Blog

Posted on May 11, 2020 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Categories: HOA Website
Every community website you visit will probably have a different perspective on what percentage is healthy regarding the reserve funds.  Yet, most of them agree that you can’t base your decisions on the percent funded because it rarely stays the same.  Fluctuations happen all the time due to a variety of factors.

Even when an HOA is funded 100 percent, an unexpected project could suddenly come along and throw the HOA into disarray.  Fortunately, there are ways to resolve such situations without depleting the reserves.
 
Raise Assessments

The law is surprisingly flexible where assessment issues are concerned.  Basically, it permits the board to raise assessments by 20 percent and this can be done without voting on the matter.  If the HOA keeps doing this every year, they might raise enough funds to resolve all emergencies.

The board can also take advantage of a special assessment, which is usually restricted to 5 percent (of the current assessment) when being enforced without a vote.  Most homeowners are given the option to pay the amount in full or over a period of several months depending on the association.
 
Loans & Reserve Funds

An HOA can borrow money from the reserves but only after voting on the matter and putting in place a repayment schedule that returns all the funds.  It is more common for homeowners associations to take out loans, especially if the emergency is much worse than the board anticipated.

As far as the ideal percentage for the HOA reserve fund is concerned, an average community website has posted that 70 percent is a good starting point.  Naturally, every HOA prefers to have their reserves funded 100 percent.  It would give the board peace of mind to know that they have the financial means to meet all the anticipated costs in the future.  Aside from that, there’s no need to panic about the percentage unless the reserve fund is less than 70 percent!
Posted on April 20, 2020 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Categories: HOA Website
In many homeowners associations, specific technical expertise isn’t usually required to become an HOA board member.  Anyone that has ever attempted to review the HOA reserve study might disagree with that sentiment since it isn’t easy or enjoyable.  Unfortunately, reserve studies are an essential aspect of the planning, allocation, and collection of reserve funds.  Therefore, you should always ensure that you interpret and utilize the reserve study to the best of your ability.
 
Contents

The first order of business is to learn and understand why an HOA has a reserve study.  Most of the time, the homeowners association website will inform you that the reserve study lists every major component in the community that eventually needs to be repaired, replaced, or requires some maintenance.  This is assembled by performing a visual inspection of the landscaping, roofing, and other significant assets in the area.

Such visual inspections are typically performed every three years, though an annual review is also necessary to make funding adjustments.  These type of lists are only effective if they are generated by a professional that has expertise or experience with managing funds in HOA’s.
 
Calculations

In order to get a complete understanding of the figured outlined in the reserve study, it’s essential that you review it annually.  For instance, if you decide to replace the roof of a building, you need to know the exact amount that will cost so you know the funds that need to be collected to reach the target amount.  This is one reason why annual reviews are necessary and this information isn’t posted on the homeowners association website.

Calculations should be kept unbiased and that can be done by ensuring everyone contributes their fair share even if some members intend to depart the community before costly repairs are completed.  Though reserve studies can be complicated, they are crucial towards shaping the community’s future so remember this advice when interpreting a reserve study.
Posted on April 1, 2020 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Categories: HOA Website
At some point, there may come a time when a board member needs to be replaced and an HOA should carefully consider this decision as members directly determine the effectiveness of the association.  This is why the neighborhood website emphasizes the importance of finding and retaining competent board members.

However, anyone that has ever attempted to fill a position on the board is well aware of the challenges a new prospect can attract.  You may be questioned about this from many people and the way you answer them will have some impact on your overall success.
 
Purpose

When you ask a homeowner to join the board, they might ask why they should consider it.  If your prospect in mind has the technical experience required, inform them about all the ways a board member has an influence on the decisions that get made.  This includes matters regarding the budget, legal issues, and discussions surrounding the bylaws.

If they lack the technical experience that’s required, just explain to them that their involvement will motivate them to make a difference in their community.  They can learn all this from the neighborhood website but it helps to hear such a message from an actual member.
 
Quorum

An HOA board needs to ensure it has enough members for a quorum so it can make decisions in a timely manner.  If others want to know what happens when the board fails to attain a quorum, inform them of the possibility that an outsider will be appointed that likely has no interest in the future of the association.
 
Excuses

Some people might have excuses rather than legitimate objections.  One excuse is that they claim to not have time for such a commitment so outline the schedule.  List in detail how much of their time the association would consume so they can make an educated decision.  For others that claim they don’t care enough to participate, show them exactly how the presence of board members affects their amenities.

If they don’t want to deal with politics, emphasize that your HOA has far less conflict.  You should never force a homeowner to become a board member against their wishes as they will ultimately neglect their duties.  But for those that are merely hesitant, there are ways to gently nudge them in the right direction.
Posted on March 12, 2020 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Categories: HOA Website
An HOA website usually does a decent job of keeping residents informed about what’s going on in the homeowners association.  Yet, some of them ignore members, failing to build the connection it normally takes to make a members’ participation in the HOA a more enjoyable experience.  If you are one of those individuals that want the association to have a greater significance, don’t wait for the HOA website to help you.  Instead, use the following as a guide to make your life as a member as enjoyable as possible.
 
