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HOA Management for Single Family Dwellings: The Basics

HOA management can be intimidating to newcomers but it doesn’t have to be. Read our helpful guide to nail down the basics and hit the ground running.

Being responsible for HOA management often can seem like an overwhelming job. There are endless tasks to take care of and someone is always needing information or wanting to discuss an issue.

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Vendors, finances, and resident conflict are just a few of the balls that need to be juggled daily. Instead of being discouraged, it is possible to have an organized and effective property management organization.

By following a few basic guidelines and tips, you can have a successful HOA and happy residents. Read on to learn how.

Have a Conflict Resolution Strategy

When people live close to one another, there will eventually be some sort of conflict. Everyone has different views on what makes for a happy home and work or play schedules may also pose a problem. Whether it is unruly children, barking dogs, loud music, or encroaching on property lines, someone will find a reason to complain.

As HOA management, you want to try to stay out of personal conflict as much as possible. You should avoid the appearance of taking sides. However, when the disagreements involve the obvious disregard for established HOA rules, then it is your job to resolve any disputes as calmly and quickly as possible.

There should be set procedures for residents to request a meeting to discuss their issues. They need to feel comfortable to express their concerns and be heard. On the other side, the HOA needs to conduct due diligence to get both sides of the story and all facts or details relating to the incident. 

If it is a simple matter of enforcing an established ordinance, that should be done with swift clarity. If the problem has more gray area, then a meeting between the two parties and a mediator may be the next step. You definitely want to avoid getting lawyers and the legal system involved if at all possible.

Choose Vendors Wisely

Part of your job as a property manager is to hire the vendors who will take care of the maintenance. This will include lawn/landscaping, electricians, plumbers, and repair services.

Always take the time to research and vet the right vendors and employees for your property. You should ask for quotes upfront and for detail of covered services. You can also ask for references or referrals. If you are unsure, you can do a background check or read reviews from their business pages.

Be careful to not go with the lowest quote just to save money. While that looks like cost savings, if the vendor or their employees do a bad job, you will spend more money later fixing their errors. Go with fair and reputable vendors who will do a great job and keep the residents happy.

In addition to making good decisions, here are 7 HOA management mistakes to avoid.

Be Financially Responsible

It takes money to run any type of business, and the HOA is no exception. Make sure everyone who has access to the funds is reliable and above board. There should be steps in place for the transparent distribution of funds.

An annual budget should be voted on, accepted, and made public to the residents. In addition, upon request, any resident should be able to view the incoming and outgoing expenses and the balance sheet. Questions or disputes can be raised during regular HOA board meetings so everyone is on the same page.

If there are discrepancies or issues involving the finances, then an independent auditor service should come in to inspect the books. This will give the residents peace of mind and keep the money flowing in the right direction to keep the community safe, beautiful, and property values up.

Enforce the HOA Rules

One of the downsides that most people who live in HOA communities complain about are the many rules that must be followed. Unfortunately, that is part of the agreement to live in a safe and well-maintained neighborhood.

Clear communication should be given to all new residents of the current rules and regulations for the community. Everyone moving in should be fully aware of what is expected of them.

They should also be made aware of the penalties if they do not comply. Warnings, fines, and even legal action should be openly displayed and followed.

If the HOA board adopts new rules, then current residents need to be notified through proper channels and there should be a grace period given to allow them time to understand and then follow them.

The goal for the HOA rules is to keep the best interest of the community as a whole in mind. There will always be some who does not agree with one or some of the rules.

There should be an open forum available during board meetings for residents to discuss or even dispute a new or revised rule. The comments and feelings of the residents should be taken into consideration when deciding to change the rule, or proceed with enforcing it.

Hire Outside HOA Management

There are times when a volunteer HOA team does not have the time or resources to be effective. When that happens, both the residents and the community as a whole will suffer.

There are many reputable HOA management companies that can be hired to come in and assume the role. They are trained and experienced in dealing with issues that arise and also the day-to-day tasks involved to keep the neighborhood running smoothly.

Here are 7 compelling reasons to consider hiring an HOA management company.

The Good of All

Being a part of an HOA management team is a role to undertake knowing there will be hard work involved. It is difficult to please everyone, and disputes and issues will arise. The goal, however, is to keep the good of the entire community as the priority.

Having good conflict resolution skills, financial responsibility, and the ability to research and choose high-quality vendors will go a long way in neighborhood harmony. Enforcing the rules so everyone is treated fairly is also a must.

For more information on how we can help with your HOA management, please reach out.

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