Posted on January 16, 2018 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Categories: HOA Website
Whether you are buying your first home or relocating to a different community, one area that should be a focus is how well the homeowners association is doing financially.  The HOA is responsible for certain areas and there are associations that neglect to repair what is wearing out due to insufficient funds.

In those homeowners associations, members have usually insisted on keeping HOA fees low; now most of them have moved and the remaining ones want the fees to remain unchanged.  The HOA has some funds in the reserves but it is hardly enough to cover half the expenses.

It does not take long for the board to realize it can no longer afford to maintain the property and home prices start to drop.  Often, homeowners complain on the homeowner association website as they blame the board for not properly managing the funds.  Here’s why you should never set low HOA fees:
More Expenses

Some homeowners argue that the board should refrain from wasteful spending and go for the cheapest options.  However, many goods and services are becoming more expensive each year.  When you come across cheap products or services, there’s a greater possibility that the quality is also low.  This might translate into higher long-term costs as cheaper items tend to wear out faster and need replaced.
Misplaced Priorities

A main objective of all HOA boards is to maintain the property of the homeowners association.  When the board chooses lower fees, it might be viewed as them going against their legal responsibility to make decisions that are in the best interest of the association.

Occasionally, HOA’s elect new board members in hopes they will lower fees and assessments.  On the contrary, the new board realizes an increase in fees is absolutely necessary in order to deal with the present financial difficulties.  If you’re looking to avoid these issues, consider reasonable fees and notify homeowners why through the homeowner association website.
Posted on December 27, 2017 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Categories: HOA Website
Though winter brings with it the holidays, family gatherings, and other joyous moments, several homeowners dread the end of summer.  In many places, it means fewer sunny days, picnics, and other exciting activities that extend beyond the community website.

Maybe you or a family member suffer from a depression that manifests during the same season every year.  Doctors have named this condition seasonal affective disorder which is often abbreviated SAD.  This type of disorder usually fades when spring comes and disappears completely during summer.
Vulnerable Groups

Although the condition can affect anyone, it’s most common in individuals that are between the age of 15 and 55, especially women.  The risk of developing seasonal affective disorder decreases with age and those that have close relatives with the disorder are more likely to develop it.

Another group at risk involves people who live in places that have very short days as compared to night during the winter.  Low amounts of daylight have a negative impact on some homeowners so keep this in mind.

Medical experts and psychologists are not exactly sure what causes SAD, but they believe it is due to a lack of sunlight which disrupts sleeping patterns.  The affected sleep patterns cause changes in the release of chemicals like serotonin which affects mood.

The signs to watch for are loss of interest in daily activities, excessive eating or yearning for high carbohydrate foods, weight gain, unexplained drowsiness, anxiety, moodiness, and feeling sad for no reason.  When these symptoms appear, observe how long they last and if they happen over the winter months.
Boost Your Spirit

Experts frequently recommend light therapy as a form of treatment for seasonal affective disorder.  Sit facing a light box in the morning for an hour or have a dim light in your room at dawn that brightens over time.  If you notice any symptoms, share it with your neighbors through the community website.  You never know, a neighbor may have experienced this already and offer advice that helps fellow homeowners who may be suffering from the condition.
Posted on December 13, 2017 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Categories: HOA Website
Imagine relaxing on your couch on a pleasant Sunday afternoon while scrolling through the homeowners association website.  Suddenly, you see a shocking update about an increase regarding HOA fees.  That’s not the kind of news you want to hear.  But, did you know an increase might be the best means to keep the homeowners association in a healthy financial position?  The following are some typical reactions of homeowners to HOA fees going up.
Each Project Should Have A Special Assessment

The problem with having a special assessment for each project is that there might be a huge expense to emerge that is greater than what people can afford.  To avoid such a scenario, it makes better sense to collect the money gradually over the course of months or years.  Then, there will be enough money to take care of the project when the need arises.
I Don’t Plan To Live Here Permanently

Maybe you consider your current place a starter home and think you won’t be living there in the near future.  The problem with this viewpoint is that you’re getting to use amenities in the community and other common assets that were paid for by previous members.  Rather than taking advantage, look to return the favor as your plans might change and you may end up staying long-term at your current place.
I Can’t Afford It

While this is a very common reaction, you must remember the value of your home decreases when the HOA is not able to efficiently maintain the community.  Again, living in a homeowners association is all about sharing the costs as defined by the governing documents.  Instead of having a typical reaction, visit the homeowners association website frequently to remind others that an increase may be beneficial in the long run as it helps protect the value of all homes!
Posted on December 1, 2017 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Categories: HOA Website
With winter just around the corner, you have likely tossed away your swimming gear for warmer clothes as one way to be ready for cooler weather.  When the sun fades away, you want to make certain that your home is ready for the upcoming months so your home stays warm.  Here are a few techniques you should consider incorporating into your winterizing strategy.
Switch Window Blinds

The blinds used during summer months will not keep winter air from sneaking into your home.  Most homeowners make the switch to heavier curtains before winter arrives.  Take this into consideration as you’ll be able to keep your home warmer and save on your heating bill.
Have Your Appliances Checked

Have a professional look into the heating, air conditioning system, and ventilation of your home to ensure all elements can withstand severe cold.  This is particularly important with appliances as they may have been stressed during summer.  Winter is the worst time to experience problems with appliances so make this a yearly habit.
Check The Roof

Periodically, the roof should be checked for leaks, cracks, and signs that indicate abnormal wear.  If your homeowners association is responsible for roofs, you should notify them through the neighborhood website to ensure your roof has no issues.  Otherwise, you will need to contact a professional to see if it’s in need of any repairs.
Apply Weatherstripping

In most cases, the HOA isn’t responsible for maintenance of windows and doors.  Consequently, you may need to take charge of that and give them an additional layer to keep heat from escaping your home.  Inspect where the windows and doors seal for any tears or cracks as this is a common area where cold air can enter your home.

Winterizing your home not only makes you a responsible homeowner but it saves you money as less is spent on energy and any area that needs work is caught early before becoming a costly project.  Prior to starting, check the neighborhood website for rules regarding winterization to make sure nothing has changed from the previous year.
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.
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 Suite 400
 Indianapolis, IN 46256
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