Category Archives: Management Services

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.

What are the Top 6 Benefits of Living in an HOA

When many people think about living in an HOA, concerns about restrictive covenants and regular dues come to mind. While these features of an association can seem daunting to outsiders, the truth is that they bring a lot of benefits to owners that do invest in HOA-managed properties.

Here’s a look at the top 6 benefits that owners gain when they choose to live within a planned community.

1.  You Earn a True Sense of Community

Simply put, an association makes meeting people and making friends a lot easier. From community meetings to social media pages and regular events, there is always something to look forward to when you’re living in an HOA.

The potential for social interaction increases the sense of community and allows people to form strong relationships that uplift the overall culture of the association.

2.  Your Property Value Remains High

Yes, your HOA is going to have a strict policy about what you can and cannot do to the exterior of your home. Keep in mind, however, that these policies aren’t in place to punish owners.

Your association was created with a specific look in mind, and uniformity is essential for keeping up overall property values in the area. While you may be able to ensure that your home always looks tidy, you can’t guarantee that your neighbors will do the same.

An HOA helps ensure that your neighborhood stays beautiful and that your investment as a homeowner is one that will eventually pay off if you decide to move.

3.  Sometimes, Utilities Are Inclusive

One of the biggest benefits of living in an HOA is the perks that you wouldn’t get from a regular suburb. While many HOAs come with amenities like swimming pools and community centers (more on that later), some communities even take amenities a step further.

You’ll have to ask your association before signing on, but some communities even include utilities like water, gas, and trash collection in your regular dues. While you’re still paying for these services, this benefit definitely helps alleviate some of the stress that comes with keeping track of the bills.

4.  Regulations Mitigate the “Bad Neighbor” Problem

As much as we hate to admit it, we’ve all had that neighbor that just irks us. From overgrown and unkempt lawns to mountains of cars pouring out of their driveways, a “bad neighbor” can really put a damper on how much you love your home.

Fortunately, with regulations involved in an HOA, you’ll have fewer surface issues to worry about with your neighbors and can truly focus on bettering your own property.

5.  Beautiful Amenities

It’s been said that amenities can make an HOA worth living in; and the team at Goodwin & Company is supportive of that statement. HOAs amenities like community centers, swimming pools, and parks, all serve as great places to spend quality time with your friends and family.

Access via an HOA usually provides a safer and more convenient option for families who would otherwise have to leave their neighborhood to experience these amenities.

6.  Goodwinlent Property Management

While this perk doesn’t apply to all associations, HOAs with an excellent association management team will usually have property management services built into their annual or monthly fees.

This means that in some associations, an HOA will hire professional vendors to keep up with all exterior beautification of the neighborhood, including the owner’s front yards. So, when you shop around to live in an association, it’s always a great idea to find out if your dues will buy you some extra time to relax and worry less about the state of your landscaping.

Ensure Your HOA Gains These Benefits with Goodwin & Company

If you know that your HOA could use some help with management, it’s time to look into professional aid from an association management team.

At Goodwin & Company, we help make the “HOA magic” happen for all of the communities we serve. Our services include due collection assistance, online portal management, vendor management, and any other association responsibilities that arise.

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

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.

How to Prepare For An HOA Disciplinary Hearing

An HOA violation is something no homeowner wants to receive in the mail. However, violations happen and one of the most common approaches to resolution is a disciplinary hearing.

While this may seem like an unnecessary scolding to an association homeowner or tenant, following the community’s regulations is paramount. Common ground must be found, and disciplinary hearings serve as an official setting where the board and tenants can communicate and come to terms with the correction of a violation.

Entering into a disciplinary hearing can seem intimidating, but as association managers, we’re here to say that with preparation, a hearing can be a smooth and fruitful experience. Here’s a look at how you can best prepare for an HOA disciplinary meeting.

Review Your HOA CC&Rs

Once your board has informed you of your disciplinary hearing, you should have all of the details about your meeting. This includes what you did to violate a community provision and where the rule can be found in your association’s CC&Rs.

Take the time to read your local documents, find out what actions you did to violate them, and how you can potentially resolve the issue prior to your disciplinary hearing.

Inform Your Board of Your Attendance Plans

In the spirit of being a good neighbor, take action quickly and let your board know whether or not you will be able to attend the meeting. Being present at your meeting allows you to discuss the issue with your fellow neighbors and potentially avoid further fines and board action.

Keep in mind that failure to attend your hearing doesn’t always grant a meeting extension. The board can follow through with making a final decision with or without your presence.

