Category Archives: HOA Management

Common HOA Dog Ownership Rules to Keep in Mind

One of the most popular gifts given during the holiday season is the gift of “man’s best friend.” While we all love our furry family members, it’s important to remember that all associations have established rules in place regarding dog ownership.

Before you purchase a pooch this holiday season, make sure you ask your association management and Board members what your community’s rules are regarding dogs.

In the meantime, keep these points in mind as you apply for seasonal puppy adoption.

Restrictions on Numbers, Weight, and Breeds

Every association has its rules about the specifics of dog ownership. Some of the most common restrictions you’ll see in most communities are:

  • Breed restrictions
  • Maximum size limits
  • A limit on the number of dogs per property

So, before you rush out to bring home an adorable new puppy, first, take a look around your home and meet with your association management to ensure that your decision isn’t one that ends in heartache.

Pets Must Be Registered

Pet registration is important in an HOA because it allows management to keep track of pets and alert owners if their pet has violated any regulations or caused damage to HOA property.

Before purchasing a pet, submit pet registration forms to your management company and create a generally safer environment for you and your pet.

Keep Up With Vaccinations

If you are planning on owning dogs, your HOA may require you to present proof of a rabies vaccine. Always keep your pet’s vaccinations records on hand so that you can continually update your pet’s association records over the years and keep up a positive relationship between management and your fur baby.

Homeowners Must Pick Up Their Pet’s Waste

Keeping the community clean is one of the biggest priorities of HOA management. So, if you are going to bring home a new dog this holiday season, be prepared to do your part and clean up your pet’s waste on your property and around the community.

Failure to do so can result in unpleasant neighbors and even more unpleasant fines as a result of your CC&R violations.

Keep Restraint in Mind

Leashes are typically mandatory when a person takes their dog out into the neighborhood on a walk. However, some communities have designated off-leash areas, so it’s always a great idea to look into how your management approaches leash restrictions before making an assumption.

Remember, Owners Are Liable for Their Pet’s Actions

Never forget that even a loving animal can cause destruction or injuries. Most associations will have an owner liability clause in place that holds homeowners accountable for the actions of their pets. So, be prepared to accept full responsibility if your pet accidentally (or purposefully) damages community property or harms another animal/community member.

Create Pet Restrictions That Keep Your Association Comfortable With Goodwin & Company

If you are a board member of a newer association, it’s important to have all of your regulatory bases covered when it comes to the satisfaction of your community’s owners.

Working with an experienced HOA management company like Goodwin & Company can help your board create fair and balanced CC&Rs that keep the majority of your owners happy and your association headed in the right direction.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how your association can become a part of the Goodwin family!

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.

Assessing Maintenance Responsibilities in an HOA

Some owners may believe that their annual or monthly dues cover every aspect of maintenance, but the truth is, keeping an association in top shape falls in the hands of the Board and owners.

Every maintenance and repair situation is unique, but it’s important for everyone involved to have an idea of the responsibilities involved when maintenance or repair needs arise.

What Are the Different Areas in an HOA Community?

Before we delve into the specifics, let’s take a closer look at the actual areas that make up an HOA community.

Separate Interests

Separate interests include the parcel of land that a home sits on. In a condominium community, separate interests include the unit as well as the airspace that surrounds the walls, floors, and ceiling of a unit.

Common Areas

Common areas are the community buildings, parks, and swimming pools that every owner is eligible to use. Many people recognize these as common areas, but don’t realize that common areas can also be the rooftops of a condominium building and the landscaping that decorates the community.

Limited Common Areas

Limited common areas can be seen as a bit of a grey area that can easily cause confusion when repairs must be made. Limited common areas may seem like a part of a separate interest but could be used by one or multiple members of a community.

Limited common areas can include:

  • Wiring inside of a unit
  • Door frames
  • Patio areas
  • Screen doors
  • Fences dividing neighborhood yards
  • Single unit air conditioners

Who is Responsible for Maintaining Each Area?

Three areas with a substantial amount of blur between them can leave owners and board members confused. However, with the help of a property management team on your side, your community can always stay on track with the right approach to maintenance and repairs.

Keep in mind that the biggest details regarding responsibilities can be found in a community’s CC&Rs, which are accessible to all members of the community. Turning to the CC&Rs when a maintenance dispute arises is the best way to determine who is actually responsible for a specific repair or improvement (i.e. painting a damaged door, replacing window shutters).

General HOA Responsibilities

As a whole, common areas are the HOA’s responsibility when maintenance and repairs are needed. However, if an owner is someone that caused the damage, they may be responsible for helping to cover some of the costs associated with repairs.

