The very mention of a homeowners association can send chills down the spine of potential home buyers everywhere. Sometimes residents might feel annoyed or restricted by their HOA, but they actually serve an important purpose: keeping (and often increasing) the value of the homes contained within it. Although it’s true that HOA’s can have strict rules, covenants, and by-laws, they are a useful and functional way to create a sense of community while providing significant value to residents over time. Managing one effectively means staying on top of current trends, using software/automation to streamline certain functions, and managing costs appropriately so every resident can maximize the value of their home. Here are five ways to effectively manage and engage with your own homeowner’s association right now.
The road to being an effective HOA and community manager begins with effective budgeting. Budgets inform just about every aspect of running an association. But they come with roadblocks that make it necessary to spend significant time on them. Just consider the myriad items an HOA budget usually includes:
- Fixed costs such as taxes (property and otherwise)
- Filing fees
- Common area maintenance
- Unexpected expenses
Because budgeting requires such a delicate touch, you might be inclined to hire a certified public accountant or other firm to handle it. But using automated software allows you to reference previous years reports and budget a little bit more effectively. You can feel confident ditching the old spreadsheets and making a budget easily with the right type of software. It should at least take some of the guesswork out of the process and make managing your HOA much more efficient in the long term.
Consider Reducing The Size of The HOA Board
Consider the old cliche that sometimes there are “too many cooks in the kitchen.” When there are too many hands focusing on running things, it can cause problems. The size of your HOA board typically depends on the size of the community. Smaller boards help keep everybody accountable and reduce the number of fingers in the pot so to speak. Smaller communities probably don’t require a significant number of board members. Changing the size of the board is determined by the organization’s bylaws, so if you’re considering reducing it you need to ensure it is allowed. D
Keep Up With Maintenance And Repairs
Every homeowner’s association has various covenants and bylaws that govern maintenance. While residents might be responsible for mowing their own lawns, raking up any straight leaves, and keeping sidewalks clear, there are some things that might require hiring a vendor. Although residents are responsible for keeping up with maintenance and general repairs in their own areas, the HOA manager is usually responsible for public areas and significant repairs. To keep home values high, the neighborhood needs to look good and consistent. But to keep everyone safe, it’s essential to ensure you are staying on top of any critical repairs or routine maintenance you need to perform. Keeping track of these and their associated costs is also a crucial part of a manager’s job. Homeowners should also consider the value and having robust homeowners insurance to help in the event of unforeseen circumstances.
When something breaks or requires repairs, you’ll find that a vendor will often be called out to address the situation. After all, a handyman or maintenance crew can only accomplish so much. There are absolutely certain times when more effective measures (i.e. professionals) are necessary. The whole reason to compare bids and assess vendors individually is to ensure you’re getting the right kind and high quality of work your Association needs for the project. It’s not always necessary to swap out vendors or compare bids—it ultimately depends on the scope of work and type of repairs required—but taking special care to collect bids, assess vendors, choose the right ones for the job, and implement a payment system are all essential parts of running your HOA smoothly. Using an automated repair and maintenance system is a great method for choosing the right vendors, too, giving you more time to focus on other management tasks while your vendors handle critical repairs.
Use Automation For Collecting Dues
A large part of running your homeowners association is collecting dues from the residents. Dues are an integral component of any homeowners association. They pay for taxes, repairs, maintenance concerns, and contribute to the reserve fund. Dues are a very important thing indeed. That’s why automating them and ensuring they get paid on time is so important. Utilizing powerful HOA management software solutions to help automate the process will ensure it’s easy for residents to pay them as well as account for them in your budget/reports. Using automation tools makes everyone’s life easier, so be sure to implement them today.