Posted on June 10, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Communities within a homeowners association share numerous similarities with one another such as requiring residents to pay HOA fees and follow rules. Yet, each association may have differences you should know about when considering to buy a home. Presently, the community website offers current and future residents the chance to learn more about the homeowners association. Does the community website contain relevant facts about your HOA community?
Rules, Fees, & Changes
The rules of an HOA may be posted online but each homeowner should know what happens if they violate a rule. In some instances, a simple rule violation may impose a fine you never expected. Additionally, failure to pay HOA fees or fines related to a violation of the CC&R’s may lead to foreclosure on your property.
As well, this is an ideal time to learn about the process required for rule changes or new rules to be implemented. HOA meetings may take place during times that conflict with your schedule which makes it difficult to have a voice in your homeowners association. Keep in mind, homes that are located within HOA’s require all residents to belong to the association so you will pay fees and comply with the rules. Will living in a homeowners association be an enjoyable or frustrating experience for you?
The History & The Future
Each community will differ in fees but a few facts about homeowners associations can significantly influence your experience. As a precaution, ask about the reserve fund and to see an updated history of the HOA fees for the last 5 or 10 years. The history of the homeowners association might help give you insight on what to expect going forward. Always confirm any facts you find on the community website before ending up in a neighborhood that is completely different than what you anticipated!
Posted on June 3, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Board meetings are intended to effectively address and resolve issues within the homeowners association. Occasionally, various members may try to redirect that focus on matters that have little or nothing to do with what is listed on the agenda for that particular meeting.
Information regarding the way board meetings should be conducted can usually be found on the homeowners association website. Homeowners who participate in these meetings are asked to stay on the topic at hand so discussions result in a productive HOA board meeting. What are some useful techniques that lead to constructive meetings and eliminate times of chaos?
Stay On Track
Discussions during board meetings lose focus for a variety of reasons. One familiar reason is when the topic involves a highly debated matter that affects many in the homeowners association. Meetings could escalate to a point where members are no longer calm and the discussion has taken a negative direction.
When that happens, clear the air by asking to table the discussion to the next meeting. At the next meeting, the stage is set for members to conduct themselves in a more calm and positive manner so everyone is treated with respect.
Another effective tool to use when the discussion veers off topic is for the chair to suggest taking the topic “off line”. This option invites the member to speak privately without wasting the time of others during the board meeting. As a result, everyone in attendance stays focused on discussions that pertain to the agenda.
What Is On The Agenda?
Basically, the agenda facilitates each meeting so discussions remain productive and move along efficiently. Members can encourage others to stay on course with the agenda by referring to it when they speak. Maintain your composure at HOA board meetings to ensure progress and learn about any changes through the homeowners association website!
Posted on May 26, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Financing a renovation project or common area repairs are usually done with funding that the homeowners association has set aside in an account. An account such as a reserve fund is supposed to have stable and sufficient funding to offset ongoing deterioration by conducting a current reserve study. Yet, there are times when some homeowners associations lack the funds required to pay for the project in full. What option is in the best interest of the homeowners association?
Complete The Project On Time
Maybe postponing the project is an option depending on the extent of the work and the light inconvenience it presents homeowners. Another option is to divide the project up into a longer time frame so more funds can be accumulated to cover the cost of the project. If those are unacceptable then the other alternatives are a special assessment or secure a loan.
Even though they are a one-time fee, special assessments are a financial burden on members that may take longer to collect than expected. The objective is to keep the neighborhood attractive so property values are protected and members stay positive on the neighborhood website. How will a loan make that happen?
Timely Repairs & Less Financial Burden
Homeowners and potential buyers expect the homeowners association to fulfill their fiduciary responsibility by completing projects in a timely fashion. By securing a loan, projects are completed before they get any worse and homeowners avoid paying a large amount all at once. However, a loan still needs repaid and with that comes interest but the financial burden is initially far less troublesome.
That decision can be avoided by keeping the reserve study current so a sufficient amount is always maintained in the reserve fund. Potential homeowners that navigate the neighborhood website should look for signs of repairs and updates not being recent to rule out future financial issues.
Posted on May 23, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
All homeowners want to live in a safe neighborhood but finding the home they want in a great location may take longer than expected. Reportedly over 350,000 homeowners associations exist in the country with each of them offering safety as one of many benefits. Does the homeowners association you live in have a HOA website?
Through the HOA website, homeowners can connect with one another on ways to improve the safety of their community. The HOA board can also conduct a routine survey that collects the thoughts of homeowners about security-related vulnerabilities.
How Can You Identify Safety?
A familiar mistake with regard to safety in a HOA is that most homeowners let their guard down. For instance, some residents get a false sense of security because the association has security patrol. Security patrol may have numerous areas to monitor throughout the neighborhood so you should never rely solely on them.
