Posted on December 4, 2015 9:30 AM by HOA Sites
The reserve funds are an important part of being prepared for maintaining the components within the homeowners association. Some homeowners association members misinterpret the intended use of reserve funds and make the mistake of using those funds when the operating account gets low. Periodically, the homeowners association website needs updated and the same applies to areas of the community.
Eventually, the time will come when certain areas that the homeowners association is responsible for need to be addressed to keep the neighborhood as a premier location. The reserve fund is there to ensure the neighborhood receives the proper upkeep in a timely manner. Without a sufficient reserve fund, what does this mean for homeowners in the community?
Expenses Of The Homeowners Association
Expenses are dependent on a range of variables and circumstances that are beyond the control of the board. Those expenses are driven by the marketplace and items such as building materials tend to increase which significantly influences the funds that are required for future expenditures.
Often, the misguided intentions of some board members to keep the HOA fees low will make it troublesome on securing sufficient funds for the reserve account. While residents would enjoy a decrease in homeowners association fees, the savings would likely be a short-term gain as you could incur unexpected expenses in the future. Lower HOA fees can lead to a cut in the reserve funds as well as disregarding other amenities. Why should this concern you?
Board Members Have A Duty To Fulfill
Board members have a fiduciary obligation to secure an adequate amount of reserve funds for the homeowners association. When the board lacks sufficient funds for the reserve account, homeowners will be asked to pay in the form of a special assessment or accept unpleasant conditions. Try communicating with other residents through the homeowners association website to ensure the next board member fulfills their duty to secure the reserve funds needed for your community to prosper!
Posted on November 20, 2015 8:30 AM by HOA Sites
The chance of becoming distracted while cooking or completing a project at home is a greater possibility than ever before causing some residents to leave an area unattended. Nowadays, mobile devices make it easier for homeowners to visit the neighborhood website but these devices also serve as a distraction. As always, homeowners should exercise caution when multitasking at home as one episode of forgetfulness could cause a fire to start.
Early Detection and The Neighborhood Website
To start, a homeowner should educate themselves on all the fire hazards to be fully aware of the dangers and do their part in having the best plan towards fire prevention. Aside from getting safety tips on the neighborhood website, check with your local fire department for recommendations on smoke detectors, safety tips, and early detection signs.
Some of the newer smoke detectors can actually detect levels of carbon monoxide. According to reports, the leading cause of fire in homes is cooking followed by heating. Frequently, homeowners will start cooking and walk away to do another task with the intention of returning to the kitchen shortly.
Yet, a phone call or another family member causes them to lose focus and forget what they started in the kitchen. The most popular form of heating that has been causing home fires is space heaters. Often, most residents that use these never take the time to read the instructions or verify proper placement and usage of them.
What If The Unimaginable Happens?
Without a doubt, every resident in the homeowners association wants to prevent their house from suffering any fire damage. Obviously, it would be greatly beneficial to install a couple of fire extinguishers to contain small fires before they escalate and potentially save a life. Furthermore, verify you have adequate insurance to protect yourself financially as a few homeowners are shocked to discover they are underinsured after it is too late.
Posted on November 16, 2015 7:30 AM by HOA Sites
At some point, you have likely encountered a neighbor in your community that kept to themselves or seemed to frequently complain about one of the rules in the homeowners association. Today, residents have the option of going on the HOA website to get the answers they need and avoid those times of appearing irritable. While some homeowners prefer to live a more reserved life, establishing a common friendship with other residents often leads to a higher quality of life for everyone in the community.
Great Neighbor Tips Start Here!
The fundamentals to be a great neighbor start with knowing and following the rules set forth by the homeowners association. Lead by example so other neighbors follow along and this establishes a more cooperative environment that reduces the chance of a resident getting special treatment.
Secondly, resolve issues you encounter with other residents by opening up the topic in person using a polite and respectful tone. On average, most homeowners are too busy to address any issues face to face and choose to send a text, an email, or social media message.
Next, take the time to assist your neighbors when they might need guidance with a project or special occasion. If you can offer them alternatives that saves them money or time, they will surely appreciate your suggestions and be inclined to return the favor when you need help.
Are You Considerate Of Your Neighbors?
Often, there are holidays and times of celebration that are ideal for inviting neighbors over to enjoy a more relaxed setting. As well, there are times where you may only invite family over. During those events, notify your neighbors ahead of time so they know what to expect such as additional noise or to watch for kids. Usually, simple actions like this are greatly appreciated and show that you take your neighbors into consideration.
Lastly, get involved in your community to be a great neighbor whether you volunteer your time or keep residents informed on the HOA website. The impact is beneficial to your neighbors and rewarding to you for many years to come.
