HOAs in Nevada are evolving every day. While focusing on current or short-term needs might be practical, it’s important to plan for the future management of your homeowners’ association, too. In order to account for these changes, you must look at trends and data surrounding key topics and analyze how this may affect the operation of your HOA in the future.
“Communities are changing; that’s an indisputable fact,” said James Gibson, former president of the Nevada chapter of Community Associations Institute (CAI) and vice president of business development for FirstService Residential in Northern Nevada. “The key is to align our strategies and tactics with these shifts so we can not only accommodate the communities of the future, but, more importantly, anticipate their needs.”
To help pin these topics down, CAI assembled a group of experts, community members and stakeholders to identify key issues affecting the future of the industry. The results were published in the organization’s magazine, Common Ground. We’ve pulled out some high points and added some key insights here.
1. Each community association must take a tailored approach to governance.
As communities evolve, their differences will become more pronounced. Individuality is primarily a good thing—except when legislators, developers, and associations try to create a one-size-fits-all set of rules. Extensive regulations might make sense for larger associations, but this can also create unnecessary challenges for smaller associations. The coming years will bring a complete rethinking of the way community management companies and boards work together.
2. Training will become more vital.
HOAs—at least the larger ones—are essentially multimillion-dollar corporations. As such, it’s becoming more and more important to create training programs for their volunteer leadership teams. You can count on a good HOA management company to provide training materials in the form of manuals and in-person seminars and sessions.
 3. Reserve studies need to become mandatory.
Today, many stakeholders are guilty of underestimating how essential a healthy reserve fund can be. That includes developers, legislators and more. But you can’t arrive at a well-funded reserve without undertaking a thorough reserve study (created by engineers, not just accountants). The ideal solution is to seek a model wherein a completed reserve study is turned over to the HOA by the developer, along with other initial documents, right from the very beginning. This process should be mandated by law. You can look to consumer protection advocates to make a case for this in the future.
4. As demographics change, so do communities.
Demographics—including age, culture and population—impact communities everywhere. For HOAs with aging populations, that means a shift in focus, amenities and programming to operate as a de facto retirement community. Communities with high millennial populations will move to fewer meetings and greater use of electronic communications, such as social media. And multicultural shifts will lead to the development of multilingual documents and meeting options. As communities continue to become more diverse, effective HOA management will become even more critical than ever before.
5. Respect the tech.
The transition to electronic communications and documentation will take a concentrated, strategic effort, but it’s absolutely necessary as younger generations become homeowners. Board notices, elections, and even meetings will all be moving to online formats. This will be a challenging but positive change, as it will enhance participation and streamline processes. Look to HOA management companies that already offer tailor-made tech solutions for inspiration.
6. Trade organizations will need to wield more influence.
Nevada will continue to pass legislation that drastically affects HOA living. This makes groups like the CAI important to protecting residents’ interests on a political level, especially when those policies affect how community members live their day-to-day lives. To help in these efforts, trade groups need to align with other powerful parties, such as realtors and other groups.

Is your HOA ready for the future? It will be if you stay abreast of the issues affecting Nevada HOAs. For more information, contact FirstService Residential, Nevada’s community management leader.
Tuesday June 21, 2016