Occasionally, there might be times when they happen to be patrolling other parts of the community.
In some homeowners associations, CCTV cameras may be placed in areas of the neighborhood to catch criminals in the act. The market is flooded with video surveillance equipment and some systems are only props to prevent criminal activity from happening. How do you know if the cameras in your neighborhood are real or fake? The goal is not to scare anyone but to encourage proactive measures that improve the safety of all homeowners!
What Concerns Do You Have?
There are many ways to identify areas in your community where safety should be improved but homeowners ignore it from time to time. Each homeowner can increase the safety in their community by voicing their thoughts through security surveys and the HOA website. As a result, targeted solutions are generated from the board to appropriately address the safety concerns of residents.
Posted on May 13, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
There are a number of things the HOA board needs to prepare when working with a manager for the first time. Prior to meeting, preparations should be made by the board in anticipation to what the manager will ask regarding the specifics of the association. As well, the homeowners association website is a means for the board to communicate with homeowners about the upcoming changes. What should the HOA board have ready in order to be prepared for the manager?
Managing The Homeowners Association
A newly hired manager will need to see updated documents to fully understand the responsibility and direction of the homeowners association. Those documents include the bylaws, CC&Rs, rules & regulations, amendments, financial reports, tax documents, recent list of homeowners, and all planned projects. The manager can effectively enhance the association where it is needed most when these documents are neatly organized beforehand.
Additionally, any records of the homeowners association should be gathered in advance to ensure the management process is a smooth transition. Records should be compiled in regard to insurance policies, board meetings & minutes, financials, tax returns, vendor invoices, a reserve study, and any litigation. When these records are arranged chronologically, it provides the manager with clarity when looking back on past events.
What Will Homeowners Think?
From the start, the HOA board should keep homeowners informed about their management plans. A proper introduction where homeowners meet the manager face-to-face may be the best way to initiate a positive relationship between homeowners and a manager. Homeowners should feel comfortable with the manager as they will be communicating with one another in the future.
Through the homeowners association website, homeowners immediately learn more about the association and feel confident in the HOA board. In this instance, informing homeowners about bringing a manager on board encourages them to be comfortable with the decision of the homeowners association!
Posted on May 6, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Disputes in the homeowners association can happen from time to time no matter how well you treat a fellow neighbor. Installing a fence on your property may lead to a dispute depending on the manner in which you install it. As a precaution, there are some must-dos each homeowner should follow.
In a homeowners association, there are rules to comply with and those can typically be found on the community website. Those rules are in place to not only protect the value of your home but also your neighbors. What should you know before starting your fencing project?
Fence Etiquette In The HOA
When installing a new fence, it’s important to know the HOA rules before you begin to avoid any potential issues so update yourself on the latest version of the rules. You will likely be spending a considerable amount of money for this and violating the rules regarding fences would require you to remove the fence. Various homeowners associations have mandatory requirements about the height, style, and maintenance that are listed on the community website.
One must-do when building a fence is to locate the official property line. Special importance should be given to this and you may want to have your property surveyed to clarify where the property line is located. Double check the boundaries of your property to eliminate the risk of having to remove your fence due to a boundary violation. You want to stay on good terms with your neighbors, right?
Respect Your Neighbor
You may live in the same homeowners association for decades, as well as your neighbor. Occasionally, you might see one another so it’s beneficial to be on good terms. A dispute over fencing is avoidable by sharing your plans with neighbors beforehand so any potential opposition is resolved. As a rule, treat neighbors how you expect to be treated and follow-up with the homeowners association about your fencing plans.
Posted on April 27, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
A variety of options are available when choosing the lighting for your home and it can be confusing if you haven’t purchased lights recently. Each room has a purpose so you should consider the function of each room and how you want the lighting to optimize that space when choosing a light bulb.
Nowadays, many choices for HOA residents have been simplified by turning to the homeowner association website for advice. Lighting can have an impact on your sleep, productivity, and mood as it improves alertness or relaxes you. Do you know which light bulb is best for your home?
The three most common bulbs that homeowners use are incandescent, compact fluorescent (CFL), and LED. Incandescent bulbs are the traditional bulb which most homeowners used for decades that are inexpensive with an expected lifespan of 1,000 hours. Compact fluorescent bulbs offer energy savings over incandescent bulbs as they use 70-80% less electric and last 9,000 hours.
LED lights, or light-emitting diode lights use about 50% the power of a CFL bulb and last 50,000 hours. The initial cost is more than a CFL bulb but LED lights are more energy efficient and have a longer life. Even though LED’s use less energy, they still produce the same amount of brightness! How does this play a role in your expenses?
