There is a stereotype of an over-controlling and money-hungry HOA at battle with homeowners. But, residents and HOA management can work together to create and foster an idyllic and lovable community for all. Getting there is not always easy, as some HOA communities are the size of small towns. More people means more opinions on the steps to take, but all parties involved ultimately want to move in the same direction, toward strong fiscal management, high property values, and warm and safe communities.
Often, people will take the time to write out their complaints, but don’t do the same to share their satisfaction. At a restaurant, people will ask to talk to a manager to complain about bad service, but not stop the manager to compliment their server. The same can go for HOA management. Some people may complain about the rules of their HOA, but the rules exist for the collective benefit of every homeowner. Others may complain about the dues, but the dues allow residents to enjoy amenities like swimming pools, walking trails, and tennis courts that keep the community healthy, active, and fit.
The truth is most homeowners like their HOA.
When asked, the top things people say they love about living in an HOA community were neighborhood attractiveness, effective maintenance, community safety, and higher property values.
HOA management should serve the residents. When residents have positive feelings about the community and its future, that’s considered a success for the HOA management. The most successful HOAs advocate for their community’s best interests, whether it be improving the natural environment that surrounds them, making sure everyone has food on the table at dinner time with a food drive, or even enforcing rules so that property values stay high and residents experience the kind of community they signed up for.
Creating the right environment
HOA management can improve the culture of the HOA by simply listening to residents. A great way to do this is with customizable surveys that can easily be sent to all residents.
This is the perfect opportunity to understand how residents feel about the HOA. HOA management can directly ask residents for their ideas on how to improve the environment and what sorts of things they want more of.
Creating a sense of community
Community is strongest when people are working toward a shared goal. A fundraiser is a great way to ignite people around a common cause. Plus, it can be a really fun event! Attendees will leave with feelings of gratitude, a strong sense of community, and pride for making an impact in their community.
Charitable events can be focused within the association, or toward a general community cause. They don’t always have to be about giving money. There are great opportunities to volunteer which can provide people with the same sense of community, gratitude, and impact.
For example, the association could have a beautification event for the neighborhood. This gets people outside, moving, and enjoying spending time with each other, all while improving their home. Neighborhood attractiveness is the number one thing people love about living in an HOA. Working together to pick up trash, plant flowers and trees, and clear walking trails gives residents a sense of ownership and contribution toward making this goal happen. Plus, getting your hands in the dirt stimulates the release of serotonin. There’s a reason so many people love gardening!
Communication is key to any relationship. The relationship between residents and HOA management is no different.
Regular communication builds connections among residents and between HOA management and homeowners. A newsletter is a great tool for keeping everyone up to date. The newsletter can be used to uplift positive news about the community and keep spirits high. With HOA management software, the newsletter can be created, printed, stuffed in envelopes, and mailed seamlessly. The software can handle the entire process from the first draft to the final version that lands in every homeowner’s mailbox.
An up-to-date website is another key form of communication. Most people use the internet to gather information today. Ensuring that information on the website is accurate and that the user experience is intuitive will set your HOA apart from others for current and prospective residents. A website can provide valuable information and answer frequently asked questions which can save time and frustration for community volunteers and board members. A page on the website dedicated to these questions can be really helpful for current and prospective residents and the HOA management team.
Residents might not have the time to attend every board meeting, but they still deserve to know about upcoming projects and changes. Transparency builds trust between homeowners and HOA management. Updating the website with highlights from the meetings and sharing updates via a newsletter ensures that everyone is in the loop.
Hosting community events
Some of the top benefits of living in an HOA neighborhood are increased community engagement and pride. It’s too easy to get confined to your bubble in today’s world. Nothing brings people together like an in-person event. Community events help residents meet each other and make long-lasting friendships.
Some examples of these events could be a(n):
- Cocktail hour for young adults
- Card game nights for seniors
- Easter egg hunt for children
- Halloween-themed movie night for teenagers
- BBQ for the whole family
A website can promote these fun events, share more serious events like board meetings, and place reservations for common amenities like tennis courts. A well-organized website with a calendar feature can make sure anyone who wants to attend an event knows in advance the time, date, and details, as well as prevents overbooking of community amenities.
Spotlighting community members
What is an HOA without its members? Highlighting the achievements of people in the neighborhood should be a priority for HOA management. It’s a great way to make people feel special and help them get to know their neighbors.
Some life events HOA management could spotlight:
- Academic achievements of students
- The addition of a new baby
- Profile of a new board member
Highlighting everyday good news about members of the association makes people feel good and emphasizes the most important aspect of an HOA—its members.
Accentuate the positive
All of these ideas include this common thread: focusing on the positive.
HOA management can do this by:
- Listening to residents and making reasonable changes to accommodate their requests
- Keeping a balance between good news and fines/punishment (Communication with residents should be at least 50% good news.)
- Hosting impromptu events to show appreciation to residents
Make life easier
The top pros (vs. cons) people list about living in an HOA community all have to do with making life more simple for homeowners: contracted yard and tree maintenance, having utilities and insurance included in one monthly bill, and not having to confront neighbors over things like dogs barking or loud parties.
An online portal like PayHOA makes life easier for residents, board members, and other community volunteers. It’s a central place to pay dues, submit and view maintenance requests, and communicate with other homeowners and board members.
- Easy-to-pay dues—you can even set up autopay and forget about paying dues altogether.
- Submit and track maintenance requests.
- Communicate via message boards, mass text, email, and automatic postal mailing.
The best HOA management software tools help you communicate with your members to give a better HOA experience.