Developing HOA welcome packets for new homeowners is a positive, pro-active approach for association boards and management teams. Moving to a new home is an incredibly stressful time. Many homeowners feel overwhelmed by the amount of community information, such as fees, schedules, rules, and regulations. A welcome packet containing this information and more is a helpful tool in eliminating some of their stress.
Community association committees are a great tool in easing the workload of association boards. There's a world of talent, skills, and knowledge within your association community. Here are a few quick tips on how to create an effective community association committee:
You are thinking about purchasing a property that is in a golf course community association, what a great idea. You know the obvious perks. The beauty of a meticulously manicured fairway and of course the golf, are some of the biggest motivations for such a decision. What you do not know, however, is what you need to find out.
Solar power is becoming more and more popular - but can have issues for community associations. The primary issues are, of course, aesthetic. Solar panels can be ugly and ground-mounted solar panels may cause safety and access issues. So, can homeowners' associations ban solar panels? The answer is: It depends.
A safe neighborhood is a top priority of home buyers. For many of these home buyers, a gated community is an attractive option. The gate represents protection from the outside world by the careful monitoring of those entering the community. Is a gate, guarded or otherwise, an accurate representation of protection or just an illusion? Let's examine the pros and cons of gated community associations.
The differences in onsite community management are as vast as the communities represented. Most managers training consists of the fundamental of community association management, but one of the greatest challenges a manager's faces is when they move from one side of the country to the other. Often, they find out that there are in fact differences in how we need to manage. Due to varying state laws, the approaches we take to legal, and physical environments can differ significantly.
State legal requirement is perhaps the most noticeable regional difference. Because state requirements can vary, it is the best practice that the community manager first familiarizes themselves with the laws of the state that the association resides, along with the association’s governing documents. One state may allow closed board meetings, while many others require that all meetings be open to the owners. The collection of assessments is a priority for the most association as they are the lifeblood of the community. Therefore, collections policies must comply with respective state laws and followed carefully and consistently to allow legal recourse for non-payment, if needed. There are also many states have enacted regulations that require licensing, certification and standards. Those managing in Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, and Virginia should pay particular attention to the requirements for managing community associations. Additionally, each legislative year other states may have proposed regulations regarding management of Community Associations.
Each region presents its challenges when it comes to maintenance. For instance, areas that get snow need to plan for removal along with repairs for damage caused by salt solutions and plowing equipment. In other regions, hail damage is an annual concern, and a plan must be in place for addressing it promptly, while wind and rain damage are a concern for hurricane and tornado regions. Disaster response is an essential ingredient of managing large onsite managed communities. A community that is not prepared is not going to recover as quickly as another that has a disaster plan in place.
Planning is critical in managing associations in every region. A community calendar is helpful for charting out the maintenance needs for seasonal challenges and making sure that the association has the right insurance policies in place with adequate coverage. It is important to budget for preventative measures, repairs not covered by the reserve fund or insurance, or for the insurance deductible when necessary.
Every region has something special to offer, having onsite management that knows the challenges of your area is invaluable. When selecting a manager or management company, choose them knowing that their knowledge in helping the association navigate the various regional aspects of the community is key to the long-term success of the association and the community as a whole.
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression”…. We have all heard this before, and it is particularly the case when it comes to your home. Curb appeal is not just a catchphrase used by television personalities on HGTV. It is the first step in an ever-growing list of requirements in determining if a home fits your personality. Let’s face it- your home is a direct reflection of you. Your home is a virtual showcase, providing a venue for friends, family, and others to experience what is important to you.
As the community association industry ages so do the associations that we manage. While I write this blog, your community association is changing and evolving into something entirely different than it might have been created by the developer to be. Whether you are a manager, board member or resident, we all need to think about the age and health of our communities. For those of us that have been in the industry for many years, we have seen associations grow and thrive under good sound management. Alternatively,
"Love thy neighbor" may be the golden rule, but that can be especially difficult when living in a deed restricted community or condo association.
Handling neighbor disputes is a difficult task for any community association manager. "He says, she says" is what we often hear, and many times it's hard to discern if there is an issue between neighbors that are deed restriction related or if there are simply personality disputes.
Community Management is a tough business for everyone involved. No one understands this more than a manager. There is always one homeowner (and sometimes more) who is unsatisfied and grumpy. It is especially difficult for communities with on-site staff. These employees operate daily in a fishbowl-type environment visible for the community to critique every action and inaction almost instantaneously. This industry is known for its high turnover with employees; however, it is essential to have good employee retention to run a successful and efficient high-rise condominium association.
Topics: Community Management