Posted on November 6, 2015 10:00 AM by HOA Sites
Many residents tend to decorate their homes with an assortment of light displays or simple decorations during the holidays to celebrate the season. In an HOA community, there are generally guidelines to follow that limit the extent of decorating, but not all homeowners associations are the same. How do you know if the decorations you plan to use are allowed?
Often, regulations are found in the rules of the governing documents or on the homeowner association website to inform you of what is acceptable. To avoid the annoyance and embarrassment of removing any items, follow-up with a couple of neighbors about the decorations that are restricted prior to decorating your home.
Is Your Homeowners Association Lenient?
For homeowners that are new to the community, it is especially important that you find out about the decorations policy in place concerning the holiday season in your homeowners association. Even if the rules are restrictive, the homeowners association might not strictly enforce these rules as they want to keep homeowners happy during the holidays.
Most residents that have lived in the community for a few years are well aware what the homeowners association will accept. If the decorations you are considering violate the rules, you can always attend a board meeting with a proposal to make an amendment to the decorations policy. Typically, it is best to decorate according to the rules of your homeowners association and avoid the risk of receiving any potential fine.
Insight & Your Preference
Ultimately, there are many aspects that factor into enjoying the holiday season and decorating for the holidays is just one aspect. Homeowners that deeply value decorating their home for the holidays should verify that the rules of the HOA fit their particular preference before joining the community. Frequently, the homeowner association website and future neighbors provide a great deal of insight on choosing a community that suitably fits your individual needs.
Posted on October 30, 2015 2:50 PM by HOA Sites
Regardless of the neighborhood, every resident enjoys living in a safe community where they feel comfortable living their day to day life. Ordinarily, a homeowners association ensures a community is secure and homeowners never think about when they could be the next victim of crime.
For those that visit the community website, they have an advantage of being aware of important matters and staying prepared for the future. With the holiday season upon us, there could be no better time than the present to be ready for criminal activity so you can better protect your home and yourself.
In addition to the community website, there are a variety of other resources to connect with in order to be proactive about safety in your neighborhood. First and foremost, sign up for alerts and notifications before a crisis or emergency so you stay up-to-date about developing news. Regularly, this improves the participation of residents to engage with other residents about pivotal situations so everyone is well-informed.
Also, immediately report all suspicious activity to the authorities despite how insignificant it may seem as prevention is the key. Residents with families should especially stay attentive and be creative with ways of implementing safety measures such as discussing basic safety tips with their children.
The Goal Of Community Safety
Posted on October 9, 2015 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
During the Fall season, the leaves start changing color and the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors with neighbors becomes less probable. Planning community events such as a fall festival allows residents to come together one more time to enjoy their friendships before colder weather arrives.
In most cases, the homeowners association website will have the details of the festival posted there for residents to get informed or volunteer. Reliable volunteers are always appreciated as many activities will need to be organized depending on the size of your community. What are some aspects to keep in mind for the festival to be a success?
Fun For All Ages!
Many homeowners want to celebrate the occasion without any difficulties so be sure to plan everything with a back-up plan in mind. This applies to volunteers, location of the event, food, and games. As a rule, always have more volunteers than what you think will be necessary to ensure everything goes according to plan if there would be a cancellation.
Ideally, this is an event that residents of all ages will be attending so there should be a variety of activities such as pumpkin carving, face painting, bake walks, and a bounce house. Residents that have lived in the community for many years will likely catch up with long-time friends while younger residents participate in games.
A Festival To Remember
Often, a variety of games enables the homeowners to engage in activities that are both fun and beneficial to building friendships in the community. The best fall festivals are those that residents enjoy and establish new friendships with other homeowners that last for many years to come. After the event concludes, use the homeowners association website to submit your thoughts on the success of the Fall festival and ways that it can be improved for next year!
Posted on October 5, 2015 9:31 AM by HOA Sites
Regulations on your home and property are often the last thing you want as it can interrupt your lifestyle in the most inconvenient ways. Aside from viewing the neighborhood website, there are many areas to check into so you stay content with your decision on where you choose to live.
Checking on the rules, bylaws, and CC&Rs of a homeowners association is a must for any homeowner before making conclusive plans on relocating. The CC&Rs are known as the governing documents over a property and it stands for covenants, conditions, and restrictions. Will they play a role in your daily life as a homeowner
Covenants, Conditions, & Restrictions Reminders
As a general rule, most homeowners that are looking to move into a new neighborhood like what they see and have already accepted a majority of what the CC&Rs cover. Typically, they require that homeowners keep their lawn mowed and limitations may be placed on the color of your house. As well as the type of landscaping that is visible from the front.
Not all homeowners associations will be the same and enforce these rules as strictly as others. The key is to remember what is defined in the CC&Rs and ask yourself if they will interfere with your happiness for the duration you expect to reside in that area. After all, these are in place to maintain and enhance the value of your property.