Some of the following reasons that allow for a meeting reschedule can include the following:

  • Travel plans
  • Illness
  • Work schedule interference

Arrive Prepared

It’s never beneficial to show up to a hearing unprepared. You should have a fair amount of time to get an argument and all relevant documentation ready for your meeting with the board.

Some steps towards effective preparation for a violation hearing include before and after photos if you’ve already fixed the violation and a clear understanding of the board’s meeting policies regarding your meeting’s time limit. This can help you craft definitive points that address the violation.

Details surrounding hearing policies can be gathered from your HOA management team.

Don’t Take the Hearing Personally

While it may seem like the board has singled you out and wants you to be unhappy, the truth is, their decision isn’t anything personal. Your board must ensure that the neighborhood follows its CC&Rs. When something is out of uniform or goes against the HOA rules, it’s their responsibility to take action.

In the spirit of respecting their responsibilities, we suggest following these two golden rules:

  1. Walk into your appointment calm, ready to discuss your situation
  2. Avoid alienating your fellow neighbors with a bad attitude that completely tarnishes your argument’s credibility

Goodwin & Company Helps Keep All Parties Prepared for Disciplinary Hearings

If your community board needs an association management team on its side to help set disciplinary hearings and violation notices into motion, Goodwin & Company is ready to meet you. Contact us today to learn more about our services and to meet with a member of our team!

We are a Dallas-based community management team that is dedicated to helping the communities we serve to keep all owners happy and comfortable within the neighborhood they call home.

Tips for Hiring the Perfect Landscaping Vendor This Spring

Texans can feel the sun of spring just around the corner. Now is the time for HOAs to start planning out landscaping and maintenance vendors for the seasons where curb appeal truly counts.

If you are a board member who wants to get your association’s landscaping in top shape but don’t have a contracted vendor, here are some tips for hiring the perfect landscaping team for your association this spring.

Figure Out What Your Community Needs

Before you even start soliciting bids or even looking at new landscapers, examine your current landscaping and decide on what you want to change going forward. The best way to do this is by asking yourself and your HOA management team the following questions.

  • What is your total landscaping budget?
  • What is it that you would like to see improved?
  • Do you need a total restoration or just someone who can provide upkeep to the landscaping that is currently in place?

Take note of the specific landscaping services you need and create a short-list of five or six specifications and don’t consider a company that can’t provide each one.

For example, if your association needed tree planting, lawn mowing, fertilization, and flower bed creation/maintenance, don’t look beyond these needs for a landscaper that can make your association the best it can be.

Ask Your Management Team for Recommendations

Before you take the time to scour the industry for the perfect landscaper, check with your association management team. Part of a management team’s responsibility is to cultivate healthy relationships with quality vendors.

You may not even have to search at all because your HOA management company has already done the footwork for the right candidate ahead of time.

Send Proposal Requests to Your Shortlist

Generally speaking, it is recommended to solicit bids from at least 3 different vendors. Some documents even require at least 3 vendors for contract bids.  Reach out to the selected vendors and send them a proposal request that outlines everything the job would require of a qualified vendor.

Do Your Due Diligence

Before you select a landscaping company for your HOA community, make sure you’ve reviewed all of the due diligence essentials:

  • Do your candidates have enough experience in the industry?
  • Do they use subcontractors or a hand-picked team?
  • What is their insurance coverage?
  • What are their certifications?
  • Are they licensed?
  • Do they have references?

A reputable vendor will be able to answer all of these questions for you as well as provide documented proof that they are legally and safely able to carry out their responsibilities as your landscaping team.

Always Review Your Contract

Before signing your contract, review it with your management and legal team. This ensures that there are no hidden fees or strange stipulations that could tarnish your negotiations in the long-term.

Select Vendors That Meet Your Needs with Goodwin & Company

Selecting the right vendor for any association need can be a frustrating experience without the help of a qualified management team on your side.

Goodwin & Company is a team of Dallas professionals that can use our vendor relationships to help your association thrive. We are ready to help you succeed behind the scenes while your board actively leads its community. Contact us today to schedule a meeting with a member of our team or to learn more about our management services.

How to Craft an Effective HOA Violations Letter

Goodwin & Company knows that one of the essential elements of being on the board of directors for your HOA is dealing with homeowner violations. Issues that involve the breaking of association rules and regulations are delicate and require a well-worded violation letter to ensure that steps towards proper resolution are taken.

Let’s find out why violation letters are such an important part of your responsibilities and how you and your management team can craft a violation letter that leads to successful change.

Why Do Violations Letters Matter?

