You don’t want to be bored with numbers, spreadsheets, dollars and cents. You already know that’s what a budget is made up of. Instead, what actions are the most important for you to actually do to ensure financial success in your homeowners association? There are a lot of pieces and parts that come into play, but following this advice will help you get started in the right direction of financial health for your community.
Find a good HOA manager to help your Association. It’s worth making management a part of your budget because a good manager can help set people at ease. When an HOA board doesn’t have a manager, all responsibility falls on them - they don’t know what they don’t know. The manager does the majority of the work and it’s more than just crunching numbers.
Once you’ve hired an HOA manager, allow enough time for things to happen. It’s going to take a manager probably a year or so to really get a good grasp on the operating and reserve budgets in your homeowners association. This includes setting aside time for the reserve study and what should be included that currently isn’t.
Being prepared means having a good understanding of how things work in the Association and knowing the people involved in the Association – those who live in the community, those who are on the HOA board, and those who provide services to the community. One way to do this is by conducting an audit, sitting down with vendors to understand their scope of work and see how much services are costing the Association, such as:
- Maintenance of common areas
- Pool maintenance
- Water/garbage, etc.
Don’t be afraid to ask good questions, both with vendors and the HOA manager. You’re affecting people’s property values, the desirability of the community, and their pocket books. Asking members to contribute and including them when appropriate can also help you keep them prepared as well.
Budgets Can Be Fun
Yes, that’s right – budgets can be fun because they can bring people together by:
- Building relationships with vendors, experts, consultants, HOA board members etc.
- Serving the community by keeping things looking nice and up-to-date.
Developing a good budget in your homeowners association has many benefits, some of which are keeping up the appearance of the community, building relationships, financial health of the Association, and creating a better quality of life. The success of developing a budget can be significantly increased with the help of an HOA manager.