of SOA Management Consultant” and the 6:00 PM April 13th Town Hall video conference meeting, it is apparent that the SOA Board (at least some members) are considering moving from a Professionally managed (e.g., FirstService Residential) Association to a Self-managed Association.  As indicated in our previous post, this would be a gigantic leap not to be taken lightly.  There is a vast difference between “Governing” and Association and “Managing” an Association. In our previous post SU pointed to the following website for an article on the pros and cons of self-management:

In addition it the above, the following website articles provide some additional perspectives on the subject:

Self Managed HOA vs. Professional HOA Management (

Self-Managed VS Professionally Managed HOA’s – Hoamco

Self Managed HOA vs HOA Management Company: What’s Best For You? (

One of the overriding pros for self management appears to be the potential for saving money, especially applicable for low density Associations with few amenities. One of the overriding cons is the amount of time, expertise and motivation required by a “volunteer” Board to properly manage the Association. The current Board may have these qualities, but are they sustainable given the yearly elections?

Our readers are encouraged to access one or more of the above articles, form your own opinions and express them at the April 13th Town Hall and/or the April 14th Board meetings:

Video Access instructions for the April 13th Town Hall Meeting are as as follows:

Town Hall Meeting: April 13th at 6:00 pm

Meeting ID: 874 855 7381

Passcode: 12345

Video Access Instructions for the April 14th Board meeting are as follows:

BOD Meeting: April 14th 5:30 pm

Meeting ID:  984 7605 7473

Passcode: 980167


3 thoughts on “The SOA – Self vs Professional Management ?

  1. I have to chuckle regarding the cartoon and the many links to (other management companies) website articles. And I wholly agree with the conclusions! But there is a critical fact missing, because as its been defined in these articles we NOT considering self-management. Volunteers, no matter how smart or dedicated they are can’t effectively manage the SOA. This category of self-management is unfortunately mislabeled because the option we are investigating is actually:


    This has nothing to do with the articles, the cartoon, or the concerns that Mr. Haar is bringing to the table.

    Before we rally the troops, alert Chicken Little, and crank up the air raid sirens, it might be a good idea to attend the meeting and understand what the details are. Then one can formulate a concern that is relevant to the discussion!

    1. Thanks for your clarification Mark, but if ”professionally managed internal to the SOA” means that those hired to oversee the operation of the Association are direct employees of the Association, with all the employer/employee relationships that intends, is not that “self-managed”? That is, a self-managed organizational structure operating under a General Manager (or whatever title) reporting to the Board President?

      This is not to imply that “professionally managed internal to the SOA” is not a workable solution, but it does subject the Association to liabilities and additional burdens not encountered with the FirstService Residential (or whomever) Professional Manager approach.

      It will be interesting to see what comes out of the Town Hall and Board Meetings.

      And no, contrary to your comment, Chicken Little has not been alerted, the air raid sirens cranked up nor an attempt to rally the troops! However, if you are advocating a transition to internal management of the SOA, it is only reasonable that owners become informed as to the pros and cons of such a transition. The pros we will undoubtedly hear, not sure about the cons.

  2. We own an apartment in a doorman building in SF. The Building (overseen by a volunteer elected Board) has a professional manager – who runs the building, hires the staff, and ensures that all building issues are addressed to the resident’s satisfaction. We have 126 dwelling units and the Board believes that this is cost-effective.

    I listened to Mark’s presentation and analysis last night, which without “testing” the parameters, challenging the assumptions seemed reasonable, and a way forward.

    I was intrigued by the grading system to gauge the effectiveness of FR. I would feel happier if all the residents had been surveyed and asked to grade their performance from a customer perspective. Given the response to the recent survey, I believe that there would be sufficient participation, and this would help the Board members make a well-informed decision with customer input.

    For instance, the big-budget expenditure, landscaping, I would want to rate FR’s year-in and year-out management on our behalf as “spotty” at best. Folks are still getting their car washes when sprinkling occurs…in spite of directed sprinkler heads ($60K). We still have an extremely expensive landscaping water bill, on top of the $1.5 million paid to FR. Active management of the landscaping would reduce (dramatically) the amount of grass to be sprinkled along Somersett Parkway. Underground drip irrigation to trees and shrubs in a desert setting would dramatically reduce our water bill!

    We are swinging back into drought, it is time to follow Associations in Las Vegas and dramatically reduce it.

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