Homeowners associations hold a great deal of responsibility when it comes to managing communities. They must keep in mind the best interests of the development and its residents. They ensure that the property and amenities are kept in good condition and the community maintains its appeal and value. HOA assessments are a necessary part of operations, but often a sensitive subject among homeowners. Kuester Management Group has released a statement to the press regarding ways HOAs can better manage assessments and optimize finances.
“No one likes to see their assessments increase every few years, and part of being on the board is determining how to best calculate costs and keep fees reasonable,” says Bryan Kuester, President of Kuester Management Group. “There are several ways that HOAs can improve their planning and collection efforts to keep things running more smoothly.”
The first thing Kuester recommends is having concise policies in place for HOA assessments and collections. Homeowners should understand their responsibilities and the importance of paying on time. Maintaining transparency allows them to better see how their dues are being spent and how it benefits the community. There should also be clear policies regarding delinquency and the steps that will be taken to collect upon these dues. Everyone should be held to the same expectations.
Periodically reviewing expenses and contracts can help keep assessments more reasonable. Kuester encourages HOAs to do research and shop around. “Look at what competing vendors have to offer, or talk to current vendors about negotiating better rates,” he says. “You may be surprised at how much you can save while still retaining quality service.”
Planning ahead is essential as well. The HOA should keep in mind not only recurring expenses, but also improvement projects, seasonal maintenance, and unexpected repairs. “Analyze what current funds will cover and make sure there is some extra as well. If you do need to raise assessments, try to do so with the intention of being able to keep them relatively stable for the next few years,” explains Kuester. “Proper planning, forecasting, and budgeting are key.”
If homeowners are late on dues, make sure to follow up and stay on top of these accounts, asserts Kuester. Allowing delinquent assessments to build can have a negative impact on the HOA’s finances and create more challenges for collection. The HOA should work with its attorney to follow proper protocol for enforcing collection and making sure that its CCRs, bylaws, and rules are up-to-date and provide strategic options.
“No one wants to be the ‘bad guy’ and have to take legal action when it comes to assessments, but sometimes it is necessary to protect the HOA and community,” says Kuester. “Effectively managing financial operations and keeping homeowners engaged in decision making and informed of any changes can help reduce issues.”
For more information about how Kuester Management Group can support these tasks and more, visit www.kuester.com
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