HOA fees can be a point of great contention in many communities. It can be difficult to achieve a proper balance that both homeowners and HOA boards agree upon. While it’s difficult to please everyone, being transparent about costs and taking steps to reduce large increases can support more reasonable rates. In a new statement to the press, Kuester Management Group reveals strategies HOA boards can use to manage fees.
“A common complaint in HOAs is the fees,” says Bryan Kuester, President of Kuester Management Group. “It is important for homeowners to remember that these costs go toward the management and upkeep of the community and the amenities they enjoy. Small annual increases can help protect against more significant increases and build reserves to pay for larger expenses instead of requiring a special assessment.”
When HOAs strain to avoid changing fees for several years, the difference between income and expenses can grow resulting in a larger and more impactful fee hike later on, notes Kuester. However, regular evaluation of finances can help the HOA to remain on budget and use funds more effectively. If finances start becoming tighter, it’s time to reassess how funds are being allocated.
Renegotiating service contracts can be one way to manage costs. Consider using a different vendor that can provide the same quality service or talk to current providers about negotiating fees. Look for areas to cut back. For instance, does the lawn need to be mowed twice a week during the fall and winter? Or will once a week or every other week suffice depending on rainfall and growth?
“Think strategically about how money is being spent and what is truly necessary,” says Kuester. “A careful review can reveal areas where unnecessary or excess spending is occurring. It’s also important to get homeowner feedback. Be transparent about the budget and how fees are assessed and used. Ask for input when it comes to future projects, upgrades, and repairs.”
Communication with homeowners is essential. The more informed they are about where their money is going and how it is being used, the more agreeable they may be to fee adjustments. If the reserve is not adequately funded, homeowners may opt to pay a little more each year to reduce risk of a costly special assessment. Or, they may have insight on other options to help keep costs in check.
Kuester Management Group can support HOAs in better financial management, allocation of resources, vendor agreements, communication with homeowners, and much more. Running a successful HOA takes teamwork and requires board members, homeowners, and property managers to be on the same page.
Kuester Management Group, a division of Kuester Companies, works to protect property values and enhance the quality of life in each of its managed communities. Providing a full range of association management services, Kuester Management Group has worked to foster strong, resilient, and unified communities across North and South Carolina. The company is proud to offer on-site property managers, all zealous for building strong communities meant to stand the test of time. More information is available at www.kuester.com or @KuesterCompany.