Why Living in an HOA Can Be Frustrating
An upset homeowner often falls into one of two categories:
- They purchased a property in an HOA and have no idea how an association works.
- They don’t agree with the board’s decisions, and in general feel out of control.
Common HOA-Related Frustrations
If you purchased a property in an HOA, you may have heard a story that starts off like this:
"I love this property. I love the price. I love the neighborhood—everything about it. I’ve been looking forever for a property like this. What? It’s an HOA? I guess that’s okay? Let me get this straight. I just pay this small fee every month? That sounds pretty good. I’ll do that."
Their expectation is: I moved into this community so I could get all these things taken care of for me. What the heck happened? Why am I not having my needs met?
HOA Board Members Make Decisions for the Entire Community
What this person may not realize is that the board of directors has to make executive decisions based on the needs of the whole community. The board has to receive all these complaints and then, to the best of their ability, look at every single person’s needs and try to address them. Sure, ideally a board wouldn’t wait to have things done. However, the board approved a budget, and that budget only has a certain amount of money. They have to evaluate the cost, see what the reserve study says, and then go back to the budget to try and figure out if they have enough money. The reality is that you’re not the only one who has an issue. There’s a bunch of other people in the community who have issues. Your problem gets put in the stack to be dealt with.
Communication Is Key to a Happy HOA
One of the biggest things that pisses people off in an HOA is communication, or rather, a lack thereof. As a homeowner, you’re sitting there thinking: Well, I don’t have any control. What are they up to?
That’s the purpose of meeting minutes. If you can’t attend a board meeting, check the meeting minutes to see:
- The overall scope of what the board is doing
- What are they’re trying to figure out
- What decisions are they making?
If you’re a homeowner in an HOA, have you ever been on the board? It may be something you want to take into consideration. It’s not easy. One of the big disconnects is the common complaint: "Why do our dues keep increasing? I was hoping they would lower. No? They’re going to increase over time? My realtor didn’t tell me that!"
The reality is that prices go up. There’s a lot of money to keep the association going. When your dues get increased, it’s also increasing the board’s dues. They’re being impacted by this. We’re tracking the reserve study because we want to make sure we have enough money for the future.
So, what happens if your association does not increase their dues? Chances are, you’re going to get a nice letter in the mail that says, "You and the rest of your community have to dish out hundreds or thousands of dollars on top of your HOA dues to catch up financially for a roofing project you have to have completed."
All HOAs Have Pain Points
We understand that living in an HOA has frustrations. We get it. Do all board members make the best decisions for the community at all times? No. Is it fair that you’ve been waiting two or three years for a new shrub? Not really, but what we do know is that board members have a difficult job. They get to make unpopular decisions for long-term goals financially for the community. It’s no wonder most homeowners don’t want to be board members! Living in an HOA can be a positive experience, a paradigm shift. Your concerns are part of a larger or bigger picture.
HOA Benefits Outweigh the Frustrations
If you have a hard time with the reality that living in an HOA means you don’t have control; perhaps, you should consider living in a single-family home. But, keep in mind, if you need new siding or if you have a roof that needs to be replaced, you’re not going to have the HOA there to bail you out. That’s going to be on you.
An HOA focuses on making decisions so that your property’s value stays high. At HOA Assist, we understand the frustrations of living in an HOA. We are association property managers. That’s our background. We created this educational because we want to address the common things that homeowners complain about and the frustrations that they have about living in an HOA because ultimately our goal is that you enjoy living in an HOA. To learn more about how to work through these HOA-related frustrations, contact us today.