Meetings

One of the first steps towards ensuring you get the most out of your HOA is to attend meetings.  These provide an ideal opportunity for you to learn about the developments that are happening in the community.  You can also voice your opinion on matters like HOA fees and special assessments.  If you don’t know other members already, HOA meetings provide the perfect setting for you to meet them.
 
Social Gatherings

HOA meetings provide a great environment for members to interact with one another.  However, you need to plan, coordinate, and execute a social event in order to form a meaningful bond with many residents.  Think of a fun activity that will bring the entire community together such as a sporting event.
 
Interactions

Even though social gatherings are an effective tool for meeting other residents, some of your neighbors won’t be able to attend.  Reach out to them through social media or use another opportunity to introduce yourself.  Neighbors that are acquainted with you are more likely to alert you if they notice suspicious activity around your home.
All of this might sound like a lot of work but the results make it well worth it.  Often, you gain a greater appreciation for all the work the association does after participating in a few activities.  Beyond that, the newly formed relationships with other residents could shape your life for decades to come!
Posted on February 28, 2020 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Categories: HOA Website
Many HOA’s use the homeowners association website to keep residents informed and most visitors know right away that the HOA board exists to make the community a better place.  They guarantee security, manage the community’s assets, and are expected to ensure that everyone complies with all regulations.

Most HOA boards are competent enough to keep their communities functioning, even during difficult times.  However, a few of them make mistakes that can have a devastating impact on the community if they don’t resolve them quickly.
 
Insurance

Have you took the time to look at the CC&R’s of your HOA?  Every board should review them occasionally to make sure the association and members are meeting their insurance obligations.  The rules governing an HOA’s insurance are clear so complying with them shouldn’t present a challenge.  For instance, the association should maintain the minimum for insurance to ensure owners don’t carry individual coverage.
 
Maintenance

Maintenance and improvements are a much greater problem than most people realize.  This is the result of some HOA’s always looking to save money as a number of them have adopted the mentality of don’t fix it if it isn’t broke.  They don’t realize that failing to maintain the community assets can result in costly repairs down the line.
The same can be said about improvements.  A better plan is to save for upgrades now as opposed to waiting for an emergency that forces your hand at a time when the community lacks the necessary funds.
 
Political Power

On average, the homeowner association website spends a lot of time promoting the activities of the community which is healthy.  Yet, some HOA boards spend too much time looking inward and they never recognize they have the power to influence local politics and regulations.  By ignoring elections, they rob their community of an opportunity to fight for their own good.

An HOA board doesn’t make these mistakes intentionally.  But errors such as these might have lasting consequences, which is why they are encouraged to find other personnel that can guide them so they avoid putting the community at risk!
Posted on February 10, 2020 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Categories: HOA Website
Board members know that common maintenance issues must be taken care of in a timely manner.  An association ensure they carry out various responsibilities by collecting HOA fees and use the community website to inform members of any changes.

While most associations perform their roles to satisfy residents in the area, common maintenance issues can create problems after a while.  These complications arise because people are often incapable of separating their duties from those of the association.  As a result, it’s important for the board to remind members about these issues.
 
Upkeep Of Trees

This a topic that a few HOA’s struggle with as owners don’t always have them trimmed as often as they should.  In some cases, neighbors are fighting over ownership of the trees, especially in situations where the trees in question straddle a fence.  It isn’t uncommon for residents to argue about the responsibility of tree trimming since it can be expensive.

Most associations don’t trim trees and they don’t resolve conflicts between neighbors who are unable to determine who is responsible for their trees.  Their only role is to encourage respectful communication between the two parties.
 
Sewage & Signage

Unlike trees, the homeowners association bears some responsibility for the sewage treatment system in the community.  However, some people think that HOA’s are supposed to unclog or maintain their pipes.  That couldn’t be further from the truth since an HOA is only responsible for the septic system outside your home.  In other words, they will replace the pipes crossing from your house to the larger septic system but they don’t have to maintain the components on your property.

If residents aren’t arguing over tree trimmings or septic systems, you might find them in a disagreement about the issue of signage.  Many associations are really strict about this issue as they reject clutter in the community, which includes yard signs and promotional posters.  You can usually learn more about these guidelines on the community website but that doesn’t stop some people from complaining about the enforcement of such rules.
Posted on January 27, 2020 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Categories: HOA Website
An HOA board is supposed to make the community a better place and it usually starts with thinking about all the ways it can be done at the beginning of a new year.  In most HOA’s, planning for this must be done with the direct involvement of residents.

The homeowners association website is a great way to connect with many residents since they can easily find out about any changes.  If you don’t have the time to bring your residents onboard, there are some simple steps an HOA board can still take to make the community better in 2020.
 
Regulations

All homeowners’ associations have rules and regulations that govern the operations of their community.  Board members need to ensure that residents are kept up-to-date of these laws and recent changes that might have taken place.  Residents must also be educated on their duties such as paying HOA fees so the community is well maintained.  Otherwise, there could be confusion between board members and those that live in the area.
 
