Posted on November 13, 2017 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Categories: HOA Website
Most dogs require a certain amount of interaction to keep them entertained as they are social and sensitive animals.  Often, they easily get bored if there’s nothing to keep them engaged and they might find relief in constant barking.  Other dogs will respond in a noisy manner to any activity as a way of staying occupied.

If you live in a neighborhood where there are dogs, then you probably agree that there’s nothing more annoying than relentless barking.  Even for dog lovers, barking that seems to never cease is irritating and it needs urgent attention.  Whether you’re a homeowner or a board member, the following tips will help you know how the HOA can deal with complaints regarding barking.
Specify & Enforce Rules

The HOA board can place rules concerning barking on the HOA website where all homeowners may see them.  The penalties associated with unresolved barking should be outlined clearly.  Aside from that, the board has a responsibility to make sure that dog owners who don’t abide by the rules are penalized.
Educate Owners About Bark Prevention Methods

Dog owners are probably as curious about the barking problem their dog has as everyone else in the neighborhood.  The board should step in and offer them ideas on what may be causing their dog to bark and what techniques will ease the matter.  For instance, training can be very helpful so advise owners how professionals train their dogs to avoid unnecessary barking.

Fortunately, there are numerous professionals in this sector that can be reached online.  In severe cases, anti-barking collars can be used to keep dogs from barking.  A possibility owners should consider is to get another dog so their current dog has a partner and doesn’t start barking as a response to loneliness.
If you’re a board member, you likely recognize laziness is one of the leading reasons as to why dog owners fail to deal with barking problems effectively.  Use the HOA website as a tool to keep everyone educated so fewer complaints are reported and the community is a more peaceful place.
Posted on October 25, 2017 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Categories: HOA Website
Insurance is vital for the protection of your property whether you own a home or rent one within a homeowners association.  It’s advisable to compare prices so you get rates that help you save money and check the homeowner association website to see what others suggest.  Aside from that, here are a few more tips to help you save on homeowner’s insurance.
Ask For Discounts

Security systems, carbon dioxide detectors, and fire resistant roofing are some of the safety features that can help reduce your rates.  You may also be able to reduce your insurance costs by becoming a long-term client or by bundling other policies such as car insurance with the same provider.  If you’re more than 55 years old, a majority of insurers have been known to give senior discounts.
Avoid Double Coverage

In most cases, the land underneath the house stays intact after events so including the land in the policy only serves to increase the costs.  Ask your provider to call your HOA’s provider to ensure the policy you are choosing is not already covered by your homeowners association.

The insurer might request for a copy of the HOA governing documents to fully understand your responsibility versus the responsibility of the association.  It’s worth mentioning that not all that is insured will be completely replaced.  Opting for a policy to insure only the items with an actual cash value will help you save money by not paying for items that would not be reimbursed.
A Separate Policy For Your Area

Ultimately, it’s important that you understand a typical homeowners insurance policy doesn’t cover natural disasters such as earthquakes.  The cost of a separate policy for natural disasters depends on the possibility of natural disasters around your neighborhood.  Make a difference in your community and guide others to save on their homeowners insurance by sharing these tips on the homeowner association website.
Posted on October 11, 2017 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Categories: HOA Website
At some point, a majority of HOA boards have considered running the entire homeowners association on their own.  While this option may end up being a success, it’s important to know that it comes with many inherent risks.  Before you decide to self manage an HOA, know these 4 risks that come with running a homeowners association without a manager.
Legal Liabilities
With the absence of a qualified manager, the homeowners association could break certain laws and not realize it.  HOA’s have to file legal paperwork which includes disclosures and reserve updates.  They must also keep up with changing laws and carry out proper accounting practices.  Without a professional on board, an HOA might accidentally overlook some legal obligations that could end up in a lawsuit against the association.
Lack Of Efficiency

Even though running an HOA requires a great deal of time, there are still people who think they can run it as a part-time job.  HOA managers have to maintain the community website, hold meetings, address members’ concerns, and create newsletters.  Often, those who volunteer to manage the homeowners association struggle with the responsibilities which leads to an inefficient association.
Unilateral Decisions By The Board

Without a professional HOA manager, you can end up with influential board members who make unilateral decisions that may be against the interests of homeowners.  Board members might decide to ignore issues raised on the community website, thus failing to stay accountable to members in the community.  When that happens, it could lead to a lack of accountability and other issues in the homeowners association.
Lack Of Representation

The absence of a manager could leave some homeowners open to being unjustly fined without any avenue for recourse.  A manager can serve as a neutral party in the event that there is a dispute between a homeowner and the board.  In most cases, HOA’s are better off with a manager in place as they know the laws and handle all matters in a professional manner.
Posted on September 25, 2017 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Categories: HOA Website
Most homeowners associations strive to provide residents with a higher level of safety and privacy in the community.  In order to do that, the HOA board must do their part to ensure the rules are followed so all homeowners are treated equally.  When everyone follows the rules, fewer issues transpire and the community benefits as more people connect on the homeowners association website.

