At a glance, it can be hard to tell whether an HOA community is being run well. Sure, everything looks good on the outside — the sidewalks are clean, amenities are well-maintained, and the landscaping is beautiful. But, looks can be deceiving, especially if they are outward appearances. From an insider’s perspective, things could be downright chaotic. So, how do you know if a community has successful HOA management?
Signs of Successful HOA Management
What is HOA management in the first place? Simply put, it is the governing of a homeowners association with the goal of increasing property values within a community. The association’s board of directors, who are elected into office, typically assume this responsibility, sometimes with the help of a professional HOA management company.
However, there is more to successful HOA management than simply collecting dues and hiring vendors to maintain the community. To a regular resident or an outsider, it is difficult to determine whether an HOA community is being run successfully if you do not know what to look for. Luckily, there are some key qualities you can identify in a successful condo association or HOA, such as:
1. Strong Leadership
Most homeowners associations have a board of directors to govern the community. But, just because there are leaders does not mean an HOA can be considered successful.
Your association’s board must be effective leaders, acting with a clear and shared objective in mind. If your HOA board is comprised of lazy volunteers, nothing will be accomplished.
It is also a good sign when HOA board members come from different age groups. If the board purely consists of members on the older side, they may not be so open to change and would rather stick to the status quo, even if it is not effective.
On the other hand, younger leaders usually have a lot of opinions and ideas but are less experienced and too quick to act. An HOA board must strike the right balance.
2. Smart Decision-Making
Another quality of successful HOA management is smart decision-making. If your association’s board of directors practices this, then you are on the right track. Smart decision-making involves due diligence, research, and considering the community’s best interests. Decisions must be discussed by the board — taking homeowner comments into account — and should not be made aggressively nor hastily.
3. Responsible Budgeting
One of the qualities to look out for in a successful HOA community is responsible budgeting. Reserve funds and a realistic budget are both crucial, as you want the HOA to be covered in case of unexpected costs or occurrences. A community with a carefully planned budget, a long-term financial plan, and smart reserve funding is often a prosperous one.
4. Successful Communication
Communication between the HOA board of directors and residents is very important. It is common for members to complain about not being in-the-know about critical information, like new policies or procedures, regulations, or due dates.
If you find yourself often in the dark about these things, there is a good chance your HOA is not being managed properly.
You can tell an HOA has good communication when residents are well-informed on matters regarding the community. Successful HOA management usually entails having a website, social media page, regular newsletters, or email updates to keep members up to date.
Additionally, the board should have an established system for getting feedback from residents, whether they are complaints, ideas, questions, or other issues. Having a system is not enough, though. You can tell an HOA is successful when the board actually gets back to residents and addresses their concerns.
5. Community Involvement
Besides keeping community members informed, they should also be involved. Associations with apathetic residents are not ideal. A community with successful HOA management usually has active residents and specialized member committees with specific goals and projects to accomplish. When participation is high, the HOA community can be deemed a success.
6. Transparent and Understanding
A homeowners association that practices transparency among its community members is a successful one. An HOA board must be open with residents on policy changes, financial conditions, and generally, all decisions made.
When residents understand why certain things must be done or why specific expenses must be incurred, they are less likely to complain or lash out. A secretive board can only sow distrust between them and the community members.
7. Clarity About Meetings
Also related to communication and involvement, a successful HOA conducts meetings that are organized and informative to members. One tool that is absolutely necessary for smooth HOA meetings is an agenda. Not only does a meeting agenda help keep everything on track, but it also prepares residents for what to expect. This could be posted to the association’s website or mailed out so it’s easy to access.
8. Steady Policy Enforcement
How do you know a community has successful HOA management? Steady policy enforcement. Slacking on rule enforcement can become a slippery slope, so it is best to avoid it.
Furthermore, an HOA board must not let personal biases or vendettas get in the way of uniform rule enforcement.
An organized board should also have directors experienced in dealing with complicated matters such as foreclosures and liens so nothing slips through the cracks. Another option is voting to appoint a community management company to handle those legal issues and administrative tasks like record-keeping, financial management, and communication.
9. Seeks Assistance
Some people think that asking for help means you are incapable or weak, but it is the total opposite. It takes a strong HOA to admit that it requires outside assistance, whether that is in the form of an attorney, accountant, or HOA management company. Having professional aid is a good tell of successful HOA management. After all, it is better to ask for help than to foolishly carry on with a task you know nothing about.
Successful HOA Management Starts with You
These key qualities can help you determine whether your community is running with successful HOA management. You want to be sure your association’s money is well-spent and that matters are being handled in the best interests of the community as a whole. Aspire to see these characteristics in your HOA. This will help you ask the right questions if necessary and provide the most value for your neighborhood.
If your HOA is having trouble reaching this level of success, revisit the ninth quality and ask an HOA management company for help. In that case, give us a call anytime.
- HOA Board Duties, Roles, And Responsibilities To The Community
- 7 Things To Remember About How To Run An HOA With Great Success
- HOA Selective Enforcement: Playing It Fair