HOA's Tips: How To Effectively Manage Your Properties

Posted On Monday, 14 September 2020 21:22

Managing property at a homeowners association can come with a lot of challenges. There are residents that have special individual demands, and, sometimes, some board members may be unwilling to meet such demands. 

What’s more, you’ll often have to come up with a budget and strictly adhere to it. If you’re a volunteer at HOA, the changes can make it feel like a 9 to 5 job. Furthermore, the challenges can make managing properties feel impossible. 

However, a few guidelines can help ensure that your homeowners association is a success

Let’s discover more.

Good Communication

Communication is of crucial importance when managing properties through an HOA. The communication is twofold: 

• Firstly, it’s important to ensure proper communication between the HOA and the residents.
• Secondly, it’s important to establish good commutation between board members and the management of the association. 

Both of these ensure transparency and that any issues are discovered and dealt with before they can escalate to even bigger problems. 

Whenever there’s an issue, whether brought about by hearsay or limited information, the best way to deal with it is through proper communication channels. Homeowners, for instance, need to be on the loop on new developments. This will ensure that any negative rumors are dealt with and that they don’t take hold. Moreover, this keeps homeowners happy as they’re fully aware of what’s going on with their residence. 

Similarly, it’s crucial that the HOA management is in close contact with the board. You would be surprised at the number of board members who are never informed of any developments or are updated in any way. 

Part of the reason why managers fail to keep the board on the loop is the possibility of them failing to complete that which is supposed to be done. Even worse, some of them fail to perform routine checks on the property. 

Ensuring Board Members Remain Active

Part of what makes a homeowner’s association highly effective are board members who are not just educated but are also highly active. There’s a need for the HOA to be active instead of being reactive.  

An HOA that’s run by less educated board will tend to be unsure of how to deal with issues as they arise. Being educated means being updated on current practices. This ensures that they’re able to not just prevent issues from happening, but on those occasions where the issues prop up, they’ll know the fastest and most efficient way to deal with them. 

With the changing times, there are new ways that are being developed that prove to be more efficient at problem-solving. Being up to date, therefore, ensures the successful management of the HOA. 

What’s more, it’s important for the board members to examine the financial position of the HOA on a regular basis, such as checking on the budget.  

Lastly, when dealing with an older property, investing in a reserve duty is a good choice. This makes it possible to look into the future and predict the requirements of the property for the next 40 years. The board can then create a budget that caters to these needs. 

At the end of the day, the right information is key. 

Get Expert Community Management Services

Board members need to bring in an HOA property management company. Doing so will provide them with the answers they need in case a problem arises. Think of it as a contingency plan whenever they’re searching for an ideal way to solve a problem. 

Additionally, an expert HOA management system can provide a helping hand when the board has too much to handle. Thus, this type of organization will help manage a property from the ground up. 

Some of the tasks and services offered by a good HOA community management system includes:

• Creating budgets
• Training board members
• Reviewing contracts from vendors
• Answering questions from residents
• Sending notices
• Accounting services
• Arranging any inspections
• Creating a board meeting information

The Importance of Documentation

When everything is all said and done, a homeowner’s association is just like any other business. Based on that, it means that it should maintain good documents. Some of these documents include the record of meetings, accounting, or vendor repairs.

Furthermore, it’s good practice to ensure that any communication you have had with a homeowner is safely stored. If communication is done via email, for instance, you can save this to a folder on your computer. This way, you’re more organized and can easily look for the email. 

Many homeowner associations try to keep records and believe that this is a natural function of doing business. But imagine a situation where the HOA management company changes your homeowner’s association property manager ever so often.

Thus, it’s important that companies maintain a database that stores the documentation. Otherwise, there’s a risk of the documentation being lost with each new property manager.

Doing Follow-ups on Repairs

One of the biggest mistakes that a homeowner’s association could make is to assume that work was done. Hence, it’s crucial to do follow-ups to ensure that the work is done in high standards. The need for follow-ups is heightened when the homeowner is making repairs or renovations themselves.

For instance, if a leak is improperly fixed, water could make its way through the structure of the house, compromising its integrity. A homeowner could use USD$200 to repair a problem that could cost the association well over USD$5000 in repairs later on. 

Set Reserve Funds 

There should be money set aside for future repairs and other projects, such as paving the street or replacing a roof. In case there isn’t any money, the option would be to make an assessment. Take note that there’s a huge chance that residents would become disgruntled. 

That said, setting money aside would also allow the HOA to conduct any studies. You can hire an expert to evaluate the residency and determine certain areas that’ll require assessments. Knowing in advance ensures that the HOA is well-prepared and that there are no surprises. 

Furthermore, setting aside funds also provides the necessary means to hire professionals and partners, such as bankers, attorneys, and accountants, allowing experts that the HOA can hire when a problem arises. This can save the HOA a lot of money in the long term. 

Proposing Assessments and Enforcing them 

Another way to ensure a successful homeowners association is to diplomatically propose as well as enforce the assessments. For an underfunded HOA, there’s always the option of getting the funding from the residents. 

While they have accepted this before moving into their homes, it’ll still shock them when requested to pay more money. 

One way to ensure that the residents don’t feel exploited is to explain the need for the assessment and the goal that you’re trying to achieve. 

If the residents support your cause and your goals, they won’t have a problem providing you with the money. The best strategy is to ensure that you’re working with the residents and to be good and understanding to them. 

Enforcing Rules without Discrimination

Keep in mind that the rules of the homeowner's association are there to ensure that the houses maintain their value. These rules are, by no mean means, to give anyone power over the residents. Because of this, it’s crucial that the rules will make the community a great place to live while also protecting the interest of the residents. 

Nobody should be given any favors for violating the rules and everyone should be treated as equals. The board members should ensure that the rules are enforced consistently. By regularly and consistently enforcing the rules, you prompt the residents to follow them. 

However, it’s important not to be too strict, especially with the new residents. They may not know how things are done yet and are prone to making mistakes. New residents will not understand all the rules. Chances are, they don’t know when they can do something as little as placing a wine bottle on the windows or even when they can have guests. 

This doesn’t mean that you won’t enforce the rules to the new residents. But it only means that you’re more lenient and provide them with a chance to first settle down. 

Never Change Rules to Attract Buyers

There are many house buyers who will not consider property managed by a homeowner's association since they consider these as deal breakers and being too restrictive. To ensure that the agreement is mutually beneficial, it pays for homebuyers to thoroughly read the HOA documents. 

It can be tempting to change the rules. However, it’s important to remember that there are also many buyers who don’t mind and actually prefer a property that’s under the management of an HOA. 

That said, you may want or revisit the rules to make sure that they make sense. It doesn’t pay to be too strict. 

Final Thoughts

The tips above can help your homeowners' association effectively manage the property–from having money put aside for projects and to pay professionals as well as keeping the board members up to date on any developments while enforcing rules to ensure happy residency. 

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