The rules of your association are concrete and in place to ensure that your community remains uniform and appealing to future owners. When a current member violates one of the association bylaws, it’s paramount that your board takes action as soon as possible.

Violation letters serve as a polite way of communicating a need for change while still having concrete proof in the physical documentation. In an HOA, when conflict arises, documentation is everything. So, here are some tips for ensuring that your next violation letter is something that pushes towards positive, effective change.

There is a Clear Purpose to the Letter

Make sure that your violation letter is clear about what it is that the owner has done wrong. The easiest way to add clarity to your letter is to provide the specific part of your community covenants that relate to the violation in question.

This approach makes your letter official and more than a standard complaint that can come off as something the owner may view as an optional resolution.

Provide Evidence

If you can, provide supporting evidence that shows the issue at hand. This will further clarify your reasoning behind the violation notice and allow the owner to have zero doubt about where the issue was found on their property.

Request for Changes or Resolution

Make sure that your letter is clear about what the owner needs to do in order to bring their account back into good standing. Be specific and provide them with reasonable solutions that will successfully and quickly resolve the violation.

Give Owners a Timeline to Change

Without an official deadline to make changes, you can’t expect homeowners to act quickly. Your goal should be to resolve violations as quickly as possible. So, as you think of a deadline, consider the type of violation involved and the type of work that will need to be completed to resolve the issue.

Timelines can range from a couple of days to a month or longer. The deadline you come up with all depends on the specific situation your violation letter hones in on.

Provide Details of Potential Disciplinary Hearings

Remember, your homeowners have the right to contest a violation letter. Always give them this option and provide them with the information they will need to schedule a disciplinary hearing where their side of the violation can be heard.

You’ve Crafted the Perfect Letter. Now What?

Before sending out your letter, check your community’s governing documents regarding how to properly deliver the letter. Your community may require a standard mail delivery or an in-person delivery. Whatever the case is, follow the rules on your behalf just in case the owner checks in on how you followed procedure.

Once the letter is delivered, check in on the changes the owner has made with regard to the violation. If the deadline for change has passed with no action, it’s time to craft a follow-up warning. This letter should cover similar ground but contain a firmer tone. Again, grant them a period of time to make changes.

If a third letter is required, you will need to get your HOA management team and the association’s legal counsel involved to determine your next steps in resolving the problem.

Stay On Top of HOA Violation Letters with the Help of Goodwin & Company

Violation letters are necessary for keeping your association uniform and property values on the rise. If you are a board member or manager of a Dallas HOA, you need a HOA management team on your side that can help organize your violation letters, catch up with owners and move forward with legal proceedings when necessary.

Goodwin & Company is prepared to be your association’s behind the scenes partner. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

How to Resolve Common Parking Issues in Your HOA

Your homeowner’s association should be a place where owners can comfortably park their cars and have ample parking opportunities for their guests when company arises. However, without proper HOA managed rules and regulations in place, parking can easily become a hassle within an HOA community.

In order to prevent common parking issues like crowded streets and overflowing driveways, here are some regulations that association board members can implement if they aren’t already in place.

Regulate Where Owners can Park Cars

Most HOAs or condominium complexes have specific rules about where owners can park their cars. Most of the time, owners in an association use their driveways as designated parking spots, where condo owners usually have specific spots in their community’s parking lot.

When it comes to cars in the driveway, HOAs do have the ability to restrict the type of car that is parked in the driveway. Uniformity is essential, and if a car is in poor or inoperable condition, the board has every right to ask homeowners to park that vehicle inside of their garage.

HOAs that are gated communities have control over the streets within their communities. Therefore, there can be rules against how many cars can be parked on areas like curbsides. However, if your association includes public roads, your board doesn’t have jurisdiction over vehicles parked along that road and you should contact local authorities if there are any parking issues between owners, their guests, and the board.

Regulate Parking Duration

One of the most common questions homeowners may have is how long they can park their cars in designated parking before action is taken against their vehicles. When it comes to driveways, the answer is typically unlimited since the driveway is part of their property.

However, your HOA board can regulate how long owners can park along private roads near their property or in common parking spaces for the community. In some associations, homeowners can park in areas off of their property for up to 24-hours before association action is taken. Other associations have posted designated parking hours that leave a small window for parking use.

Some association owners may view parking duration regulations as an infringement of their independence in the community. However, this particular restriction is essential to keeping up the property value of the community by preventing owners from leaving abandoned cars within parking spaces throughout the neighborhood.

