Key to Successful Living in a Homeowners Association

Key to Successful Living In a Homeowners Association The Community Association Institute states that an estimated 20 percent of Americans elect to live in a community run by homeowners, Property Manager, or condo association.  Since 1970, the number of communities governed by these associations has grown from 10,000 to 333,000.  If buying a condominium or home in a Broomfield, Boulder, Denver, Northglenn, or Westminster, chances are you will either deal with the board or possibly become a member of a community association.

Overview of Neighborhood Association

Community associations led by a Licensed Manager have rules that may cover everything from the outer appearance of your home to how many pets you can have.  Community amenities like pools, golf courses, and parking are overseen by the Property Manager.  A Community Association Manager could be responsible for property maintenance duties such as streetlights.

Common responsibilities of an HOA association

  • Collecting fees
  • Enforcing parking rules
  • Amenities upkeep
  • Landscaping management
  • Managing neighborhood watch

The makings of neighborhood associations

An association can be set up by neighborhood residents and developers. Day-to-day operations are often run by a volunteer board and a Licensed Manager.  The volunteer board of homeowners usually take over the organization once the units have been sold.

Satisfaction with the neighborhood association

Most people report that they are satisfied with their organization.  While there is no shortage of reports of dissatisfaction with community associations, most people report being satisfied with their group.  According to Community Association Institute statistics, 64 percent of residents report being satisfied with their organization while 26 percent reported a neutral response.  Ten percent of respondents in that same 2014 survey report dissatisfaction.

The purpose of these rules

The primary function of an HOA is to preserve and protect the value of a property.  This obligation supersedes personal preferences and is often a source of dissatisfaction among residents.  Once a person moves into a neighborhood, their property’s future value is tied to the property value of other residents in that community.   When asked how effective these surveys are at protecting and preserving the property value, 70 percent of respondents report satisfaction with the outcome of the rules when it comes to protecting property value.  An estimated 26 percent of those residents believe that these rules do little to protect property value.  Managing such disagreements can cause conflict among residents and associations if mishandled.

Working with an HOA

Dealing with a CAM can be difficult at times.  In residing in such a community, residents can expect peaks and valleys throughout the journey.  Residents must understand that it is a give-and-take approach that will affect the success of the organization.  Longevity among board members further strengthens the organization.  An ongoing effort to build and maintain trust can make a difference in the outcome of residents.

Necessity for property management training

A CAM is responsible for certain property management responsibilities.  The very magnitude of the role requires the capacity to manage hundreds or thousands in property funds.  Proper allocation and management of funds is essential to success in this role, so professional managers are often hired for that role. In the Regenesis Report, author Richard Thompson discussed the importance of professional management training.  He advocates the necessity of having highly a trained CAM with professional management expertise and training.

Achieving Property Manager Success

In addition to management skills, there are soft skills that are required for success in that role.  Individuals who are amenable and diplomatic are better able to work successfully with neighbors and residents.  Poor people skills by members on a board can be detrimental to the efficacy of the board.  Clear communication and transparency is a must when charged with the responsibility of handling hundreds of thousands in funds.  Boards should have clear procedures for every single possible issue that may arise among residents.  Rules should be revisited regularly by the Community Association Manager should there be a need for updates.  There should be some long-term planning for a guiding vision for that community.  That plan should cover a strategy for handling property issues like a sudden roof leak or other property issue.

Thriving in a community

Getting along with the homeowners association is vital to enjoying the community.  Few residents have a full understanding of the rules prior to moving in or renting in the neighborhood.  Pet, collection, parking, noise and architectural guidelines may be set for a community.  One of the biggest mistakes a prospective buyer could make is to be unaware of those rules prior to moving in the community.  If there is a disagreement among neighbors about anything, it’s best to discuss that matter first with the association before officially filing a complaint.  If a rule is disagreeable, taking that rule to the association is strongly encouraged.  Be active in your community.  Understand the challenges of the community and offer to take a leadership role in spearheading events for a community.  Avoid violating any codes that may involve legal implications.

A homeowner’s association is important for protecting the community and preserving property value for residents.  If considering purchasing a home in a Broomfield, Boulder, Denver, Northglenn, or Westminster townhome or residential community, become familiar with the terms and know the inner workings of the homeowner association.  If becoming active in the board, consider seeking out leadership with property management experience and expertise to assist with the long-term planning, maintenance, and management of the community.

Chris Raulf
Written by James Phifer

James Phifer has been working in community association management since he was 16. Today, he is the President of ACCU, Inc. Check out his impressive-and humbling-career trajectory here. To send James a message, visit his Contact Form. View Profle