The New Year is upon us! As an HOA board, this may be a good time to consider making resolutions that will help to make it a great year for your homeowners association. These commitments don't have to be profound and they are generally things you should be doing anyway, but it's always good to go back and review things while keeping an eye out for what might be coming your way.
Here are a few things you and the rest of the HOA board can do looking ahead. These steps can hopefully give you a leg up on running your Association:
1. Read or re-read your community's governing documents
Many board members have never actually sat down and read them. Within the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) you should pay special attention to the sections regarding maintenance responsibilities and use restrictions. Also check to make sure everyone has a complete set of documents. As amendments and laws get passed they need to be added to the mix of documents. Often they are not.
2. Go over all of your community's financial figures
Check to see how the actual figures compared to your projected figures for the past year. While you have already made a budget for this year you will at least have an idea of certain line items within the budget that may need more monitoring.
3. Check on what needs to be done in common areas
The beginning of a New Year is a good time to plan a walk-through of the entire Association. It's also a good time to review the reserve study and plan for major repairs/replacements that are scheduled for the coming year. Are there roofs that need repairing and replacing? Do playgrounds need to be worked on and upgraded? There may be components that need work prior to the time planned for in the reserve study. Review your reserve fund plan to work out how you may be able to address these needs.
4. Work with or appoint committees as needed
Depending on the needs of your community, it might be wise to appoint committees or use existing committees to help out with certain projects. Some of these issues might include: landscaping, maintenance, rule development or changes, building community, neighborhood watch, construction or other issues that might be unique to your group. The HOA board might not fully have time to devote to these areas.
5. Make sure your skills are up to par for the job you are doing
There are always conferences and/or courses that you can take to hone your expertise in helping manage your HOA. Some courses may be available online and you might be able to further your knowledge without leaving the comfort of your own home. Your Board can also subscribe to publications such as ECHO magazine or frequent online sites that are specific to HOA boards and management.
6. Review the experts you have lined up to help you
Your HOA Board will likely run into issues in the coming year that will require expert help. Insurance issues, legal matters, financial dealings and many other areas require your Board to have experts on hand to assist in these matters. Make sure they are up to date and ready to go if your homeowners association needs to call on them for help. It's better to be ahead of the game with your expert help instead of trying to find professionals after an issue hits.
Resolve for Your HOA Board to Be Ready
Resolve to be ready for any and all issues that arise in the coming year. The residents of your homeowners association depend on their Board to guide them and it's vital to be prepared for any situations that may arise.
The steps listed above are a few tips for your HOA board to get ahead of the game. Don't let issues crop up on you without being ready for them. Prepare yourself and you will have more peace of mind about your homeowners association as you begin the New Year.