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.
Posted on March 24, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
The HOA board oversees projects in the homeowners association ranging from the community website to areas of the community that need attention or repair. Repairs throughout the community require different skill levels so choosing which contractor to use is often the deciding factor whether the project is accurately completed. Does the HOA board of your homeowners association ask relevant questions about the project or just presume the contractor is capable of performing the work?
Know Your Contractor
From state to state, requirements may differ but the HOA board should always validate that the work is performed by a company which is licensed and bonded. This is a form of insurance to protect the board in the event the contractor neglects to fulfill their work as promised. Also, ask the contractor for certificates of insurance to see what coverage they have and verify the company has a physical address.
Before the work starts, establish which way you prefer to communicate about the project and request more than one phone number to contact them. Next, question the scope of the work as it needs to be clear in regard to costs, materials, and expected timeline when the project will be completed. Some projects are more in-depth than others and require verification of the materials and processes to be used. Effectively, the HOA board is able to oversee the work so that it meets their expectations!
Ask Questions & Research
Hiring a licensed contractor at a competitive rate involves asking questions that pertain to the job and researching them in as many ways as possible. Research them by going online and look for any reviews about their company or see if their work is posted on another community website. Additionally, the board should see what kind of rating they have with the Better Business Bureau before hiring any contractor to work in the community. Ask relevant questions to ensure a project is free of issues and be pleased with the contractor you choose.
Posted on March 17, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Small repairs for residents in the homeowners association can often seem overwhelming at first without any prior experience. Fortunately, HOA residents that visit the homeowners association website get the direction and confidence they need so small fixes are completed before they evolve into a problem. With advice from the homeowners association, you have an advantage to perform an effective repair without getting discouraged or confused.
Can You Do-It-Yourself?
Begin the project by using the latest tools for completing the task as that lowers your risk of encountering issues. Often, homeowners that attempt a repair for the first time use tools that are outdated which only adds to the level of frustration when performing the fix. Occasionally, various items in a home tend to show signs of wear when they no longer work as smoothly as they did before.
When that happens, observe what is causing the change as it could be something as small as a loose screw. Immediately correct it by tightening the screw as that can cause other screws to become loose over time and eventually strip the hole. If the hole becomes stripped, correct it by inserting toothpicks or matches (with the tips cut off) into the hole until it is filled and re-insert the screw.
Other items in your home may take longer before they need repaired or replaced. Anytime you notice hardware that is rusty such as nuts and bolts, brush the threads with a wire brush and apply penetrating oil to the threads before attempting to remove the nuts or bolts. Allowing this oil to “soak” into the threads greatly reduces the effort required to remove the hardware.
The Significance Of Effective Fixes
After completing a do-it-yourself project, you have the poise to accomplish other projects in the home without second guessing yourself. While these effective fixes are for smaller projects, it can have a tremendous impact on how you maintain your home and value the homeowners association website!
Posted on March 10, 2016 10:30 AM by HOA Sites
Meetings in a homeowners association are generally thought of as board meetings but there are other types of meetings that transpire within the association. Aside from board meetings, annual meetings and emergency meetings provide a means of making decisions in the homeowners association.
Each meeting serves a specific purpose as tasks are assigned and important matters are handled accordingly. Does the neighborhood website include guidelines for each meeting or do you have confusion about the objective of each meeting?
Erase Your Doubt
Meetings of the association should be carried out in a way that follows parliamentary procedure where members are given time to speak. Held monthly or quarterly, board meetings are usually the most common meeting as board members review how the association is operating. Matters that are handled include resolving disputes, planning for the future, and setting forth policy.
Board meetings require a notice of a few days in advance that outlines the topics up for discussion. Most of the time, the effectiveness of these meetings are symbolic of the togetherness in the community. Once a year, an annual meeting is held where main topics are addressed for the association such as the latest budget, committee reports, and elect a board.
The governing documents of a homeowners association specifically mention when and how an annual meeting should be conducted. Typically, members are given a longer notice with an annual meeting as they cover more significant topics that members want to be included on. Members are encouraged to attend a board or annual meeting, but there are times when members can’t attend.
Every now and then, urgent circumstances make it impossible to notify members within the necessary time frame with regard to a notice for a meeting. When that happens, an emergency meeting may be necessary for the board to take action or make a decision. Emergency meetings can be held in person or by phone and require no posting on a neighborhood website since immediate action is imperative!
Posted on March 2, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
With the popularity of drones on the rise, residents may use these in the future to capture amazing views or have packages delivered to their home. In most homeowners associations, the governing documents fail to mention drones as board members were not likely to predict that technology would be this innovative or affordable today.
New technology usually requires that the HOA website and the governing documents be updated so the association ensures the safety of residents. When no guidelines are in place regarding drones, situations could surface that result in homeowners having a controversy. What is essential for residents to accept them in the community?
Respect A Homeowners Privacy
Many homeowners might be inclined to support the ban of drones in the homeowners association solely because they feel it invades their privacy. Aside from that, homeowners might be concerned their safety is at risk due to the experience of the one operating the drone. When flying a drone, you should never fly it above or near another person and always keep it in sight!
Drones in the homeowners association stand a greater chance of being accepted if there are rules in place that respect the privacy and safety of residents. Specifically, they are useful for real estate photography or inspecting areas of your home such as the roof or higher level windows. What are your options if you oppose residents using drones around your home?
HOA residents can voice their concerns to the board about implementing some regulations before a potential problem exists. Obviously, mechanical failure is a possibility so residents should be warned ahead of time about liability issues due to damages resulting from a crash landing.
Accordingly, moderate regulations on drones regarding the times they are used and landing locations should be included in the restrictions. As well, the governing documents and the HOA website should make it known that the homeowners association assumes no liability to the people or property.
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