While HOA horror stories may grab you with a click-bait headline, the truth is that the vast majority of HOA residents are overwhelmingly pleased with their HOAs.
According to the Foundation for Community Association Research,
- 89% of HOA residents rated their overall community association experience as good or very good.
- 89% said members of their HOA board “absolutely” or “for the most part” serve the best interests of their communities
- 71% said their association’s rules protect and enhance property values.
Maybe that’s why more Americans live in neighborhoods with an HOA than ever before.
Transparency plays a huge part in homeowner satisfaction. When residents can’t see how their dues improve the neighborhood or feel that rule enforcement is inconsistent, they lose trust in the HOA board and become discontented with the neighborhood.
Over time, the bad reputation of a neighborhood or HOA board can decrease property values.
Good HOA management keeps residents in the loop about developments in the neighborhood and provides an avenue for homeowners to give their input. No matter what size or style, your HOA can start increasing its transparency with homeowners with these five tips.
Table of Contents
- Be open about developments and spending
- Be clear about the rules
- Provide a forum for discussion among homeowners
- Make it easy for homeowners to see where they stand
- Communicate on multiple fronts
1. Be open about developments and spending
Running an HOA is a team effort. Everyone pays dues, so everyone deserves access to information about the neighborhood’s revenue and expenses. The HOA laws in your state mandate a certain degree of openness your HOA must adhere to, but the law should serve as the bare minimum for financial transparency.
Inviting residents to attend HOA board meetings lets them take part in discussions about issues within the neighborhood. By attending board meetings, homeowners can see where their dues are spent and better understand the board’s decisions.
Board meetings provide a great opportunity to foster community—for the board and homeowners to meet each other face to face and build relationships.
- Announce upcoming meetings well in advance.
- Distribute a meeting agenda beforehand so attendees can prepare to talk about the agenda items.
- Make your HOA’s code of conduct around meetings available to homeowners.
- Record the minutes and outcomes of the meeting and make them available to homeowners within a few days of the meeting.
An HOA accounting software platform can serve as a repository for board minutes, annual reports, recorded meetings, and other updates that homeowners may access any time.
2. Be clear about the rules
While it’s easy to poke fun at HOAs with extremely particular rules, the rules keep property values up and keep residents content. Almost every HOA has rules around parking, trash, noise, and landscaping.
Most homeowners want to follow the rules, no matter how granular they may be. When the rules aren’t clear, a fine can feel as if it came out of nowhere, leading to conflict and confusion.
Your community’s rules and fee structure should be clear and readily available to homeowners, especially newcomers to the neighborhood. In addition to guidelines for individual homeowners, they should also cover rules for using the community’s amenities and making dues payments.
HOA management software can help in this area, too. Within your platform, you can ensure the rules and founding documents are easy to find, and you can easily change or add to them as your HOA board sees fit.
3. Provide a forum for discussion among homeowners
One of the best ways to strengthen your community is to create a place where homeowners can talk about neighborhood developments and issues. If you can encourage homeowners to give their input in a shared platform, it will become their go-to place to voice their opinion, ask questions, and seek information.
Some HOAs use social media platforms like Facebook to create a group for their neighborhood and hold discussions there. However, adopting an HOA management software with a built-in discussion board keeps the neighborhood dialogue within the same hub as all the other information, which tends to be more controlled, convenient and effective.
You can conduct surveys and polls from your HOA software platform to get the HOA’s opinion about an issue. On your message board, you can post reminders about upcoming meetings and spread the word about neighborhood events.
4. Make it easy for homeowners to see where they stand
Dues collection is usually the most challenging aspect of HOA management, but homeowners have their hands full with their jobs and families. It can be easy for HOA dues to get lost in the shuffle, especially as additional late fees trickle in.
If your HOA collects dues by hand or check, it limits the timeframe in which a homeowner can pay. A homeowner who works odd hours, for example, may have a hard time connecting with your HOA treasurer to make their payment. Mailing in dues is always an option, but the process of sending a dues payment by post is an unnecessarily tedious chore.
Transitioning to a digital collections process allows homeowners to pay their dues instantly, at a time that is convenient for them. More importantly, a digital payment system offered by an HOA management software allows homeowners to see their account balance any time. If they incur a late fee or some other fine, their account will automatically update to reflect their new balance.
With PayHOA, homeowners can set up autopay, so they don’t have to remember their HOA dues each month.
This goes for maintenance and architectural requests, too. Homeowners shouldn’t feel like they’re sending their requests into the void. With HOA management software, homeowners can submit requests and track request status through their homeowner portal.
5. Communicate on multiple fronts
Consolidating your HOA management functions under one central hub makes it easier to communicate across several channels.
With the ability to reach homeowners through mass texts and emails, it’s easier to keep them in the know. Through your HOA software platform, you can also create a website for your HOA, send out your newsletters and reports so homeowners have several outlets to keep up with the community.
These channels allow and encourage homeowners to engage, creating an ongoing neighborhood dialogue that builds an atmosphere of transparency and openness.
At PayHOA, we didn’t just set out to build an HOA accounting platform. We set out to create a tool that helps HOAs build better neighborhoods and cultivate positive relationships with homeowners. Over 7,000 HOAs across the country use PayHOA to self-manage their communities. See how PayHOA can help your community run smoothly.