An HOA is also responsible for properly insuring the property against natural disasters like fires, floods, and tornadoes.

General Owner Responsibilities

These responsibilities are pretty clean-cut. In general, individual owners are responsible for taking care of their own interests. So, if an owner experiences a plumbing clog, or needs to have their interior flooring replaced after their negligence or damage, those maintenance responsibilities usually fall on them.

What About That Middle Ground?

Limited common areas can be difficult to assign fault to when it comes to maintenance and repairs. In most cases, owners are responsible for general maintenance (i.e. chimney cleaning, maintaining shutters) and HOAs are responsible for handling actual replacements.

Once again, referring to your community’s CC&Rs is the best way to resolve limited common area maintenance issues.

Keep Association Maintenance Under Control, With Goodwin & Company

If your association is in constant battles with owners about maintenance and repair responsibilities, now is the time to partner up with a qualified association management company.

At Goodwin & Company, we have decades of experience under our belts helping HOAs and condominium associations improve communities and relationships between the Board and owners.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help your association. We’re ready to make your HOA a wonderful place to live!

Top HOA and Management Myths That Scare Off Owners

HOAs are popular entities that often garner unwanted attention from potential association owners. There are several unfortunate myths that house hunters tend to listen to that scare them away from the benefits of living in a properly managed association.

Don’t let misinformation drive off excellent future HOA members. Trust the team at Goodwin & Company to give your board the knowledge it needs to bring in quality and long-lasting members.

The Board is Just Power-Hungry

An HOA stays organized through the rules and regulations that drive its success. Unfortunately, this means that the association’s Board of Directors often has to make decisions that feel controlling for community members.

Following the rules is just part of being part of an HOA. Your Board isn’t a group of power-hungry villains eager to control every aspect of the owner’s lives. In fact, a board is purely a group of volunteers that have the best interests of the community in mind. These best interests include enforcing the rules of the Association that all owners agree to when purchasing a home in an HOA.

We’re Just Here to Make Money

Many people believe that HOAs and HOA management companies are just there to make money for the people at the top of the organization.

Yes, associations require monthly or annual payments from association members, but these funds don’t go into the pockets of board members.

Organizational leadership oversees maintaining the appeal and success of an association. So, let us help your community save money and prepare the budgets that prove your association funds go to projects that benefit the owners who pay for them.

HOAs Railroad All Home Improvements

HOAs give owners the opportunity to live in a clean, beautiful, and organized community. However, this often means that the exterior of a home must remain compliant with the association’s requirements (i.e. paint color, manicured landscaping, a certain number of cars in the driveway).

So, in a sense, this myth is partially correct when it comes to making alterations and renovations to the exterior of a home. However, going through the process of getting board approval often results in a positive outcome for those wanting to give their home a little extra curb appeal.

Keep in mind that all interior decor is a homeowner’s right and rarely falls under any regulations that hold owners back.

High HOA Fees Aren’t Worth the Investment

Sure, we understand that high HOA fees can be an eye-opener for some first-time homeowners. However, as we’ve said before, all HOA fees go towards community improvements and events that benefit homeowners.

We can help you convince new homeowners that higher HOA fees are an investment in their happiness and that when they go with a lower fee, they only get what they pay for (which may not be much).

Board Decisions Are Made in Secret

Yes, it’s true, one of the different types of board meetings are closed sessions that general homeowners aren’t privy to. Keep in mind that these sessions aren’t where the big community decisions are made, but where private legal matters and internal committee issues are discussed.

Any decisions that directly affect owners and community members are made in public board meetings that have minutes any community member has the power to review.

Dispel HOA Myths With the Help of Goodwin & Company

If you know that your HOA isn’t growing because of these and other myths, let Goodwin & Company help you deliver the truth to your community members.

We are an association management company that knows our industry from the inside out and can help you manage your association in the smartest way possible. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

4 Ways HOA Management Can Save Your Association Money

Association management is seen as a service that helps control the behind-the-scenes tasks of an HOA. While a management team does help with owner communications and gives the Board great advice for managing an up-and-coming association, we also take as many steps as possible to help your community save money where it can.

1.   We Help You Invest in Preventative Maintenance

Although preventative maintenance requires some money spent to preserve an investment, it actually saves your association tons of money in the long term.

Preventative maintenance like filling in potholes in the neighborhood or electrical and plumbing inspections of common areas helps preserve the integrity of your community, keeps members comfortable, and saves money by preventing future, larger repairs.

2.   We Eliminate Several Paper Costs

While it may not seem like much on the surface, the cost of printing flyers, postcards, and invoices throughout the year can quickly eat up a good chunk of your budget.