Prohibit Different Vehicle Types

Most associations have rules in place that prohibit certain vehicle types from being parked on an owner’s property. The main purpose of this rule is to prevent large, clunky vehicles from becoming an eyesore within the community.

Some of the most common prohibited vehicles include the following:

  • Boats
  • RVs
  • Commercial Vehicles
  • Trailers

Even if the vehicles are in pristine condition, it is still in the interest of your board to maintain the uniformity and the appeal of a community in order to continually increase property value throughout the association.

Why Do Parking Regulations Matter?

Aside from the curb appeal necessary to an association, there are several reasons why your board should consider implementing parking regulations throughout the community. Regulations and consequences that come with violations like fees and towing help prevent issues that include:

  • Illegal/inadequate handicap parking
  • Poor parking opportunities for guests
  • Residents parking in unauthorized areas
  • Inadequate resident parking

Create Helpful Parking Regulation with the Help of Goodwin & Company

If you and your homeowner’s association board are working on improving numerous regulations for your association in the new year, work with an association management team that can help push your decisions in the right direction.

Goodwin & Company is an experienced Dallas HOA and condo management team that can help your board get through the essentials of association management. From dues collection to regulatory compliance, we’re always ready to be your team behind the scenes that push your neighborhood forward.

Contact us today to learn more about our services.

Essential Aspects of Your Year-Round Maintenance Checklist

Your association should always look its best and function properly for the comfort of your homeowners. While some associations may try to catch repairs and maintenance necessities as they come, this isn’t always the most efficient plan for a community.

The team at Goodwin & Company always believes that an HOA should have a plan, and that includes performing periodic maintenance before problems start to pop up.

What is the Importance of Having a Maintenance Checklist?

A maintenance checklist is important because it helps preserve the integrity of your neighborhood. As long as properties within your association remain maintained from the inside out, property value will continue to rise.

Therefore, relying on a maintenance management system that works for you the entire year leaves no stone unturned and mitigates the possibility of larger maintenance problems arising in your community.

Exterior Checks

Take some time throughout the year to check all of the exteriors of your properties. From shared community buildings to the exterior of your homeowner’s homes, this check can help resolve several face value issues that can easily drag down property value if ignored.

Some of the most important exterior checks include:

  • Foundation repairs
  • Wall repairs
  • Repainting needs
  • Damaged exterior vents
  • The examination of utility boxes, gas, and water lines

Make sure to have a reliable vendor lined up every spring to inspect and repair the roofs and gutters of the properties within your community. This is especially important because a harsh Texas winter can do substantial damage to a rooftop.

Common Community Areas

Another important issue to look into during exterior checks are common areas like fences and homeowner yards. Your association management team will regularly perform inspections to ensure that homeowners maintain their yards up to a uniform standard. Should we find any irregularities, leave it up to us to communicate these rule violations with your neighbors and help guide them towards having their yard once again, become community compliant.

We will also add your parking lots and streets to our maintenance checklist if they are the responsibility of the association. A poorly maintained parking lot can be unsightly, so you can trust our team to hire reliable porter services that prevent unnecessary cracks, grime, and trash build-up.

Interior Maintenance Essentials

Your association management will make sure to ask homeowners to inspect the interiors of their homes for any maintenance issues. We will, in turn, handle the inspection of common building interiors and hire qualified vendors to handle any necessary repairs.

Some interior maintenance areas we ask homeowners to examine include:

  • Damaged flooring
  • Attic vents
  • Attic screens
  • Leaks throughout the home

All of these interior issues can become serious problems if left unattended. A seasonal maintenance checklist allows your neighbors to exercise preventative measures that minimize the impact of any issues discovered during their inspection process.


Although it’s recommended that homeowners keep up with their own utility maintenance, your management should take the required steps to ensure that the utilities of your community’s shared areas are well-kept.

Trust your association management to inspect and take necessary action on the following items:

  • Common area HVAC units
  • Furnaces
  • Hot water heaters
  • Water and irrigation lines
  • Gas lines
  • Electric lines

When it comes to your homeowners inspecting their own property’s utilities, third-party vendors can help homeowners determine an accurate assessment of any repairs or maintenance steps your association should take.

Keep Your Maintenance Checklist Covered With Goodwin & Company

If you are a board member of an HOA, and know that your community needs a little extra assistance with a maintenance plan, Goodwin & Company can help. We specialize in helping with the backend details of association management and can help you find the right vendors to handle all of your association’s maintenance needs and beyond. Contact us today to learn more about our HOA management services and how we can help create the most efficient and effective maintenance checklist for your community.