Monthly Archives: April 2021

How to Plan for Exterior Alterations in an HOA

Spring is in full swing in Dallas, and after the harsh freeze that rounded out our winter, it’s no surprise that many owners plan on making some exterior improvements while the weather is warm.

While exterior renovations are always a great way to start off the spring season, if you are an owner in an HOA, completing a project isn’t as easy as a split decision and getting started. With most renovations or exterior alterations, an application with plans must be submitted to your Association’s committee and approved *prior* to work starting.

Items That Require Approval

Although removing exterior walls and replacing a major feature like a fence may be an obvious need to retain uniformity, many homeowners are surprised at how many exterior renovations actually require an ACC request and board approval.

Common projects which require ACC approval include:

  • Painting your home (even in a uniform color)
  • Roof replacement
  • Removal and replacement of landscaping
  • New gutters
  • New trim
  • A new front door
  • Pergola installation
  • Patio build
  • Pool construction

The general rule of thumb is to submit a request to the committee for any exterior modification.  If an owner performs any of these renovations without committee approval, not only will their work need to be halted and redone at their own expense, but they could face significant fines for failing to submit an ACC request.

“Isn’t the Land My Land?”

This is a common answer that many owners in an HOA ask when they face submitting an ACC request.

While homeowners own the actual home or unit in which they reside, the HOA is tasked with maintaining the overall aesthetic of the community.  Buying a home in an HOA means that the homeowner agrees to comply with all regulations set forth by the HOA for the betterment of all homes and units within the community. 

What is an ACC Request?

An association’s Architectural Control Committee is responsible for reviewing all architectural project requests. Your neighborhood committee reviews the Association’s rules and ensures that every project that gets approved keeps the property uniform and within the association’s regulations.

Typically an ACC request covers the significant details of the project, including the following:

  • What exactly your project entails
  • The estimated timeline of the project
  • Who is conducting the work

Fortunately, with community amenities like online portals, submitting an ACC request is as simple as the click of a button. All owners have to do is sign into their account, fill out their request, and await the ACC’s swift response.

What Happens After a Request Submission?

Typically, the ACC has between 30 and 60 days to respond to a request (exact timelines vary from community to community). Once a decision has been made, you will be notified and receive a letter indicating the verdict for your records. If the request is denied, the owner can always fix any potential issues with the project and submit a new ACC request.

Keep Your Board Ready for Project Approvals with Goodwin & Company

If you are a member of your HOA board or local ACC, you may eventually need some third-party help with reviewing and managing incoming project submissions. At Goodwin & Company, our team has perfected the art of helping our clients make the right decisions when it comes to uniform exterior renovations within the community.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a partner with our association management team and how we’ve helped out communities like yours in the past.

What Do Your HOA Fees Actually Cover?

Everyone knows that part of being an HOA member is paying community dues. Whether the payments are monthly or annually, they must be paid in order for your association’s board to put the money towards community projects and maintenance.

Many owners view HOA fees as a negative item and feel that their money only goes towards filling someone else’s pockets. Fortunately, that’s not the case, and the team at Goodwin & Company is prepared to dig into the details.

Here’s a closer look at what your HOA dues actually cover and why it matters to pay them on time!

An Overall Sense of Community

Every neighborhood has its unique qualities, but not every neighborhood has the sense of community that an HOA offers. Associations plan out community events, work closely with their owners to make the area as comfortable as possible, and provide the comfort of a private neighborhood setting.

Your association dues may seem like an excessive payment, but the reality is that through your dues, you are ensuring a place within a planned community where your family can grow and thrive.

Association Maintenance

Your association management hires vendors to maintain your community. Association dues are the crux of how these vendors get paid. So, when you receive your next dues payment invoice, keep in mind that your money is going towards some of the following essential maintenance projects:

  • Landscaping
  • Pool maintenance
  • Management services
  • Utility payments for your community common areas
  • Common area pest control
  • Common area fire alarms
  • Community security services

Amenities You’ve Come to Love

If you live in an association, then you already know that the amenities are some of the biggest reasons to love your community. From swimming pools to community parks and private gyms, there is always something for you to enjoy.

HOA dues are essentially your ticket into the exclusivity of your association’s amenities. Not only do they help upkeep the property, but they also help pave the way for newer and greater entertainment possibilities for your family and future owners.

Community Insurance

Insurance is one of the most important areas where dues are allocated. Typically, HOA dues pay for insurance coverage for common space property protection and community hazard and liability coverage.

What About Special Assessments?

After a natural disaster or in the wake of an urgent community project, there may be times where an unexpected fee is added to your owner’s dues. After all, your budget for the year has already been mapped out, so unexpected circumstances could require the use of special assessments.

The situation really all lies in how well your management team has collected dues over the years and what the levels of delinquency are. Nobody wants to impose special assessments on their community, but if members aren’t paying or the damages lead to a large deductible, your association may not have the funds to cover emergency projects.

Goodwin & Company Distributes Dues Where They Count!

If you are a new member of your association’s board of directors and have questions about how to distribute your community dues, the management team at Goodwin can help!

Goodwin & Company is a team of industry professionals that specialize in helping board members behind the scenes with proper management practices. Our experience with finance, vendor management, and collection tactics makes us one of Dallas’s most coveted management teams.

If you’re ready to make your association one that attracts new owners and retains current members for years to come, contact us today to learn more about our services in communities like yours.