The lifecycle of a HOA is similar to the rejuvenating feeling of spring, with a surge of excitement when there’s newness in the air. Over time, new people move in and buildings get updated, which means communities at their inception look much different 10 or 20 years down the line.
Though each property goes through different transitions at different times, what always occurs as communities get older is the need to preserve what’s been built, particularly from a maintenance aspect. Much like a car, regular tune-ups can help keep it running in good condition and prevent costly damage down the road.
Similarly, when talking about the lifecycle of a HOA, boards must regularly sit down and evaluate: where are we now, where do we need to be, and how do we get there? It’s an opportunity to appreciate how far a community has come and plan for what’s next to continually maximize its value.
Where are we now?
When addressing the present state of a community, it’s the responsibility of an association management company to assist the board of directors and recognize how the community has changed and solidify its identity. It’s a time to ask questions concerning what is and isn’t working.
This involves taking a look at the needs of new homeowners moving, upgrading engagement tools, and assessing where spending money (e.g. irrigation, roof replacement for condos, etc.) is most effective. It’s also a chance to review the current amenity set, operational efficiencies, current vendor contracts, and scopes of work. Are there any opportunities for improvement and areas where there could be cost savings? Do the amenities meet the needs of the current membership? And do the everyday responsibilities still meet the desired goals?
Where do we need to be?
After establishing a community’s current state, the board and association management team can work together to determine next steps. Prioritization calls for aligning what needs to be done now versus what’s considered a “nice to have” in the future. This involves discussing financials and often includes looking at the reserve study and if there is anything the reserve study is missing.
It’s important to ensure there’s been enough funding for the reserve study to cover a potential roof replacement or larger architectural or maintenance project. It’s also important to contemplate capital improvements that may be necessary if amenity set changes are needed to meet changing trends and membership needs. Planning now to protect the inevitability of aging communities will help to ease disruptions down the road.
How do we get there?
Once you’ve made a list of what needs to be done, implement a strategic plan with established goals to review on an annual basis. Factors to take into account include tracking assessment contributions to reserves, or a capital improvement fund, phasing projects to be completed within budget, and the possibility of taking out a loan or levying a special assessment.
Above all, the most important component is to thoroughly communicate planning details and proposed deadlines to HOA members. This keeps the community engaged and lets them know what’s going on and where their membership fees are going. Then, as you check off the goals, don’t forget to celebrate the wins.
Whether it’s the renovation of property amenities or a much-needed maintenance update property-wide, let the community know you’re keeping their best interest, and property values, in mind. Change is inevitable and being proactive regarding the lifecycle of your HOA will ensure your community thrives.
Learn how our association management team can help reach your goals. Contact us today to get the conversation started.