Monthly Archives: November 2021

The Guide to Solving Common Issues New Board Members Face

A new year around the corner can mean that your HOA’s board is about to welcome in some new board members.

Yes, new bodies on a board can bring an exciting chance for new ideas to mold the community, but new board membership also often comes with common issues that can leave Boards and communities frustrated. 

What Are Common Issues New Board Members Face?

In order to have a smooth transition into board membership, it is important to address standard issues early. While you are easing new members into their roles, go through these common problems during orientation and how they can quickly be nipped in the bud.

Misunderstanding Their Role

Being on an HOA board may mean a person plays a prominent role in how the community flows, but it doesn’t allow a single board member to make immediate helpful or spiteful decisions.

An HOA board is a team of community members that work together to maintain the happiness of the community. All decisions are made as one and the community CC&Rs always come first.

In short, enjoy your time as a member of the board, but remind yourself that you aren’t the sole judge and jury of the community.

Making Decisions Before Knowing Governing Documents

Knowing where you have flexibility is vital to making the right decisions for your community. This all starts with becoming extremely familiar with your community bylaws, governing documents, and covenants.

Putting this effort into practice helps ensure your decisions are all legal and don’t accidentally violate your community’s bylaws.

Difficulties With Member Engagement

Member engagement can be difficult for any HOA board. However, getting your neighbors involved in the leadership process only stimulates great ideas and ensures your community meets the goals it truly wants.

While some may say that no news is good news, we believe that your board should always strive to get closer to its constituents. 

This can easily be done through:

  • Incentives for meeting attendance
  • Movie nights
  • Pool parties
  • Block parties

Juggling Daily Duties With HOA Duties

People often forget that the duties of being an HOA board member get tacked onto the daily work and family responsibilities that elected members have. 

In order to prevent excessive amounts of stress, we suggest utilizing your association’s management team as much as possible. With our behind-the-scenes help, new board members can enjoy their time in the community spotlight and make the big decisions without sacrificing work and family obligations.

How Can an Association Management Team Help?

Community management is essential for a Board of Directors that has several new members. A team like Goodwin & Company knows what it takes to set a community on the course of success and can help with some of the following duties:

  • Dues collection
  • Vendor bids
  • Project oversight
  • Legal counsel
  • Financial counsel
  • Budgeting, and more!

Guide Your HOA Board Members on the Right Path With Goodwin & Company

If your new board members need a little extra direction with leading your community, the team at Goodwin & Company can help.

Contact us today to learn more about our success with communities like yours and schedule an initial meeting with a member of our team.

7 Steps to Starting an HOA in a Community

Some community members in a neighborhood may find it’s time to improve community property values and create a homeowners association (HOA) for the greater good of the community.

Obviously, a neighborhood can’t just say “We are now an HOA! Please pay your dues.” There’s a process involved that could take months or even years for a neighborhood to become one.

While we know there are several details between the lines, here’s a closer look at the major steps necessary for starting a new HOA.

Why Should You Start an HOA in Your Community?

If you live in a community that is already beautiful or has absolute potential, it’s always a great idea to start an HOA. Some of the biggest reasons to start an HOA in your neighborhood could be:

  • HOA dues help easily maintain home curb appeal
  • Property values increase
  • Your neighborhood becomes more tempting for the right buyers
  • An association actually creates a community where decisions are made to improve the neighborhood for generations to come
  • HOAs help maintain shared amenities like community pools and recreation centers

Steps to Starting an HOA

So, you and some neighbors have decided to start an HOA. Here are some of the first big steps you’ll need to take to turn your dream into a reality.

1.   Ask About Interest

Just because you want to start an HOA, doesn’t mean the majority of your neighbors are ready for such a big change.

Take some time to test the waters. Create a signature sheet and find out who really wants to become an HOA. Take the time during these conversations to show them the benefits of an HOA and ask them what they’d expect from an HOA if there was one in place.

This approach gets everyone involved and takes any unintentional peer pressure out of the equation.

2.   Figure Out Your Community Needs

The whole point of creating an HOA is to improve the overall community. This means finding out what needs to be fixed and prioritizing.

So, take the questions about HOA expectations a step further and create a social media group or pose a question on a site like Nextdoor that gives your neighbors a chance to express the needs they think the community has.

This will put community needs in full focus and give your team a jumping-off point when it comes to making initial proposals for the HOA.

3.   Start Researching Local Laws and Procedures

If you’re serious about creating an HOA, it’s necessary to know the local laws and procedures involved. It’s important to know what an HOA can and cannot do within a community.

From general research into nearby CC&Rs to hiring an attorney to help answer questions and serve as your legal representative, this is one of the most important steps to take when starting a new HOA. After all, your time as a board member or leader of your HOA is a volunteer service; you don’t want to spend it fighting avoidable legal battles.

4.   Search for HOA Management

Hiring an HOA management company to help your board is one of the most beneficial steps you can take when starting an HOA.

Management companies have seen all the ups and downs your association project may experience. Even though you and your neighbors are passionate about creating an HOA, you’ll still need the experience an association management company has to create the framework of a great association.

We have the expertise on our teams to help potential associations:

  • Plan their initial budget
  • Examine vendor possibilities
  • Find insurance that the association will need
  • Plan the structure of their association
  • Determine the dues and fees necessary for successful operations

5.   Create Your CC&Rs

Your community’s by-laws and CC&Rs are the literal blueprints that detail how your community is to be run over the years.

Work with your management team and general startup committee to determine fair, effective rules that HOA members will need to abide by.

Keep in mind that your CC&Rs must be detailed and cover every possible curveball that could be thrown at a Board in the future. The CC&Rs will be the end-all resource for all community issues because it is the official determination of how the community should successfully be run.

6.   Create an LLC

Once all the details have been ironed out, now’s the time to turn your idea into a full-blown business. Your management team can help guide you through the process of creating an LLC, paying essential fees, and most importantly, coming up with an original name for your HOA.

7.   Elect Your Board

Finally, it’s time to elect your Board of Directors! Remember, this initial board is especially important because it sets the tone for your association and election process right out of the gate.

Ensure that your election processes follow all guidelines laid out in the CC&Rs, and lay out a smooth election experience that is fair and balanced.

So, when accepting nominations for board members, make sure to look for the following qualifications:

  • Strong skills in different areas pertaining to the association (i.e. finance, technology, business)
  • Reliability
  • Well-spoken
  • Team players
  • Passionate about improving the community

Start Your HOA Off On the Right Foot With Goodwin & Company

At Goodwin & Company, helping new HOA communities grow is our bread and butter. For decades, we have assisted board members with behind-the-scenes decisions and helped keep community projects running smoothly for the betterment of an association.

We know how important your community is to you, and that’s why we put your association’s needs first. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help turn your budding idea into a blooming HOA.