Many HOA management companies save associations thousands in office expenses through the use of online portals.

Online portals eliminate the need for pen and paper communication and offer instant, simple methods for association members to make dues payments, check up on violations, review community notices, and more!

3.   We Ensure an Association Always has the Best Vendor Contracts

When negotiated without the help of an experienced management team, vendor and insurance contracts can become an expense that associations end up stuck with until it’s time to renew.  Even then, they could fall into the same expensive mistake and lose even more money in the next year.

An association management team should come with several reliable vendor relationships and a plan of attack for vendor and insurance negotiations. We can help you review all bids and make sure that your final decisions are both within your annual budget and the best choice for your organization.

4.   Monthly or Quarterly Budget Reviews

While your association may already have annual budget creation down, there should still be monthly or quarterly budget reviews that ensure your budget is on track to meet your goals.

Fortunately, many association management teams have connections with experienced financial advisors that can help facilitate planned budget reviews for your community.

These reviews are important because hindsight is always 20/20. What you may think you needed at the beginning of the year, maybe something that could be trimmed from your budget right now.

Regular reviews not only keep you in the loop about the status of your budget but also prevent your association from running low on cash when it comes to paying vendors and handling emergency association incidents.

Put Your Association’s Budget to Better Use With Goodwin & Company

If your association is ready to save money without having to delve into the complexities of excess accounting, let the team at Goodwin & Company help!

We’ve helped associations of all sizes save money and put it towards the further improvement of their communities.

Contact us today to learn more about our management style and how we can help your association become the best it can be!

HOA Management Tips for Planning an Annual Budget

An annual HOA budget helps an association determine how much to charge owners for their annual dues and how much money is available to complete projects and cover emergency situations throughout the year.

Your association’s annual budget is likely something that adjusts from year to year. So, taking some time to plan out your community’s finances is essential.

While this task may seem daunting to the average board member; the help of your association management team and their financial connections can quickly bring together a workable budget.

Here are a few of our top tips for approaching annual budgets and ensuring that your association is in a position to succeed in its coming year.

Have the Right Team on the Job

When planning a budget, there has to be a specific group of people on the project. This task force will be solely dedicated to planning the community’s budget. This budgeting team that will lead your association to success should include:

  • Board members
  • The Board President
  • The Board Treasurer
  • Finance and budget committee leads 

Reserve Time for a Budget Session

Planning out your association’s budget isn’t something that your board can add to its next scheduled board meeting. This process is going to take time and should have 100 percent attention devoted to its completion.

Make sure that the task force in charge of organizing the budget reserves a specific time to discuss the budget and build it out for the good of the community.

Examine the Actual Expenses From the Last Year

It’s always important to look back on the previous year when looking ahead at the next. The actual expenses that your association accumulated paint an accurate picture of what you can expect for your next budget.

From vendor charges to insurance premiums, the receipts your board has saved over the last year can help you start to determine what it’s going to cost to keep your association fruitful.

Looking back on the last year and prior year’s dues delinquency trends can also help your team predict how much money needs to be set aside to ensure that the community’s needs are met while your management team actively pursues cash owed to the association.

Line Up the Next Year’s Major Projects

Every association has a lineup of projects and maintenance needs to complete throughout the year. Take a moment to prioritize the projects that must be finished by year’s end and plan out the estimated costs of each.

If a project requires the use of a vendor, reach out to them and send requests for proposals. You want to make sure that this aspect of your budget is precisely planned out so that your community can afford to keep up its property value with annual improvements and repairs.

Make Sure Your Budget Has Planned for the Unexpected

Whether this year brings in an influx of unexpected dues delinquencies or your community faces extensive repairs after a natural disaster, your budget must always have a cushion to protect your community from the unexpected.

Your HOA management’s financial team can help you review your past year’s spending and determine how much money your association can set aside for emergencies. In most cases, if your association has been managed wisely, the funds are there, the trick is merely knowing where to allocate them.

Budget Your Association for Success With Goodwin & Company

If you are an association board member that knows your community needs help building a budget, let the experts of Goodwin & Company show your community ways to save money

We are one of Dallas’ leading HOA management companies and have provided the highest quality of service to our clients since 1991. From budgeting to community outreach, we are ready to help you excel.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a member of the Goodwin Association Family.

How to Create a Preventative Maintenance Plan for Your HOA

Community maintenance is one of the biggest projects that an HOA board and its management team oversee. Although most HOAs are always prepared for a maintenance need to arise, some can be caught by surprise and experience unexpected expenses.


At Goodwin & Company, we approach every community we serve with a prepared preventative maintenance plan that works within their projected budget. Here’s a closer look at some of our processes and how your board members can always be prepared for a community maintenance need.