Clarify The Situation
In some cases, the CC&Rs may require that you park your vehicles inside the garage or demand you follow specific fencing guidelines. Additionally, they could also have strict rules regarding swing sets, outdoor lights, mailboxes, and garbage cans. Areas such as these can present a complication if you are a homeowner who is particular as the CC&Rs necessitate a more extensive process to get relief from. If the neighborhood website is unclear, seek legal advice so you fully understand the covenants, conditions, and restrictions.
Posted on September 25, 2015 1:34 PM by HOA Sites
Part of living in a homeowners association is to understand the bylaws and how they protect the HOA and residents. The bylaws are guidelines to how the homeowners association operates and they establish boundaries for making revisions to the bylaws themselves when changes are imperative.
Often, the bylaws can be found on the HOA website as they cover many aspects of the homeowners association. Included in the bylaws are the voting rights of members, schedule of meetings, responsibilities of the board of directors, and those who serve on the board.
Will An Update Change Your Point Of View?
Residents that accept the bylaws of a homeowners association may not agree to an amendment of a bylaw while other residents may be ready for a change. Some residents may have relocated after analyzing the guidelines of the homeowners association as the bylaws can significantly influence the satisfaction of homeowners. If those bylaws are updated, that could lead to major changes in voting rights or replacing members on the board of directors.
With each passing year, there may be bylaws that become out-of-date and need updated to efficiently address matters within the homeowners association. Periodically, the board of directors should evaluate the bylaws to ensure they adequately fulfill the needs and concerns of residents.
Take A Vote!
Bylaw changes not only come about from the board of directors but also from homeowners who are requesting it. When a change happens, it must be performed in a manner according to what is outlined in the bylaws. Typically, proposed changes to the bylaws are discussed in a meeting where the amendment is voted upon before the change can be reflected.
Various homeowners associations allow the board to update the bylaws without taking a vote among the members as long as it is noted in the bylaws. Normally, a majority of homeowners want to have a voice in those changes. Prevent moments of frustration by learning about the bylaws and the voting process through the HOA website.
Posted on September 21, 2015 8:55 AM by HOA Sites
Without the homeowner association website, many potential residents would struggle to get the information they need to decide which place fits them the best. Whether you are buying for the first time or moving to a new neighborhood, the price of your new place is likely the most significant figure when calculating your monthly budget.
Occasionally, budget calculations fail to accurately account for one number that plays an important factor when it comes to living in a homeowners association or condo community. The HOA fees or condo fees can make a substantial impact when taking into account your current and long-term finances.
Assess Your Finances Properly
The first step in recognizing the impact of HOA fees or condo fees is to identify what is included in those fees. Especially for condo fees as they tend to be higher than homeowners association fees due to handling repairs and upkeep of the building. Higher condo fees can increase your monthly expenses unless those fees include other costs that are normally separate from homeowner’s association fees.
Comparatively, the HOA fees are lower which allows residents to have more of a selection when choosing a place. For a homeowner, the homeowner association website provides the most efficient way for residents to stay current so they assess fees that impact their short-term and long-term finances.
The Impact Of Fees
Generally, HOA fees differ substantially from condo fees so keep that in mind when calculating the monthly expenses and what you are able to afford. On occasion, the community fees mislead some individuals as they accept that they can only afford the same priced house as condo. Always consider the impact of the fees as they can be significant depending on the value and location of the home or condo. Residents that make wise financial decisions stay informed of the latest through the homeowner association website or condo website.
Posted on September 14, 2015 10:13 AM by HOA Sites
Advancements in technology have improved the way the community website is accessed and provided many homeowners with more eco-friendly options than ever before. As a homeowner, you may want to take advantage of those options to save energy and promote a healthier environment. In a majority of homeowners associations, there are limitations on what a homeowner can do when it comes to environmental choices that nearby neighbors will view on a daily basis.
Residents that implement environmentally friendly features to their homes typically save on energy use while improving the indoor quality of their home. Even though the initial investment is more, homes with environment-friendly designs have been estimated to save 25-30% on energy usage.
The most efficient ways of doing this are to use Energy Star appliances, implement solar panels, and use natural light when possible while having adequate shading to reduce the need for air conditioning. Generally, residents that are buying an existing home are limited as far as what they can do to make their home green. If a new home is being constructed, design features such as solar panels can be integrated from the beginning to lower energy costs as long as the homeowners association approves of it.
Will The Homeowners Association Approve?
Environmental changes are often noticed outside where some neighbors prefer to use chemicals on their lawn that are environmentally-safe or dry their clothes on a clothesline to lower energy use. A homeowners association may require that your lawn is well-maintained or forbid clothes to be hung outside then you may be forced to use different chemicals or dry your clothes inside.
If aspects such as this are important to you, take the time to become familiar with the HOA’s environmental practices. Regularly viewing the community website helps residents stay current about the environmental limitations as there could be a revision to a rule during a meeting.
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