A new year is on the horizon. This is the time of the year that many people reflect on the changes they need to make and resolve to follow through. Whether you call it New Year’s resolutions or a review of changes that are needed, here are 8 tips that can help HOA and condo Boards build a stronger community.
1. Bring the Budget In Line with Association Needs
The board should resolve to get the budget in line with the association’s current and future needs. Assess the needs and review your reserve study. Then, you can create a budget that follows a plan for maintenance and larger projects. Staying on budget will help you build a stronger community.
2. Oversee Accounts and Expenditures
Your Board should ask at least one person (preferably two) to evaluate the appropriateness of invoices, bank statements and accounts. Year-end financial reviews by an independent accountant are important, but they don’t replace oversight by individual Board members.
3. Check Your Contracts
Review current contracts and look for ways to do things better —more efficiently, less cost, etc. It’s also good to rethink the length of contracts. For example, you may not want a long-term contract with new vendors, but a longer contract with an existing vendor could be beneficial. A few adjustments can make a difference for associations that are having some financial difficulties.
4. Get Aggressive With Collections
Put a collection plan in place, and follow the plan consistently. You can’t run an association with a large number of delinquencies. Work with your attorneys to aggressively seek the money due to the association, and understand that some collections may have to include liens or foreclosures.
5. Communicate with Homeowners
Boards are charged with balancing the best interests of the association as a whole, so not every homeowner will always agree with decisions. Unfortunately, many people voice their dissatisfaction to others, and this can create more tension. Reach out to homeowners early to make sure they are fully informed and work toward positive solutions.
6. Involve Homeowners
Like any other group, 10 percent of the people do 90 percent of the work in most associations. Consider ways to persuade more homeowners participate, and then try those and see what works in your community. Set reasonable expectations. You’ll never get 100 percent participation because some people take part until there’s a decision that affects their money.
7. Get Professional Help
Like everyone else, most Board members are too busy to stay on top of everything that is needed when running an association. The right professional property management company is an asset to the Board and can relieve some of the strain. Don’t hesitate to reach out for professional help.
8. Plan Some Fun Activities
Propose some fun events for the association to bring people together. Schedule an annual event at a specific time of the year. You don’t have to spend a lot of money—but add some fun. Meeting in a fun atmosphere goes a long way toward building homeowner relationships and boosting the reputation of the community.
The problem with resolutions is that many become derailed in just a few weeks—especially when resolutions are very different from what you’ve been doing. These 8 tips are tweaks of what most HOA Boards already do. So, it’s easy to maintain motivation and succeed. Take a little time at your next Board meeting to choose one or more that will help your community the most.
Happy New Year!
Wise Property Solutions serves condominium and homeowners associations by addressing their financial, association and facilities management needs. The only certified and licensed community association management firm serving the Mountain South (Virginia, North & South Carolina, Tennessee) with offices in the Tri-Cities and Knoxville. Wise Property Solutions provides condo and homeowners association management services in Johnson City, TN; Bristol, TN; Kingsport, TN; Knoxville, TN and the surrounding region.