If the HOA board fails to make a homeowner comply with rules it can have a negative impact on relations with other residents.  The following are all reasons why the board needs to enforce the rules in your homeowners association.
Responsibility & Protection

In every association, the HOA board is in charge of many tasks that ultimately lead to a smooth running community.  When board members accept their position, they are required to not only abide by the regulations but to also put them into action.  In HOA communities, there are law abiding members and an occasional defiant one.
For instance, some homeowners will install a security system but the camera may be angled in a way that it invades the privacy of a neighbor.  The board has a duty to step in and protect that neighbor from the one who is not following the rules.  If the board would ignore this situation, the homeowners association could face legal action.
Financial Obligations & Trust

The homeowners association relies on HOA fees and assessments to cover operational costs and maintenance projects.  The board has a responsibility of ensuring all members pay their fees and assessments to avoid having a lack of funds.  If the rules are frequently broken and no action is taken, the board will slowly lose credibility and members will stop trusting them to handle matters on their behalf.
Remember, dedication from the HOA board on enforcing the rules is crucial for the homeowners association to thrive.  Additionally, consider using the homeowners association website to keep members informed about the benefits of following the rules!
Posted on September 11, 2017 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Categories: HOA Website
In order to make your home a more secure place, you may have considered installing a home security system and networking with neighbors through the neighborhood website.  Before you splurge on a sophisticated security system, there are a few factors you should understand.
While a homeowners association usually provides a safer place, privacy is also an area of concern and every HOA should asses that carefully in relation to local and state regulations.  What are the most vital aspects of a sound home security system?

A security system with external cameras is a modification to the exterior of your home and typically needs authorization from the HOA.  The homeowners association will conduct a review to determine whether or not your system is reducing the privacy of other homeowners and limiting the enjoyment of their property.  Additionally, the HOA board may want to review your home security system to verify that cameras are in a respectable location with regard to your neighbors’ property.
Goals & Purpose

Often, there is a distinct purpose for a security system to be installed that goes beyond the obvious security reasons.  What do you look to achieve by installing external security cameras?  Will you monitor the cameras, retrieve footage online, or store the recordings to be analyzed later?  Prior to having the system installed, research the neighborhood website for information and know what the rules are in your homeowners association.
Location Of Installation

The best location to install your cameras is in the least visible spot.  Beyond that, you should ensure they mainly focus on your property and avoid positioning them where they may capture a neighbors’ home.  A majority of homeowners opt for a flashy home security system these days but they should be installed according to the HOA rules.  As a homeowner, the goal is to find a balance between your desire to feel secure and the privacy of those who live next door.
Posted on August 28, 2017 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Categories: HOA Website
Newsletters are important to any homeowners association as they play a role in keeping homeowners informed and increase participation in HOA activities.  Together with social media and the HOA website, newsletters are a great way to raise awareness on issues that need more attention.  Some homeowners may be busy with daily life so take the necessary steps to ensure you create an attractive and informative newsletter.  This advice will guide you towards creating an appealing newsletter for your homeowners association.
Capture The Readers’ Attention

First, a newsletter must attract and captivate the reader.  In order to achieve this you should know what kind of people will be reading the information.  Since most homeowners are usually working adults, write and format your newsletter in a professional way to capture their attention.  Newsletters that are poorly formatted and contain casual language will likely be ignored by homeowners.
Content on the HOA website and in the newsletters should be written in a clear and simple format.  Avoid using jargon that readers may not be aware of as that can cause them to lose interest and stop reading the newsletter.  Instead, write in a direct way and use terminology all homeowners are familiar with so readers continue to read the newsletter every month.
Relay Useful Information

Obviously, the goal of the newsletter is to make sure it contains information that readers will find helpful.  Include information that homeowners want to know and incorporate an image or chart to present statistics.  Visual aids are effective towards keeping the reader interested and it enhances their understanding of your newsletter.
The last aspect to remember about newsletters is that most readers prefer them to be concise.  Ensure the newsletter is brief and avoid using harsh warnings, rules, or ultimatums.  If homeowners have participated in HOA activities, mention their name in the newsletter as this will make it more appealing to read and encourage volunteering in the future.
Posted on August 7, 2017 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Categories: HOA Website
There are a number of factors that cause the rise or fall of property value in any community.  Many homeowner association websites tend to wrongly attribute such changes in property values to factors that seem obvious at first glance but this has led to a variety of misconceptions.  The following are some common misconceptions about property values that have been brought to light.
The Effect of Assessments

Often, homeowners have an assumption that assessments can raise or lower property values.  In fact, some homeowner association websites fail to display high assessment scores for fear that it might turn away prospective buyers.  The truth is that assessments tend to factor in areas that are not necessarily linked to the value of the property.  Instead, homeowners associations should be focused on giving residents more value for their money and share information with them about the budget.

