Every home requires continuous upkeep. For condo and homeowner associations, there’s even more to do because you have the homes plus the common areas.  It’s not just about you now.  It’s about protecting property value for all the owners, so a maintenance or renovation decision takes on a greater significance.  Some HOAs feel that professional help is too expensive, so they take the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) route.  That’s usually not a good choice when you consider the cost, time involved, difficulty and individual skills.  There are lots of angles we could explore on this topic, but for now, let’s delve into just these four areas.

Cost

The primary reason that HOA members choose to handle upkeep themselves is to save money.  That makes sense initially.  Anytime you do it yourself, you save money….right?  But when you consider potential problems, it gets a little scary. Think about the liability cost if a homeowner is injured while working for the HOA. If the project is not done correctly the first time, it adds more expense than if you had hired a professional.  Choose wisely.  Don’t opt for a “read the manual as you go” job because it rarely works well and costs more.

Time

Part of assessing a project is deciding how much time is needed to complete it. Time is always a variable because issues crop up that you didn’t see initially. That’s why it’s so easy for volunteers to over-extend themselves and find that they can’t complete a project.  In addition to taking more time, there’s the personal side.  Vacations, sickness, family obligations, work, etc.  For ongoing projects, who fills in when the primary person is not available? Community associations need the reliability that comes with professional services.

Difficulty

Home projects range from easy to extremely complex, depending on what needs to be accomplished.  Even for minimal renovations or repairs, it’s a good idea to get guidance from a professional.  Professionals can present options to be considered, there’s usually good, better and best materials that you can use. There are different ways to complete each task. Professionals have the everyday working knowledge that helps you make the right decision.  In addition, some projects may require a professional or government inspection for insurance or legal reasons.

Skills

Each person is different, and all of us possess different skills.  Accomplishments that are easy for one person may be impossible for another. HOA maintenance and renovation projects run the gamut.  You need skills in landscaping, plumbing, building, government, administrative, etc.  A list of needed skills can go on and on.  Though volunteers usually have the best of intentions, they may not have the level of expertise and knowledge to handle HOA management, maintenance and renovations.  A lapse in judgment or choosing unwisely can cost the HOA far more than hiring a professional.

If you’re tired or reinventing the wheel a professional management company can manage maintenance, renovations, vendors and more.  Professional community association management can also help the association avoid unknowingly violating the state or federal laws in the process.  Whether you’re considering DIY or hiring professionals, weigh your options and remember… there’s no harm in asking for advice or hiring help.

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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.

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