In 2012, a new lighting label by the Federal Trade Commission requires bulbs to include information on the “lumen” output. Ordinarily, homeowners that visit the homeowner association website think of watts as the output of a light but lumens is how much light the bulb actually puts out. Watts is the amount of electricity consumed by the bulb and the more lumens per watt translates into energy savings.
Not only are LED bulbs highly efficient but they are extremely durable and eco-friendly as they contain no toxic materials. Consider LED bulbs the next time you need to replace a bulb as they are the best option for lighting your home!
Posted on April 18, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Nothing may be more aggravating for a homeowner than living in a homeowners association where neighbors neglect to keep their outdoor spaces orderly. Outdoor spaces such as patios are likely to collect clutter throughout the year as doing so conveniently keeps the inside of your home well-kept. Does the neighborhood website for your homeowners association list any tips for residents to keep their spaces clean?
Tips That Maintain Orderliness
First and foremost, each homeowner should do their part towards maintaining the appearance of a quality community. Aside from seasonal cleaning, outside areas of your home should be routinely cleaned or checked on some type of schedule so they remain clutter-free.
During the holidays, items may be placed on the patio and forgotten about so choose one day each week to remove those items. Often, this reduces clutter from accumulating into piles that require hours to clean so it seems less discouraging to tackle.
Typically, these items that are placed in the view of other residents are unnecessary to keep around or provide little benefit. For residents with kids, it helps to implement a way of removing one item when adding a new item. Occasionally, kids may rethink if they want that new toy or not when they have to choose to give one up. What time will you devote towards keeping your place appealing?
Maybe You Have The Time
At some point, clutter needs to be removed before it gets out of hand and it would be unfair to neighbors if you let it get beyond an acceptable level. Residents that take a preventative approach towards keeping their space clean experience less time on a weekend removing clutter. Do yourself a favor by taking the time on weekdays to keep your home neatly organized and track the neighborhood website for additional tips.
Posted on April 7, 2016 11:32 AM by HOA Sites
At HOA board meetings, members have the opportunity for their voice to be heard on issues or for them to give their opinion about the association. The homeowners association board is required by law to give members this time to comment which is referred to as open comment time. Visit the HOA website beforehand so you follow the guidelines when you speak at a board meeting and know what to expect afterwards.
Know The Expectations
Most members want an answer or immediate action that addresses their comments, but law requires only those issues on the agenda are discussed for that board meeting. Comments that apply to what is on the agenda can be discussed at that particular time. Otherwise, the board will add comments to the agenda for the next board meeting.
Once you understand this, your expectations are clearer since you know in advance whether or not the board will entertain your comment on the spot. Often, members avoid the aggravation of not having their comment addressed by understanding that the board meetings must follow the agenda. Find out more about agendas on the HOA website!
When Is The Right Time?
Choosing a time for open comments depends on the board. When open comments are at the beginning it allows members to talk about their topics and concerns without sitting through the entire meeting. Comments at the beginning are great for members who speak on issues that are not on the agenda. This allows them to quickly bring their topic to the attention of the board so it can be on the agenda for the following meeting.
The other alternative is to have comments at the end. If a meeting takes longer than expected, members could leave the meeting without voicing their opinion. Additionally, many people may want to give their input at the meeting so a time limit is often enforced to allow each member to speak. Time limits also prevent a hot topic from ending up in a debate!
Posted on April 1, 2016 10:19 AM by HOA Sites
A homeowners association has many positive aspects that prove to be favorable over time whether you know it or not. As a resident in the HOA, the homeowner association website is just one example of how living in a community improves your quality of living as you have the option to see the latest without waiting for a newsletter.
If you have always lived in an association, you may not recognize how living in a community with rules eliminates a majority of annoyances with neighbors. Yet, new homeowners are discovering for the first time the advantages of living in a neighborhood where residents follow rules set forth by the HOA.
What Suits You Best?
Each homeowner has preferences for what they want in a house and in a neighborhood. The value of your home is directly affected by where it’s located and you want to buy in a neighborhood where the location protects or increases the value of your home. Homeowners associations are in place so consistency is maintained throughout the neighborhood which protects property values.
Consistency throughout the community is the outcome of having rules in place on what homeowners can do with their place. This keeps neighbors from committing careless acts that negatively impact property values such as painting their house a bizarre color or parking a boat in their driveway all year.
In the future, this may play a significant role in your plans to relocate if ever you decide to move to another location. Potential buyers know that limitations in a homeowners association ensure residents to live within the appointed guidelines and you may sell your home quicker as a result.
Will Your Lifestyle Be Enhanced?
Aside from resale value, homeowners also get the added benefit of amenities to enjoy which usually promote a healthier lifestyle. For homeowners with kids, having a community pool or park promotes this as doing activities together as a family require less time traveling. An enhanced way of living makes it favorable for you to live in a homeowners association where a homeowner association website connects residents.
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