Community

The HOA board has many responsibilities beyond keeping the association operating efficiently, they must also foster a sense of community among their residents.  That means organizing social or recreational activities that all residents would want to participate in.  Beyond that, the board should encourage them to share their perspectives and ideas on the homeowners association website or during HOA meetings.
 
Give A Warm Welcome

Obviously, new residents want to feel welcome so every effort should be made to assimilate them into the community.  If you don’t, they may never attend meetings or offer helpful advice on the homeowners association website.  The purpose of involving residents in the running of the community and welcoming new ones is to create a sense of pride.  The HOA board can’t claim to have succeeded until it has given most residents a reason to talk positively about their community.
Posted on January 16, 2020 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Categories: HOA Website
What should members do when they have a good idea?  Some of them simply submit their idea it to the neighborhood website.  In many cases, that isn’t enough as messages are easy to overlook so make sure you bring the idea to the HOA board.  How do you do that when you’re not an HOA board member?  When it comes to presenting your idea to the board, you have to keep a few factors in mind.
 
A High-Quality Idea

First of all, anyone can think of an idea but the HOA board will only consider good ideas.  With regard to a homeowners association, good ideas are those that benefit the community.  These kind of ideas also encourage the participation of community members.  Before an idea is presented to the board, take extra time to ensure it is one that would appeal to a majority of board members.
 
Preparation

Even if you have a good idea, you still need to support it with solid facts.  This means that members should do some thorough research.  The idea should be fully formed, consisting of budgets, risk assessments, and safety concerns.  Be ready to answer any questions by the board members.  Anyone can post a suggestion on the neighborhood website, but only a few can survive the scrutiny of a serious HOA board.
 
Reach Out

Obviously, you can’t just suddenly inform an HOA board member about your idea.  Find out their schedule, then identify the dates of board meetings that are convenient and ask the board secretary to add your presentation to the agenda.  Board members should know ahead of time that you intend to make a presentation.
Never assume that the agendas of board meetings will have an empty slot for you to fill.  Ultimately, even with proper research, your presentation can still fall apart if you lack confidence.  Overcome your anxiety and show the board members that you have complete faith in your idea so it has the best chance possible of being well received!
Posted on January 10, 2020 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Categories: HOA Website
Is your HOA functioning optimally?  Most people think that their community is thriving simply because they have an operational HOA website and an HOA board.  In many cases, no one really knows what is happening and some board members don’t attend the meetings.  The reserve fund may also be close to being depleted, while critical projects are ignored for the most part.  These are all good reasons to appoint an HOA manager and they aren’t the only ones.
 
Money

An HOA manager isn’t someone that should be used solely for posting unwarranted messages on the HOA website.  They can interpret your community’s financial statements, collaborate with management companies, and acquire funding to carry out projects that might unexpectedly come along.  They can also read and manipulate the flow of funds in the community.
 
Communication

One of the ways an HOA manager keeps the community together is by making sure that all members are up-to-date about current events and changes.  They ensure that community members understand the roles they are expected to play.  You can also count on them to encourage support for projects in the community.
 
Vendors

Almost every thriving community requires the services of vendors to perform tasks such as landscaping and accounting.  An HOA manager is expected to not only identify viable vendors but to maintain healthy relationships with them as well.  Most managers know who to contact for each task.
 
Education

In many HOA’s, a manager isn’t able to run the community on their own and needs the help of HOA board members.  If these volunteers are going to fulfill their role, the manager has to organize training sessions that will teach them what they need to know.

The better trained these members are, the more likely they are to succeed in the role.  HOA managers might seem insignificant but that’s because some people that don’t see the work they do behind the scenes to keep communities running smoothly.
Posted on December 16, 2019 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Categories: HOA Website
Anyone that has ever had to shop around for a house understands the frustration often involved with the process.  They also know the overwhelming relief one normally experiences when they finally find their dream home.  Yet, some people advise you to approach the decision of relocating to an HOA with some care.  There are questions you need to ask beforehand to ensure the new community up for discussion is right for you.
 
What Are The Rules & Regulations?

An HOA administers the community, writing and enforcing the rules and regulations for which members are expected to follow.  Before you relocate to an HOA, find out whether or not you can live within the restrictions that are imposed.  In many cases, you can find an HOA’s bylaws on the homeowner association website.
 
What Are The Duties & Responsibilities?

Make sure you know what is expected of everyone before deciding to move.  Are you responsible for your own landscaping or will the HOA take care of it?  You should also know how they handle general repairs and garbage collection.  Associations collect money from residents which they use to manage the community.

Some associations will cover certain costs while others aren’t quite as generous.  Keep in mind that you live in a community and with that comes responsibilities.  Get informed what they are and determine if you are willing to accept them.
 
What Does Life In The HOA Entail?

Obviously, most people wonder what life will be like in their new community and what sort of people will be their neighbors.  What about the resale value of homes in the area?  Spend some time thinking about the kind of life the HOA has to offer and if it’s compatible with your expectations.

A majority of the questions you want to ask about an HOA will be answered on the homeowner association website.  Don’t be afraid to ask as nobody wants to purchase a home in a community that is too restrictive.
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9761 Crosspoint Blvd
 Suite 400
 Indianapolis, IN 46256
Phone: 317.608.6533