Another misconception is that the presence of renters in the community affects property values.  This has been advanced by lenders as they use that information when making decisions on loan applications.  HOA boards should think of renters as potential homeowners and treat them like full members of the community.  On occasion, renters decide to become homeowners and buy the home if they feel a sense of community.
Lack Of Uniform Design

Property values are affected by design standards, not by whether or not the houses are of a uniform architectural design.  All homeowners should adhere to baseline aesthetic standards but homeowners also expect small alterations to be allowed.  However, HOA’s must ensure that the aesthetic value of the property in the area remains high.
The value of any given property is affected by the aggregate value of the properties around it.  Homeowners associations maintain good property values by collecting an adequate maintenance fee and getting the community to participate.  The role of maintenance falls on the board, but homeowners can help improve property values by supporting their HOA board.
Posted on July 11, 2017 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Categories: HOA Website
Homeowners associations are in place to protect property values, look out for our welfare, and that of the community we live in.  Most associations send out communication through regular mail, email, or updates on the community website.  Many homeowners have busy lifestyles and become preoccupied with other tasks so it is easy to disregard important communication from the HOA board.  When you receive communication from your homeowners association, there are a few actions you should refrain from to avoid missing important messages.
Electronic Communication

The first step when it comes to electronic communication is to ensure emails from your homeowners association don’t go to the spam folder.  Your HOA may be sending emails instead of regular mail as a way to reduce costs and lower their carbon footprint.  Take the time to read emails because they could be relaying important messages regarding reminders about upcoming maintenance in the community, minutes of HOA meetings, or requesting your presence regarding an issue.
What Not To Do With Print Communication

Print communication from the homeowners association may come in the form of notices on bulletin boards, fliers, and newsletters.  A copy of the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions is also handed to you upon moving in.  Never ignore mail from the HOA board as it may be an urgent notice that requires your immediate attention.  Some notices might contain reminders about HOA fees or a new rule that you need to adhere to.
Ideally, it is best to read mail from the association before disposing of it or you might incur a fine by unknowingly failing to follow a new rule.  Visit the community website as often as possible to see if any updates have been posted that concern you.  As a homeowner, staying informed and adhering to the HOA guidelines is always a good idea!
Posted on June 16, 2017 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Categories: HOA Website
Homeowners associations offer many advantages to residents but the level at which you enjoying living there is usually determined by how active you are in the community.  There are also other aspects to consider that play a role in maximizing the experience you have such as the homeowners association website and interaction with neighbors.  What will ensure that you get the most out of living in a homeowners association?
Learn Through Meetings

HOA meetings are an excellent way to stay informed and make it possible for your voice to be heard whether you recently relocated or have lived in the community for years.  Particularly, the biggest advantage with attending a meeting is that you always know the latest about important matters.  During the annual meeting, major projects and the potential for an increase to the HOA fees are discussed in detail.
Typically, the meeting calendar is posted to the homeowners association website so frequently check there to know when the meetings will be held.  The next step towards an enjoyable living involves relaying issues to the manager or the person in charge.  Often, all it takes is explaining what the problem is so corrective action may be taken to remedy the situation.  What else can influence how much you enjoy living in a homeowners association?
Involvement In The Community

In an HOA, there are committees that deal with the different aspects of the association and volunteering for a committee is a great way to get involved.  Not only does it give you a sense of working together with neighbors to achieve a common goal but it also strengthens the community.  If the community thrives, it becomes a more enjoyable place to live so volunteer a little of your time and you just might find that you get more value out of it than expected.
Posted on May 31, 2017 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Categories: HOA Website
The process of collecting HOA fees is a constant that homeowners can always expect when living in a homeowners association.  That fee covers the maintenance on amenities in the neighborhood and costly projects that require money to be set aside for in a reserve fund.  The amount is different in each homeowners association but you can expect to pay them monthly, quarterly, or annually.  However, the association is prohibited from certain acts should you not pay the HOA fees on time.  Have you checked your rights on the neighborhood website?
Fair & Equal Treatment

While it is policy to pay HOA fees, there is an act in place that protects homeowners called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA.  The FDCPA limits what the homeowners association is allowed as it prohibits any harassment of a member.  Unpaid HOA fees are considered a debt according to the act but it controls how collectors conduct themselves.

First, collectors must maintain a level of respect and not use any means of coercion to obtain the overdue fee from a homeowner.  Other actions prohibited under the act are threats of violence, harassing, repeated phone calls, and publishing their name on the neighborhood website.  All of which have little effect on the homeowner actually settling their balance when patience and understanding have a positive impact.  Additionally, the amount should never be exaggerated as the association could be sued.
Proper Collection Technique

Most homeowners know the right path for the association to collect HOA fees as they entered into that agreement when they purchased their home.  If that agreement is violated, then homeowners have a right for their fees to be settled legally and professionally.  Periodically, the HOA Board should allocate time to communicate what HOA fees are used for and emphasize how they improve the quality of life for all homeowners.
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 Suite 400
 Indianapolis, IN 46256