Posted on July 26, 2020 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Neighborhoods that never implement a maintenance plan have been known to worsen over time. These communities are characterized by looking messy with unkempt yards, dilapidated structures, and roads that need to be repaved. Such neighborhoods are frustrating to homeowners as they tend to turn away potential buyers. Although, the presence of this type of wear and tear can work in your favor since it will likely convince your HOA to prepare and follow a maintenance plan.
The Role Of A Homeowners Association
Almost every homeowners association website emphasizes the role an HOA plays in maintenance. Yet, many aren’t exactly sure what that means. The association will repair damaged structures, perform basic landscaping upkeep on common areas, and combat insect infestations. HOA management must also collaborate with board members to not only administer ongoing maintenance but to plan for future maintenance tasks and projects.
Use A Proactive Approach
Many communities collapse due to their associations taking a reactive approach to maintenance. A maintenance plan should prepare for the future by analyzing all the areas of a community that might require maintenance in the weeks, months, and years to come. Then, outline the necessary steps that the association needs to take to prepare accordingly.
The Purpose Of A Reserve Study
Reserve studies are frequently mentioned on the homeowners association website as they are a key component of the maintenance plan. A reserve study is a budgeting tool that helps an HOA set aside funds for the community to use so future expenses are met. Board members can’t prepare a credible maintenance plan without crafting and annually reviewing the reserve study.
Some communities fail to meet their maintenance goals since the board has refused to trust in the reserve study. As a result, this presents more of an opportunity for maintenance issues to become a problem. Maintenance plans are vital because they extend the life of a community’s assets. Without a proper plan, the financial and aesthetic value of the community will likely decline.
Posted on June 29, 2020 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
A reserve fund is supposed to prepare the HOA for replacement and repair costs that will come along in the future. Reserve funds are crucial because they ensure that a community’s assets remain operational regardless of the deterioration that might occur over the years. The rules pertaining to how these funds get used are quite strict as they are meant to cater to specific issues and needs.
But, sometimes a problem arises that the reserve fund did not account for or isn’t listed in the reserve study. What happens then if no answer can be found on the neighborhood website? Can the HOA board take funds from the reserves to meet this unexpected expense?
Some people fail to understand why such situations occur since reserve funds are crafted by experts. They should account for every repair and any replacement cost the community might encounter. Residents presume that unexpected repair and replacement costs only happen in cases where the reserve specialist made a miscalculation.
However, this isn’t the case as not everything can be accounted for when analyzing a community. It’s almost impossible to identify all the potential failures. The good news is that reserve funds are flexible since they are prepared in a way to react to unforeseen circumstances.
When board members encounter an emergency, they are likely to feel more encouraged to seek expert assistance. Once the board has received guidance from a specialist, they can proceed by adding the new component to the reserve study. After that, the board can use the reserves to finance the new component but only if the reserves are well funded and can meet the needs of the project.
Many communities have strict rules governing the use of reserve funds and a majority of them can be reviewed from the neighborhood website. Other communities are more flexible when it comes to the way they handle matters in this area. Regardless of the situation, most homeowners wouldn’t object if the board used their power to resolve key components not included in the reserve fund!
Posted on June 8, 2020 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Homeowner associations are expected to maintain the assets of a community but that often involves going to the residents for funding. The more involved a maintenance project is, the more money your HOA will typically demand. But, did you know that it is possible for the association to meet any maintenance goals without raising HOA fees?
In fact, they can reduce maintenance costs altogether and those lower costs will result in lower HOA fees. The key is to make a few basic considerations that will have a significant impact in the long run.
Protect Landscaped Areas
When it comes to reducing costs, a great place to start is by protecting the landscaping throughout the neighborhood. Use the HOA website to encourage residents to respect all the flowers, bushes, and lawns in the common area. Any area that needs work directly impacts the labor costs the community will incur to make replacements. If residents do a better job of respecting the landscape, maintenance costs could drop considerably.
Reasons To Recycle
More people are recycling and this is a habit that needs to gain traction in many communities. Some areas have laws in place that expect communities to recycle and failure to do so results in a substantial fine. This isn’t the only reason to recycle though. Doing so reduces your waste which affects the amount of money you spend on waste disposal services.
Learn The Rules
You should also use the HOA website to fully understand the rules and regulations and make it known to the community when you have the chance. This ensures that more residents fall in line when it comes to recycling, protecting the landscape, and keeping debris away from the common areas. Teach residents what they have to do so HOA fees don’t increase and they almost always comply.
If you opt for a sustainable and renewable way of living, you can cut your costs drastically through recycling and the use of energy-saving techniques. Emphasize the importance of green programs such as this and show residents what they can do to participate. In most cases, it’s easier to lower maintenance costs and keep HOA fees under control when all residents get involved.
Posted on May 26, 2020 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Most residents know that the HOA board oversees all the decisions of a homeowners association. The homeowner association website goes into detail about it, though many people never realize that the board is also expected to protect the association. This is why some board members think of their roles in a light manner. It takes them a while to realize the responsibility they have within the association and its future. Additionally, they are supposed to play a role in keeping it safe from internal and external threats.
Legal matters should always be considered as some people neglect to fulfill their responsibility even though it can disrupt the association. Of course, an HOA has rules and they are governed by laws that vary from state to state. The board is not only expected to fully comprehend these laws but to also ensure that the association is adhering to all requirements. This prevents the association from incurring complaints and lawsuits.
The homeowners association is expected to maintain and enhance the community. Associations usually struggle to achieve goals on their own which is why the board works to locate and hire experts such as lawyers and accountants. They review the operations of the HOA, then provide advice and assistance when necessary. While it would be easy for the association to reject any help in favor of the knowledge of their members, the HOA knows that professionals will guide them to make wise decisions.
Almost every homeowner association website goes to great lengths to assure residents that all decisions made and implemented by the HOA are objective. Sometimes it’s difficult for HOA members to make choices that benefit the entire community rather than their own interests.
A competent HOA board will intervene when necessary to ensure that members always remain objective. The homeowners association plays an important role in the prosperity of a community and it wouldn’t be possible without protection from the board.
Posted on May 11, 2020 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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
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.
- The Significance Of Setting Up A Maintenance Plan For The Homeowners Association
- Can The Board Use Reserve Funds For Items Not Listed In The Reserve Study?
- 4 Considerations That Reduce Maintenance Costs and Stop HOA Fees From Increasing
- Key Tips That Ensure An HOA Board Protects The Homeowners Association
- What Is An Ideal Percentage For The HOA Reserve Funds?
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