Keep Track of All of the Little Problems

Once you know that your community needs a preventative maintenance plan, the first step to take is to survey the community and take inventory of all of the minor maintenance issues that exist in your neighborhood. 


Remember, small issues can quickly become large and expensive problems. So, take the initiative and handle all of the minor maintenance issues in order to prevent neighborhood emergencies in the future.

Always Have Your Maintenance Information On-Hand

As you begin to develop a preventative maintenance plan, it’s essential to have the right information available. In order to ensure that your decisions are on track and on budget, some of the necessary maintenance information you’ll need to acquire include the following:


  • The association maintenance policy
  • A detailed list of the expected maintenance costs for the year
  • A copy of your association’s annual budget
  • Information detailing how to keep community equipment warranties valid


While this may seem like a lot of information and documentation, it’s essential to keep your community prepared for any maintenance requirements. Also, your community management team can help you gather all of the information you’ll need to complete an effective preventative maintenance plan.

Always Make Sure Your HOA Board Has a Say in Maintenance Plans

Preventative maintenance plans should always be in place, no matter who is on the board or which management team a community works with. If you are creating your community’s first maintenance plan, it’s essential that your board plays a large role in the final decisions of the preventative plan. 

If your board is directly involved with the decision-making process, your community can always be prepared, even if management responsibilities shift to a new team.

Find the Right Maintenance Vendors

Exceptional vendors play an important role in your community’s preventative maintenance. With the right vendors on your side, problems can quickly be found and resolved without issue. 

Fortunately, your HOA management team can help you find the right vendor at a bid that fits your budget. Over our decades of service, the Goodwin management team has established relationships with the best vendors in the industry.

Trust us to help guarantee that your community receives the exceptional service it deserves.

Prevent Maintenance Issues Today, With Goodwin & Company

Maintenance can easily become an overwhelming responsibility without the help of an association management team. The managers of Goodwin & Company have established vendor relationships and years of experience with assisting communities like yours with their maintenance needs

We’re ready to help keep your community beautiful and help you attract quality owners and retain the wonderful neighbors you already have.

Contact us today to learn more about our services.

5 Ways HOA Management Improves Community Property Value

HOA property management teams bring a lot to the table as far as assistance goes with general community services and guiding a Board in making sound decisions.

While HOA management services offer direct improvements to a community, there are several ways our efforts can help improve property value in the long term.

Here’s a closer look at how Goodwin & Company can improve your association from the inside out.

Quality Vendor Services

An association is only as good as the vendors that maintain its grounds and complete important projects. Your vendors make your property look beautiful and provide improvements that should lead to the increased property value as time goes on.

With a qualified association management team on your side, you have access to the best vendors in your area. Over the years, Goodwin & Company has formed lasting relationships with vendors that continuously produce quality work that impacts the long-term effects of our efforts for an HOA community.

We Make Your Neighborhood a Desirable Destination

When you combine quality vendor management with the leadership education and assistance that comes with a management team, you have a community that is excited about living within an association that cares about its owners.

A desirable neighborhood not only improves tenant retention with owners that already keep up their properties and follow the rules, but it also opens the doors for even more potential owners to join the fold.

All of these community members along with the combined efforts of your management team and Board will help to increase the value of your association’s property.

Rules and Regulations Enforcement

Sure, HOA rules and regulations can seem like a hampering shadow over an owner’s freedom. But the truth is that regulations are in place to prevent major incidents and to increase the property value of an association.

Your HOA management team works hard to ensure that owners comply with your community’s CC&Rs. From the length of a home’s lawn to the uniformity of its exterior paint, and even where owners can park their cars, our stringent rules and enforcement practices all help create a harmonious community that doesn’t lose its value with a few bad apples.

Timely Dues Collections

Dues collections as well as collecting on delinquent accounts directly influence the property value of your association. Without ample funds in the budget, much of which come from dues, your community will have a hard time getting itself off of the ground.

Let the experts of Goodwin & Company put our financial services and excellent communication skills to work for the betterment of your association. We help keep the dues you’re owed paid and ensure those who refuse to pay to go through the proper collections processes.

Emergency Services

Sometimes emergencies happen in your community that put your property value at risk. A reliable HOA management team will ensure a swift response and resolution that preserves the integrity of your association as much as possible.

Increase Your Property Value With Quality Services From Goodwin & Company

If you want to ensure your association retains and grows in value over time, make sure to work with a property management team that understands value growth.

Goodwin & Company is a firm that’s committed the last 30-years of our existence to perfect the properties that we help lead. Give your association the quality services it deserves.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how you can become a member of the Goodwin & Company family.