Some homeowners associations have strict rules regarding what color you can paint the exterior of your home. In other communities, they may require you to get an approval before you paint your house a different color. Check out these tips for how to get HOA approval for a new house color.
You definitely don’t want to start painting your house before you get approval from the HOA. Not only may this be a complete waste of time and money if the colors are denied, but it’s just annoying for the HOA. Board members and property management companies are people too, so if you go out of your way to break a rule and then ask if it’s okay, they may get annoyed, which can influence their decision, especially if you are choosing colors that aren’t pre-approved. It’s best to be polite and ask before you start. Continue reading →
Clear communication with HOA residents is the cornerstone of a successful HOA, and there are many communication options available. In this series, we’ll look at three ways of effective communication, starting with email.
Residents Love Email Communications
Many property managers and HOA leaders may not realize how much residents prefer email communications. In fact, regardless of age, most residents prefer email communication over home phone and cellphone communication. Emails allow residents to see the information when they want to see it. Instead of being forced to talk to the property manager on the phone when they are busy, they can simply glance at the email when they have time, and if they forget some of the information, they can always go back and check it again. Continue reading →
The move-in inspection is an incredibly important step in the process of bringing new residents into a community, but many HOAs don’t handle them with the level of care that they should. An inspection report is a great way to settle conflicts between an HOA and a resident before they escalate to that level. By getting both parties to officially record that they agree about the state of the home and the responsibilities of each, both will be on the same page when it comes to what needs to be done, and will have an official record to check their grievances against when conflicts do arise. Continue reading →
“Due diligence” is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot, and most people at least have a vague understanding of what it means. But many times, an HOA doesn’t actually follow through with all of the steps that make up proper due diligence. Sometimes this is out of ignorance, sometimes it’s just out of convenience, but not following through on taking all the necessary precautions before entering a contract or making a hire can have disastrous consequences.
What is Due Diligence
Due diligence is, of course, the proper investigation of a person or business before entering into a contract or partnership with them. It’s an important part of successful business operations, especially those of an HOA. Because an association’s business is managing a community where people live, making poor decisions thanks to not doing the proper amount of research can have serious effects on people’s homes and lives.
Steps for Due Diligence for HOA
So what steps should an HOA take to make sure that it is performing its proper due diligence? The following steps are some of the basic requirements:
Don’t just hire a contractor based on a recommendation. Even if the recommendation comes from someone you believe to be trustworthy, their word is not enough ensure that a contractor is fit for the job. It is a good starting point, but it’s not the end of the process. Look into consumer reports, check that the contractor has the proper permits, and also make sure that they have experience in the job for which you are hiring them.
If you need to hire a lawyer, find one who specializes in the area of law for the specific issue with which they will be dealing. There are a lot of areas of law, and specializing in the specific areas that a case involves will give the lawyer you hire a much greater chance of getting you a successful outcome.
Get references from other associations or homeowners. The best way to know whether or not a lawyer, contractor, accountant, or other person your HOA is getting ready to partner with is a good match is to talk with the people they’ve worked with before. If their previous clients have nothing but horror stories or found them hard to work with, it’s best to find someone else. Remember, you don’t have to settle for the first person you find.
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One of the greatest things about living in an HOA is that many of them have their own security that monitors and protects the community. Safety is something that everyone values, and many people gladly pay the extra fees and costs associated with homeowners associations to get it. Continue reading →
In a fast paced world, it can be hard to find time to cook a nice meal. Between the job, family, kids, and everything else that demands our attention, it’s no wonder that so many people only find time for takeout and microwavable meals; not the time-consuming alternatives that they’d prefer. Thanks to Belkin’s new smartphone-controlled Crock-Pot, technology has just opened up a new opportunity for members of your community to enjoy slow cooked meals as conveniently as they can order a pizza. Continue reading →
Collecting dues from residents who are behind on payment can be a constant struggle for HOAs, especially in tough economic times. While residents who plead financial hardship are often telling the truth (though the weak economy and a soft job market also provide a perfect excuse for residents who could pay, but have chosen not to), non-payment of dues still costs HOAs money that needs to be spent on the upkeep of the community. Because of that, residents often need to be made to feel pressure that gets them to become current with their payments. One of the most common measures an HOA can take in these instances is revoking the use of amenities. If used effectively, taking away amenities is a great way to encourage residents who are behind on their payments to get back in the association’s good graces. Continue reading →
No one likes to spend their hard-earned money on community association dues. Just like taxes, everyone complains about having to pay them and resents it when they go up. Sometimes an HOA will try to please their residents by avoiding fee increases and dipping into their reserve funds to cover a rise in costs. As attractive an option as this may seem, it is one that sacrifices long term planning for short term comfort. Not only that, but depleting the reserve fund in the name of saving residents money is often a road to costing them even more money when an emergency happens. Continue reading →
It’s easy to treat preventative maintenance as an afterthought. It’s much harder to worry about problems that haven’t happened as opposed to those that have already occurred. Preventative care also requires planning time and resources that can be in short supply for many HOAs. Still, keeping up with preventative maintenance is an important task that every community should make time for in order to save both time and money. Continue reading →
Homeowners associations across the country are pondering with an old question that has once again become a topic for many communities: should renters be allowed? Some HOAs are answering the question by placing increasing restrictions on homeowners’ ability to lease out their properties with rental caps, severely limiting the number of homes in a community that can be renter occupied. Continue reading →