Monthly Archives: May 2019

Understanding Your Community Association’s Governing Power

To many homeowners living in a community governed by an Association, the volunteers on the Board are the neighborhood leaders who enforce rules and regulations with the goal of improving their community.

While Associations have responsibilities to make important decisions for their communities, it is important that homeowners understand the governing extent the Board has within the state and local laws and governing documents of the Association.

If you’re moving into a neighborhood that is controlled by a Community Association or plan to run for a spot on the Board, here is some information that will help you understand how the Board can legally enforce the rules in place.

Curb Appeal and a Community Association

Your Community Association has a set list of rules and regulations that allow them to designate what can and can’t be done to a property. These governing laws are in documents that come with some heavy legal language that could leave the average homeowner stumped when the Association tells them a certain change to their home isn’t allowed.

Some of the most common things that Associations can control include:

  • Any exterior modification/change
  • Fence height and construction
  • The length of a home’s lawn
  • Placement of garbage cans
  • Vehicle parking

Fines and Fees

The Community Association is financially responsible for managing dues and collecting payments on violation fines. Therefore, if a person is found to be non-compliant with a rule in the community’s governing documents, the Association has every right to fine the homeowner.

Associations can also levy late fees to homeowners who have not paid their Association Assessments.  If Assessments are not paid for long enough, it could lead to a homeowner’s home being foreclosed upon. To avoid appeal fines, it’s important that you understand your homeowner’s rights in a Texas HOA.

Your Association Cannot Make Decisions on a Whim

Changes to your community’s documents and bylaws can’t simply be made on a suggestion or snap decision. Yes, changes can be made to governing documents but they must be done so through a process that is legal and above all, fair to the community that said changes will impact if implemented.  Your Governing Documents will include verbiage on what steps must be taken to pass an amendment.

Need Help with Association Responsibilities? Goodwin & Company can Help!

A Community Association is an entity that deals with the financial, legal, and physical upkeep of a community. The board is a hard-working team, but sometimes our neighborhood volunteers need a little help with operational procedures.

Goodwin & Company is a Dallas-based Association management team that can help your Board make the right decisions for the community. Like the Board, we put association members first and are prepared to provide the consulting and reporting that helps keep your Association in good standing with its members. Contact us to find out more about our services.

6 Budget-Friendly Ideas to Boost a Property’s Appeal

The housing market continues to boom in the Big D. You may have noticed a significant uptick in homes for sale in the area. Dallas and its surrounding suburbs are rapidly growing with plenty of new construction (and the traffic to prove it). While Dallas continues to be a seller’s market, the average home sits on the market for 71 days. Buyers are willing to shop around until they find that perfect home in a great neighborhood that will also be a good investment. Check out these six budget-friendly ideas to boost a property’s appeal and help it sell faster.

1. Clean It Up

Want to clean up in the current market? Make sure your property is cleaned up. The only thing it will cost you is a few hours and a little elbow grease. Pick up all trash, clean the windows inside and out. Clean out gutters, rake leaves and clear away any debris that may have blown in from a recent thunderstorm. When prospective buyers see a spotless exterior, they know the inside will also be clean.


2. Spread Some Mulch

Mulch helps freshen up and frame your property. Adding mulch around the trees and flowerbeds will instantly boost your property’s appeal. Both organic and inorganic mulch cuts down on weed growth and keeps plants hydrated in the scorching Texas heat. Looking to learn more about mulch? Follow these helpful tips and tricks!

3. Add Colorful Plants

You don’t have to spend hours digging a new flower bed to add some color to your front porch or walkway. Plant some native flowers like hibiscus or verbena in large, colorful pots, which you can use to surround the porch or line the walkway. Move them around and change the plants out as the seasons change. Native plants are easy to maintain and stand up well in the Texas heat. The container plants can also be used to hide unsightly utility boxes.

Add Colorful Flowers for Curb Appeal

4. Paint Entrances

Check storage areas for any leftover paint for the front door and trim of your house. Make sure the color either matches or compliments the exterior colors. Yellow, red, and even black doors create a dramatic look that will stand out to potential buyers. Make sure to submit an ACC request to your Association Board before making any changes like this to the exterior of your home though!

5. Keep It Trimmed

Mowing the lawn on a regular basis is one of the easiest and budget-friendly ways you can boost your property’s appeal. Unkept yards are quickly discounted or skipped during a house hunting tour. Show potential buyers that all areas of your property are well maintained by keeping the lawn neat and trimmed. Remember to edge for an overall polished appearance. If that seems like a lot of work, consider hiring a local professional, as the cost is quite affordable.


6. Power Wash Hardscapes

It can be easy to overlook the grime and dirt that can build up on the hardscaped areas around the property. Rent a power washer for a day and blast away the dark stains that have accumulated on the patio and sidewalks over the past few years. Pay close attention to walkways and brickwork.

These budget-friendly ideas will help you boost your curb appeal, and win you favor among your neighbors. After all, the appearance of your property also affects their curb appeal.

Jacob Palmer is a gardening and landscape design writer. When mowing lawns on his street as a child, he discovered a lifelong passion for landscape design. He now has three children who can all be found helping him most weekends with his next big garden project.

How To Approach HOA Rule Changes

Community Association rules may be parts of governing documents that keep your neighborhood running smoothly, but nothing about these rules is set in stone. Over time, changes may have to be adopted out of necessity or by the request of a community member.

As a Board member or a concerned community member, there are steps you need to take in order to make the right decisions for your neighborhood. Here are some tips and how your association management company can help!

Before Approaching Change, Read the Documents!

Having the idea for change is a great place to start, but before you can be certain this is a change your community needs, you should read all of your Association’s governing documents. 

Your HOA management team will be able to provide you with the three governing documents you will need to review:

  • The Declaration
  • Bylaws
  • Rules & Regulations

Doing your local and state Association Law research will help you understand whether or not your goals are attainable or what you will need to do to implement said changes. Keep in mind that some document changes can be costly to carry out, so that’s why we recommend following the next step in the plan for change involving the worth of your idea.

Make Sure Change is Worth Pursuing

You may not be the first person to come up with this proposed change. We suggest making your voice heard at board meetings. Ask questions about your changes. You may discover that the idea has already been proposed and turned down for various reasons.

You can also reach out to fellow community members via applications like Nextdoor, where you can find out if the changes you want to propose are worth the time and investment. Remember making your opinion known on this topic will not only get you answers but could also help make your proposal get noticed by Board members who can help push policy changes along.

Know That Your Board Has a Process

Even if the Board deems that the proposed change is something that can benefit your community, don’t expect change to happen overnight. There is usually a process set in place that allows for member comments, the proper outlining of the process, and the time needed to prepare a draft of the rule; all before it is approved and filed. Your Board must also operate under the bylaws which outline specifically how changes can be made.

Let Goodwin & Company Help With The Details

From explaining bylaws to helping with the organization of governing documents, the team at Goodwin & Company is ready to help make your changes benefit your community. If you don’t have a team on-hand to help with the details of your community, now is the perfect time to make a change that matters. Contact us today to find out more about the services we provide to communities like yours.