8 Things Your Self Managed HOA Board Should Review Every Year

self managed HOA boards should review these items yearly

Self managed HOAs and the volunteers who run them have a lot on their plate. Between pursuing new projects, keeping up with collections, and building reserves, it can be difficult for HOAs to raise their nose from the grindstone and re-evaluate key documents and contracts that may cause bigger issues down the road. 

Self managed HOA software can remove a big portion of the manual administrative tasks that eat up volunteers’ time. With more breathing room, the HOA board can focus on broader objectives and preserve the community’s financial health. 

The great thing about self managing an HOA is that you don’t need a background in finances or accounting to be effective. For the HOA board to do its due diligence, there are eight things it should prioritize reviewing on an annual basis.

Table of Contents

  1. Governing Documents
  2. Legislation Updates
  3. Budget Plans
  4. Maintenance Calendar
  5. Audit and Tax Plans
  6. Reserve Funds and Studies
  7. Insurance Policies
  8. Vendor Contracts

Governing Documents

self managed HOA software can make governing documents more transparent.

Sometimes certain rules and requirements become obsolete, while at other times, new rules and requirements can come into play. As they do so, it’s imperative to update your governing documents to reflect the present clearly, especially for newly formed HOAs.

For instance, if you construct a new amenity, you’ll want to make sure to solidify the rules around that amenity in your governing documents, along with other needs, like insurance obligations. If you wait until an issue arises to make these decisions, someone will likely end up feeling slighted or the HOA will find itself open to legal action.

Changing your CC&Rs and bylaws requires you to re-submit your entire set of CC&Rs to the state. Depending on what state you live in, your area’s laws may require you to get approval from homeowners or give them a certain amount of notice.

Changing your rules is easier. The HOA board votes to adopt the rule and homeowners have 30 days to review the rule and submit feedback. After that, the board makes a final decision. 

Even if it’s not required, you should solicit feedback from homeowners and keep them apprised of changes and amendments. Being upfront and transparent with homeowners is key to keeping the HOA running smoothly. Once you’ve updated your governing documents, be sure to make them available to homeowners through your self managed HOA software platform and website.

Legislation Updates

self managed HOA software can make it easier to bring HOA rules within compliance

Local and state HOA laws can change at any time, especially in a state like California, which boasts over 49,000 HOAs. In fact, with more people living in HOAs than ever, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of new laws that pertain to HOAs.

In Florida, for instance, the state banned HOAs from restricting solar panels and clothes lines

Even if new regulations aren’t aimed at HOAs, they can still impact your HOA’s rules and operations. For instance, your HOA’s policy regarding pets may conflict with state laws around service animals. 

It’s a good idea to consult your HOA’s attorney to help bring the HOA in compliance with the law.

Budget Plans

self managed HOA software can make budgeting much simpler.

Manual accounting practices and general accounting software like QuickBooks make it tough to gain transparency around the HOA’s current finances, let alone the clarity needed to predict and plan for upcoming expenses years in advance.

Setting a budget approval date months ahead gives you the time you need to review your statements, expenditures, upcoming costs, and changes in utility, insurance, and vendor prices. 

Your self managed HOA software can handle most of this legwork for you by serving as an automatic repository for all your HOA’s financial information. From within your HOA accounting platform, you can pull the information you need with its ready-made reporting templates.

Maintenance Calendar

self managed HOA software can make your maintenance calendar easily available.

Adding special assessments and additional costs on top of their dues and mortgages can shake homeowner satisfaction and confidence in the board. With smart financial planning, you can anticipate expenses and save for them without charging homeowners. 

Your maintenance calendar can help you see costs coming, like replacing the roof on the clubhouse, re-sealing your parking lot, or making repairs to the pool. Planning for repairs and maintenance before they are needed can ultimately save your HOA money. 

A maintenance calendar can also help you plan to perform maintenance when it makes the most sense. For example, it’s best to paint during the summer, when the weather is dry, and it’s best to check roofs and gutters before the rainy season starts. 

It’s easy to establish a maintenance calendar for your HOA. Start by conducting a reserve study to see which components of your community will need maintenance soon.

Audit and Tax Plans

self managed HOA software can make the audit process more efficient.

Waiting until April to complete your taxes or perform an audit will be too late. For HOAs, it’s good practice to conduct these activities in February, at the latest. 

Get ahead of it and book your CPA early. As tax day approaches, compile the appropriate reports and documents. Again, your self managed HOA software can make this much easier, allowing your CPA to conduct an audit efficiently and effectively. 

Reserve Funds and Studies 

self managed HOA software can give you the transparency to pursue budgetary goals.

A reserve study is an audit of your HOA’s significant assets and amenities so your HOA can plan for repairs. As a best practice, your HOA should conduct a reserve study every three or four years. 

The reserve study will assess the amount of money you should build up in your reserve fund. Your reserve fund is a savings account dedicated to medium- and long-term expenses. It is separate from your operating fund, which your HOA should use for its daily operations. 

Many states require HOAs to hold a certain amount of liquid cash in their reserves in case of emergencies. Typically, about 40% of HOA member dues go into the reserve fund until it’s fully funded.

Your HOA can go about funding its reserve fund in a variety of ways, and it’s entirely possible to build your reserve fund without raising funds or burdening homeowners with special assessments. 

Insurance Policies

Your HOA’s insurance protects the HOA from accidents that occur in common spaces — the streets, pools, parking lots, and other areas in the community that aren’t homeowner property. HOA insurance also covers damages to common areas. 

The purpose of HOA insurance is to fill the gaps that homeowner insurance doesn’t cover. As your neighborhood grows to include new homes, areas, and amenities, your HOA board should review its insurance policy to make sure it has the coverage it needs.

If your HOA needs to expand its coverage, the HOA budget should include and reflect your new policy. 

Vendor Contracts

It’s easy to lose track of vendor contracts as you find solutions to meet your HOA’s needs, but setting procedure around reviewing vendor contracts can help your HOA save money.

  • If a contract is set to automatically renew, you may miss your chance to search for better or more cost-efficient options.
  • If a contract isn’t set to automatically renew, you may inadvertently cause a gap in service while a new agreement is put into place. 
  • As you acquire vendors on an ad-hoc basis, it’s likely that some vendor duties will overlap, resulting in redundant costs.
  • If unchecked, vendors can decline in quality and drift in scope.

The last thing you want is to pay for something you find unsatisfactory. Your self managed HOA software can help you keep track of your vendors and contracts. In your digital platform, you can create profiles for each vendor and store vital information to stay on top of your contracts. 

An HOA comprises many moving parts, and it’s easy to get caught up in the details that you lose track of the most important pieces. 

PayHOA works with HOAs across the country to build unique solutions for their challenges. PayHOA’s easy-to-use software helps you stay on top of everything the HOA board needs to run smoothly. Thousands of HOAs across the country use PayHOA to self manage their neighborhoods and create fantastic places to live. 

PayHOA offers an HOA management software solution for HOAs of any size or managerial priorities. To find out if PayHOA fits all your HOA management needs, try our software free for 30 days.

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