Your association board is planning for the big project on the horizon, and is currently reviewing how to finance it. For several reasons, you don’t believe you’ll have enough funds in the association’s operating budget or reserves to cover the project’s entire bill. What should you do? Split the project up over several years, levy a special assessment, or maybe get a loan?
We all know how important it is to try and consider taking a green approach in our daily routines. What if you could go green while also helping the community in your homeowners association? Residents can help their homeowners association minimize its maintenance expenses, which can also avoid HOA fees from increasing, by observing a few simple green considerations.
Is your board constantly faced with residents who don’t pay their monthly HOA fees on time?
If just a few homeowners aren’t paying their HOA fees it can be felt very quickly in an association’s budget. It can also cause a ripple effect. If too many homeowners fail to pay their HOA fees, lenders might start to be unwilling to finance mortgages in the association. This could lead to a decrease in property values.
Every HOA's number one priority is the legal fiduciary responsibility to enhance and maintain their property. The only way to do that is by collecting HOA fees. That's why a clear collection policy is a must-have for your HOA board.
Sounds like fun, right? Maybe not. However, it's important to communicate a detailed collection plan for HOA fees. By managing homeowner expectations about fees and the need for timely payment, you can help your board (and especially your treasurer) meet their goals and reduce the need for costly fee collection.
Keeping assessments from constantly increasing in a homeowners association is one of the most important things an HOA board and its members can strive to do. The Association must balance keeping up with all its financial obligations and making sure fees stay as low as possible. Generally, these two feel like they work against each other.
The reserve fund of a homeowners association is often misunderstood by members and sometimes the HOA board as well. Some see it as a slush fund that is to be used on a "rainy day"' when the association gets low on cash in the operating account. Others, although they may understand the need to have some measure of reserve cash, do not make the connection that reserve funds are being reserved for the particular components within the community that the association is responsible for, such as roads, roofing, siding, fencing, painting, and equipment replacement.
Homeowner associations are sometimes faced with special circumstances that arise even when they’ve done an excellent job of planning for replacement costs. Large-scale repairs, emergency situations, or capital improvement projects may occur that put their reserves dangerously low. Special HOA assessments, in addition to monthly HOA fees, could then be the best option.
Working for one of the largest HOA management companies in Northern California I get a lot of phone calls from distressed HOA board members. I hear the same story emerging from these different homeowners association. It’s a sad pattern that is all too common. The story goes something like this:
We all have heard the question time and time again, "Why do my HOA fees continue to increase?” Although it may not be news most homeowners want to hear, sometimes an increase in fees is the best way to keep the homeowners association in good financial health.