Does your homeowners association require professional management in Asheville? From a purely, top view technical stance the answer is no. Once you focus the lens a bit more there are many challenges that aren’t apparent on the surface. Few homeowners even realize what the powers and responsibilities of an association Board of Directors are. A dream home can become a liability very quickly when an association doesn’t know how to be an association. Professional management can help, in many cases, with the following snags:
Consistency – A problem I have seen repeatedly is maintaining standards in policy and enforcement of covenants. As much as we would like to think that Boards are unbiased and fair, they aren’t. Human nature has a way of inserting itself into the decision making policy. The reality is that many times neighbors are close friends or even family. The relationship and fear of being a neighborhood pariah often cause stricter policy enforcement fall by the way side. The downside of this is that some folks get treated differently and the association loses its legitimacy in the minds of it’s members.
Transparency – In most cases an association Board’s intentions are good. However communication is not a strong suite for many people. When it comes to spending your neighbors hard earned money it’s incredibly important to make your motives clear and document your actions. Boards sometimes assume that what they’re doing is for the common good and that a decision is a “no-brainer”, well that can get you in trouble. A family’s home and how they can enjoy it is a very personal thing. Not knowing what’s happening in the background can create mistrust and paranoia in a community. Normally agreeable folks can view actions of the Board very differently when they feel they aren’t in control of their investment. When a Board fails to make communication a priority it’s neighbors can become distrustful ultimately demoralizing the community.
Community – It truly does take a village. The term community gets thrown around a lot but what does it truly mean? A grouping of homes that all pay assessment doesn’t necessarily create a community. While your neighborhood may have very loose policy’s and few restrictive covenants, no one is living on their own island. The people, pets and property within an HOA have an impact on it’s members regardless of whether or not we choose to acknowledge it. A community can choose to engage it’s members with events and open communication or it can wait for a problems. Good communities pull their members together. It’s always better to work on challenges with neighbors than strangers.The same holds true for projects to increase home values and neighborhood enjoyment. Every HOA is a diverse mix of folks with varied skills and experiences. When properly tapped a community can be it’s own best asset.
Enforcement – One of the toughest challenges for an HOA is enforcement of covenants. It’s never fun to send your neighbor a violation with a fine attached. It’s often easier to turn a blind eye or hope that problem goes away but in the end small issues have a tendency to snowball. The other issue is with the legality of how violations are handled. Swift and fair action to enforce covenants doesn’t always gain you fans but it can help keep an Association out of hot water. Having a property manager to follow up, deal with violations and deliver the bad news many times gives Board members enough separation to remain objective.
Finances – A smart Board is one who has their finances handled by professionals. Your treasurer may in fact be a CPA but to homeowners they re still just another neighbor and a target when an Associations financial decisions aren’t in alignment with their opinions as to how monies should be utilized. Having a third party with experience in dealing with vendors and expenses can help in adverting concern of impropriety. Many times the relationship a manager has with a pool of vendors can also drive down prices through competition that Associations may not be able to garner on their own. Another thing to consider is that proper financial tracking, accounts payable handling and financial reporting can be tedious especially for volunteers.