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.
Tax season is here and we all want to deduct every last penny we can find. If you’re a member of a homeowners association, have you ever considered whether or not the HOA fees you pay are tax deductible? Every HOA is different, so you’ll want to find out what applies to your specific Association.
Part of being a member in a California homeowners association is the routine practice of having to pay monthly HOA fees. It's easy to get frustrated if you're unclear on what purpose these fees serve, especially if the HOA board ever makes the decision to increase the amount. Whether you've been living in an HOA for a while now, or are considering buying a home in an HOA, asking the question what do HOA fees cover? can save you from unexpected financial surprises.
Buying a home is a big milestone in life. It’s probably one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make. It can also be one of the most exciting and nerve-racking! You can avoid anxiety and buyer’s remorse by making sure you’re informed about certain factors that are part of home buying – whether you’re buying a home in a homeowners association or elsewhere. When you’re in the house hunting process, be sure to ask about the following to avoid any surprises to your budget.
There is no way to sugar-coat a special assessment. Receiving a notice that you owe more money to your homeowners association can not only put a damper on your day but also a dent in your wallet, both of which the board is sympathetic to. In a perfect world, there would never be a need for special assessments—or any other type of assessments for that matter—but sadly; they are sometimes a necessary evil.
Homeowners association members who pay their assessments late or not at all come up with some very interesting excuses. Here’s half a dozen of the most common excuses your HOA board might hear and why it’s smart to address them.