A big part of what sets your community apart is the amenities it offers. This goes beyond a pool, a fitness area or a place for a rooftop party – your amenities help create a lifestyle, and that’s the most important thing to residents and association members.
But how do you ensure this lifestyle is maximized, given the amenities you have? Well, that’s where a good HOA management company comes in. They can keep your amenities in top working order, give you ideas on how to make the most of what you have, suggest changes to match the evolving culture of your community, and much more. Because let’s face it: as a board member, you have plenty on your to-do list, and working with a good community management company can shorten that list – and enhance your peace of mind. Here’s how.

Maintenance: No matter how diverse your amenities are, they all have one thing in common: the need to be maintained. Pools need to be cleaned and balanced with the right chemicals. Decks and patios need to be repainted, repaired and kept in good working order. The best HOA management company will help you develop a maintenance schedule to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. Beyond that, they can help you plan for those big repairs too (like a broken pipe in the pool, or a replacement of your patios and decks) – right down to earmarking the funds in the budget, timed to the anticipated need for replacement and repair of major systems. It reduces the possibility of those unanticipated, unpleasant surprises.

Further, an excellent HOA management company will know all of your local rules and regulations, and they can help you accommodate changing codes as they are adopted by your city or county. They can also help you schedule health inspections, organize social events and capture member feedback on current amenities and proposed future ones, too. Best of all, their advice and insight is all driven by good fiscal stewardship, so you never have to worry about over-promising and under-delivering to your residents.

Planning for the future: Your current collection of amenities won’t stay the same forever. But adding new features can be a process fraught with complications – and potential disaster. By way of example, let’s say your homeowners’ association has a strong contingent of recreational bicyclists. A bike path would be a great addition to your amenities roster. But how big do you make it? What sort of design will it require? How will other aspects of your community be affected? How do you create a bike path that satisfies those who want a leisurely ride and those who want intensive exercise, too? These are all questions that can be answered by a great HOA management company. They’ll make the calls. They’ll do the research. They’ll secure the bids. And they’ll oversee the project from start to finish to make sure it’s delivered as promised. So even if it’s something other than a bike path (rooftop gardening, anyone?), a HOA manager can go over your wish list and identify those changes that will maximize the benefit for the most residents – all while staying in budget.

Making (and enforcing) the rules: Let’s go back to your new bike path. You’ve got it built and everyone loves it. That’s a win, right? Well, what happens when a member’s misuse of the new facility or delinquency in dues payments necessitate banning him from it? For most board members, this is a nightmare-come-true. How do you enforce the ban without getting into legal trouble? The answer is simple: it takes the help of a HOA management team. They’ll be knowledgeable of the rules and regulations that must be followed in enforcing such a ban. Steps might include holding a board meeting, drafting a letter to the community member guilty of the infraction, or other measures. Some privileges can be revoked, but you also need to know which ones cannot (some are tied directly to property ownership and can’t be touched). The rules vary by state, county and city, and only the best community management companies are adept at navigating these tricky waters.

Transformations due to trends: Again, you’re creating a lifestyle community with the amenities your community offers. But sometimes the lifestyle needs to evolve with the changing tastes of your residents. Maybe a larger profile of families necessitates the inclusion of more play areas. Or maybe you’ve noticed that your tennis court is underused, and you‘d like to transform the facility into something that will accommodate a sport growing in popularity, like pickleball (a game played with paddles and a plastic ball, using a modified net and court). And that greenbelt near the clubhouse? It might better serve your pet-loving residents as a dog park. In any case, these conversions are necessary – but they can come with surprises in budgeting, timelines and ultimate outcomes. Your HOA management company will help you identify under-used amenities and offer ideas on how to transform them into something more usable by residents. Beyond that, they’ll help you plan and oversee the project so that the end result is just as you expected – or maybe even better.

A great master-planned community or homeowners’ association offers amenities that enable your residents to enjoy a lifestyle consistent with their wants, needs and interests. With the help of a good HOA management company, you can offer that lifestyle – even as it changes over time. For more information on amenities, maintenance and community management, contact FirstService Residential, Arizona’s residential HOA management leader.
Thursday May 19, 2016