Here’s a helpful article if you’re thinking about buying a home in an HOA for the first time. It’s important to be prepared and to know what you’re getting into. HOA’s increase property values and can be extremely helpful for maintaining the community and handling financials, however; going into it unaware of the neighborhood’s governing documents can cause frustration if your HOA ever tells you you’re in “violation.”
In the story above, we hear from a Chattanooga area Homeowners’ Association who is investigating up to $22,000 of funds that went missing from the HOA’s bank account. It turns out that this money was withdrawn by the Board President over a period of a few years and wasn’t discovered until another Board member noticed a suspicious ATM withdrawal on the bank statement.
Your association needs safeguards in place to prevent this from happening to you. These safeguards come from the Board analyzing regular financial reports and from the Board or management company being completely transparent about financial activity. As an association management company in Knoxville, we pride ourselves in being detailed and transparent when it comes to financial matters. We provide your association with monthly bank statements and encourage each member to analyze the bank statements and financial reports thoroughly. Don’t let this happen to you! Put your financials in trustworthy hands.
Much like collecting dues each month, keeping up with expenses and staying ahead of due dates for various bills regularly can be a headache for a volunteer Board member. At Fennell Property Management, we can take this task over completely and allow you to do the things you love in your free time. We are consistently collecting, processing, and paying bills for Associations. We take the time to scrutinize bills for accuracy and to be sure that all work has been completed to the Board’s satisfaction before paying any vendors for their work.
We are organized and detailed in our financial record-keeping, and we make it easy for you to see the money that comes in and goes out each month – there are no secrets. We provide you with these records regularly and encourage you to look carefully and closely, as we pride ourselves in being responsible and conservative with your money and we know that’s important to you! In the rare circumstance that your HOA incurs a late fee as a result of a bill not being paid on time, you are never responsible for paying for this – that would always be paid by us.
Ask us more about this – we would love to help assist however we can!
Collecting dues can be a big headache for an HOA Board. The Treasurer can spend a great deal of his own time on tasks related to dues collections. He collects checks, processes them in some way, follows up with delinquents, and makes regular trips to the bank. Giving these tasks to us is a great way to relieve stress as a Board member and to give the Board additional time to devote to more important HOA activities related to decision-making and big-picture items. We don’t just lessen the Board’s involvement and time commitment that comes with collecting dues, we get rid of it completely. We take over with regular collecting, processing, and following up with delinquents. We even assist with lien-filing on those high-balance homeowners that decide not to pay.
Issue # 2: Communication
All of us know that poor communication has the potential to cause issues in our lives and in our relationships. Well, the same could be said about an Association. Many problems and disagreements can be avoided with the appropriate communication between those that are involved in your HOA. Here are just a couple of examples of this:
Since they’re paying dues for the Board to properly maintain their neighborhood, homeowners have an interest in what’s going on with the Board and association. Most owners wish to hear from the Board, and the Board should communicate decisions and items of importance with them. What conversations are being had? What problems are arising in the neighborhood? Unfortunately, when homeowners don’t hear from the Board, they’ll assume nothing is being done to maintain the neighborhood and that their money is being wasted, whether that’s true or not. As a Management Company we encourage the Board to send updates to homeowners, and we even offer to do this on their behalf, as well. A Board that communicates well and regularly with homeowners (whether face-to-face, by email, or mail) will typically experience fewer misunderstandings from homeowners. Of course, homeowners are expected to communicate their desires and thoughts with the Board, as well!
Vendor issues often arise when both sides (the Board and the vendor) have different expectations for what needs to be done. We make a point to communicate often with a neighborhood’s vendors: repair men, lawn and landscaping companies, pool service companies. It’s important for both sides to establish expectations before a vendor begins to work, that way everyone knows they’re on the same page. Then, if an issue arises, you can always revisit that initial meeting and explain which of those expectations the vendor or the Board is missing the mark on.