As months progress and the summer season draws to a close, many communities enter into a crucial time of transition for their properties and residents. While temperatures may still be hovering comfortably in the 80s, August is a perfect time to assess your HOA and make sure it is ready for the coming cold seasons. To help you do that, here are 9 tips to prepare HOA community for fall season:
How to Prepare HOA Community for Fall
Autumn is a wonderful time of the year. Leaves turn a vibrant color and begin to drop from branches. People start to break out their scarves and coats, previously stored for safekeeping. And while temperatures turn cool, a general sense of warmth and coziness envelopes neighborhoods.
The fall season is associated with so many positive things. Yet, most HOA communities get busier during this time of year. With the passing of summer, your HOA must turn its attention to planning and maintenance for cold months. Let’s take a look at these steps for preparing for fall season your HOA must make:
1. Pool Closures
One of the first important considerations for your community during the fall is the upkeep of the community pool.
Seasonal pool closures are a reality for many HOAs, except for the warmest parts of the country. If you have a community pool that closes during the late fall and winter, August is the perfect time to schedule maintenance for the building.
A full inspection of the pool area should be done during the fall months so that any needed repairs, purchases, or updates can be noted. These changes must then be put on the schedule and budgeted for. Residents should also be notified ahead of time when the pool will be closing so that there are no unpleasant surprises along the way.
2. Playground Maintenance
If your community has a playground, it is generally a good idea to have a professional conduct a safety inspection every start of the new season. Before autumn begins, make sure your HOA playground is in good working condition. Apart from wanting to protect children, an HOA must see to it that the playground is safe for use as a way to protect itself from any legal liability.
3. End of the Year Finances and Board Meetings
The end of the year can creep up on you without you even noticing. That is why the beginning of fall is a great time to start finalizing the year’s finances and start the budget for the new year.
While this may not be an obvious HOA preparation for fall, it is crucial nonetheless.
Autumn is also the perfect time to schedule the annual meeting and begin to construct a meeting itinerary that can be sent to all homeowners. Some state laws require a specific time frame by which to notify homeowners of meetings, so it would be smart to plan way ahead of time.
For instance, in North Carolina, residents must be notified of a meeting at least 10 days in advance (but not exceeding 60 days).
4. Landscape Changes
Landscaping is another important aspect of the fall transitional time. What may have worked during springtime may not necessarily work as well during fall and winter.
August is a great time to call your landscaper and discuss planting hardier fall and early winter plants that will beautify the changing scenery.
Moreover, it is essential to schedule lawn care during this time so that your grass can continue to flourish through the winter and into spring. For many areas, fall is the crucial time for fertilization and aeration needed to keep lawns healthy throughout the cold months.
Finally, make sure to have trees trimmed and discard any dead limbs before winter comes. Snow can be hard on the health of trees, so this process is even more critical if your community is located in an area with heavy or frequent snowfall.
5. Gutter Cleaning
One of the best fall cleaning tips to live by is to keep community gutters clear. During autumn months, leaves and all sorts of debris fall and make their way into gutters. To avoid the risk of build-up — and an unhappy community to boot — make it a point to clean the gutters regularly both during and prior to the fall season.
6. Community Garden Clean-up
Although many crops will flourish long into the fall months, now is a perfect time to schedule a community garden clean-up day for residents. This is a time when your residents can get together and clean up the community garden for a fresh start in the spring.
Dead plants can be removed, walkways can be tidied and swept, and tools can be stored in a shelter for the upcoming cooler months. Now is also a good time to schedule a deadline for residents to sign up for a plot for next spring.
7. Get Residents Involved
The development is not the only thing that must be primed for the coming season. Residents must also look after individual homes as part of fall property maintenance.
The HOA board must send out a to-do list to all homeowners ahead of the autumn season to help them prepare for what’s ahead. This list should encourage residents to do the following:
- Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly (replace batteries if needed)
- Check for cracks or holes in the exteriors of homes and cover them as necessary
- Turn off any outdoor faucets to prevent freezing
- Have a professional inspect and clean fireplaces
- Drain the gas on lawn equipment before storing for the winter
8. Put Up Fall Decor
What better way to brighten the overall mood of the community than to put up fall decorations? Autumn flowers are usually enough to liven up an area, but you can even take it one step further by putting up banners or flags bearing fall colors. As Halloween approaches, make sure to get in the spooky spirit by placing pumpkins and other appropriate decors around the community.
9. Save Time for Fun!
Autumn can be full of important responsibilities that are crucial to keeping your HOA healthy and running smoothly, but don’t forget to save time for some community fun! Fall celebrations can help enliven your community and form strong bonds among residents.
Schedule times that your community can get together to celebrate the season. Plan events that encourage fellowship and foster camaraderie in addition to being just plain fun. Consider putting a pumpkin carving party on the schedule or a fall feast to make residents feel valued.
As the long days of summer come to a close, it is important to set your eyes on your fall schedule. This means making all the right preparations for the autumn months. While you may be tempted to slack off, remember that it is part of your job to prepare the HOA community for fall season. By staying on top of your schedule, you will be amazed at how smoothly the transition into the end of the year will be.
If you are having difficulty carrying out preparations for the autumn season, you may benefit from hiring an HOA management company for assistance. Give us a call anytime.
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