For most people, choosing to live in a master-planned community that has an HOA, condo, or townhome association is a positive decision. The goal is to create an enjoyable environment where everyone contributes to keeping quality of life (and property values) high. Of course, community association management comes at a cost. And it’s easy to overlook all the ways your property owners’ association can add value if you only focus on the dues you are paying.
Why not figure out ways to make the most of the money you’re spending? Here are some ways to get more value from your HOA, Condo, or Townhome Association.
1. Attend Meetings Regularly
When you attend association meetings regularly, you will learn a lot about opportunities to be more involved in your community and brainstorm ways to make it better. If you think HOA or condo board meetings are boring, find a way to spice things up. You might suggest having a potluck or a game night after the meeting. This will give people a fun reason to show up and participate. There’s no rule that says meetings have to be all serious business (as long as the agenda gets addressed). Adding a social aspect to these gatherings puts the focus back on the fact that the community association’s job is to help people live together as better neighbors.
2. Read, Understand, and Follow the Guidelines
Another way to get more value from your HOA is to maximize your enjoyment of the community by making sure you understand the governing documents (CC&R). When you understand the rules and your own responsibilities, you can avoid getting unpleasant notices or fines. But even more important, you can understand your rights as a property owner. This could end up saving you a lot of money. For example, if there is a “limited common element” such as the balcony on your unit that needs repair, it might be the condo association’s responsibility to pay for that cost.
3. Support and Host Community Events
Whether it’s an old-fashioned block party, movie night, holiday event, or fundraiser, there’s always a good reason to get people together. If your association has a recreational center, gazebo, or conference space, find out what the rules are for using these spaces. Host events centered around education, entertainment, and charitable work or launch clubs and groups around shared interests. These activities can all add connection and engagement to your community. Ask the board to help you get the word out about these events in the community newsletter, bulletin boards, and email notices.
4. Volunteer for Committees or Run for the Board
The more you give, the more you get. If you’d like to see done differently, get involved and help make those changes happen. HOA and condo association boards are always looking for more volunteers and new people to step in and lend a hand. Being part of a committee to address a specific issue (such as adding a new amenity) is a great way to get used to being part of the administration of your association without a huge time commitment. Or, you can run for the board if you’re ready for more responsibility. As long as your personal agenda aligns with what’s good for the community as a whole, your passion for getting things done will serve everyone well.
5. Get to Know Your Neighbors
Try this experiment: Go out of your way to meet one new person a week in your community. Soon enough, you’ll know everyone by name and your neighborhood will be a lot more interesting. Good neighbors are one of the greatest assets in your community. They can provide information about awesome local businesses, ways to keep your property more secure, or the best people to hire for babysitting or handyman services. Plus, they can be there to lend a hand if you need it. Simply spending more time out walking in your neighborhood is a great way to meet neighbors. Plus, you can exchange fresh ideas for ways to improve and maintain the community.
6. Take Advantage of Amenities
If your community has amenities, you are already paying for them—you might as well use them. Maybe you’re not into exercising alone. Perhaps the rules allow you to bring a guest or two with you to the community clubhouse or tennis court. If a nearby friend is willing to be a workout buddy, they could save a gym membership fee by exercising with you on-site. Or, maybe you haven’t made use of the community business center. This could be a great place to have your kids do homework when the house is too noisy. As long as you are treating all shared areas with respect and following the rules, you should definitely make the most of them.
Want to get more ideas on ways to get more value from your HOA, connect with us online or call 1-844-9-ARDENT.