What is a Home Owners Association (HOA)?

Homeowner Association Management Services in Nashville

There are many property management benefits to having a homeowner association in your community. This includes encouraging resident safety, aesthetic standards, and attentive maintenance of communal areas like swimming pools. However, there can be numerous challenges to properly establishing and maintaining a homeowner association. If you want your neighborhood to adhere to high standards but don’t want to deal with disputes and rule violations yourself, finding an organization to provide homeowner association management services could be the answer.

What Is a Homeowner Association?

A homeowner association (HOA) is a group that manages and maintains a residential community. HOAs are organized for the benefit of the community’s residents. They also oversee amenities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, and playgrounds. In addition, HOAs often have strict rules about property management and landscaping, which helps the community look its best. Most importantly, HOAs help to keep our Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin neighborhoods safe, enjoyable places to live.

HOAs are common in planned developments and condos but can also be found in other types of communities. Typically, an HOA is run by a board of directors, who the community’s members elect. The board is responsible for enforcing the community’s rules and regulations and managing its finances. In addition to the board, some HOAs also have a homeowner association management company that handles day-to-day operations.

Why Do Some Communities Have an HOA While Some Don’t?

There are a number of reasons why some communities have homeowner associations while others don’t. In most cases, it simply comes down to a matter of preference. 

Some people prefer to live in communities where there is an organization that helps to manage shared resources and oversee the upkeep of common areas. In fact, a 2020 survey from the Community Associations Institute found that 89% of HOA residents nationwide rate their experience living in their communities as “very good.” However, other people may prefer to live in more independent communities where each homeowner is responsible for their property. 

Additionally, homeowners must make financial considerations when deciding whether or not to live in a community with an HOA. Homeowner associations typically charge monthly or yearly dues, which can quickly add up. Some people may not want to incur the additional expense, while others may feel that the benefits of living in a well-managed community are worth the cost. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to establish homeowner association services comes down to personal preferences and priorities.

Benefits of Having an HOA

HOAs offer many benefits that can affect the property values and quality of life in your Nashville, Brentwood, or Franklin neighborhood. Here are some reasons why having an HOA is a good idea, whether the board of directors or a homeowner association management company is primarily responsible for it. 

Benefits of an HOA infographic

Maintain Common Areas

Homeowner associations provide an important service to the community by maintaining common areas. These areas include parks, playgrounds, and swimming pools that everyone in the neighborhood uses. HOAs also help to keep the streets clean by hiring landscapers to maintain the lawns and gardens and improve community safety by hiring guards to patrol the area.

In addition, HOAs often host events such as block parties and barbecues. This helps to strengthen relationships between neighbors and makes the community a fun and pleasant place to live.

Enforce Aesthetic Standards

Homeowner associations typically have covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) by which the member homeowners must abide. Aesthetics standards are often included in CC&Rs to maintain an attractive and orderly appearance throughout the neighborhood. These standards might have requirements for landscaping, such as which plants are allowed or how often homeowners must mow the lawn.

Mailboxes and lampposts are also usually subject to aesthetic standards. Homeowners might be required to use a specific type of mailbox or lamppost or keep either one in a particular location. Homeowners who do not comply with the aesthetic standards set by their homeowner association can face fines or other penalties. While this might sound restrictive, these standards ultimately make it possible for everyone’s property to look its best and contribute to the neighborhood’s overall appearance.

Resolve Problems Between Neighbors

No one likes having problems with their neighbors. Living next to a problematic neighbor can be an absolute nightmare, whether they play excessively loud music late at night, have unruly pets, or just show annoying behavior. Fortunately, most homeowner associations have procedures to deal with these kinds of neighborly problems. Using a homeowner association management company like Westwood Property Management to handle these problems can benefit the HOA board of directors. Someone outside of the neighborhood can act as an unbiased source to peacefully bring these disputes to an end.

The first step the management company will usually take is simply talking to the offender and trying to resolve the issue amicably. If that doesn’t work, the next step is to file a formal complaint with the association. This will trigger an investigation, and if the complaint is found to be valid, the offender will be given a warning. If the problem persists, they may be subject to fines. By following these steps, homeowner associations can help keep the peace between neighbors and make everyone’s life a little bit easier.

Require Lower Monthly Dues Than Individual Costs

Maintaining a home is no small feat – there’s always something that needs to be done, whether it’s weeding around the landscaping or pressure washing the driveway. Fortunately, homeowner associations can help take some of the burdens away from individual homeowners by pooling the neighborhood’s resources and negotiating quantity discounts with contractors.

As a result, fees for homeowner association services in Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, or anywhere for that matter are typically much cheaper than if each homeowner paid for them separately. This includes services like pool memberships, lawn care, and community landscaping. In addition, by spreading the cost amongst all homeowners in the neighborhood, homeowner association fees are usually very affordable. So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by your monthly bill, remember that your homeowner association or homeowner association management company is likely saving you some money in the long run.

Add Value to Your Home When It’s Time to Sell

When it comes time to sell your home, potential buyers will take a number of factors into consideration, like the appearance of the neighborhood. A neat, tidy community with well-maintained common areas is always more appealing than one that looks neglected. This is where homeowner associations can really add value. By enforcing aesthetic standards and maintaining common areas, they help keep neighborhoods looking their best.

This can make a big difference in attracting more buyers and fetching a higher price for your home. So if you’re considering selling your home, mention the benefits of living with a homeowner association in your neighborhood. It could make all the difference in how much your home is worth.

How to Find Out If Your Community Has an HOA

If your community has an HOA, you’ll know because you’ve been paying HOA dues. If you haven’t been paying dues, then there isn’t one in your community. If you’re considering buying a home in a particular neighborhood, it’s always a good idea to find out if there’s an HOA already and, if so, what their rules and regulations are.

The best way to find out if a community has an HOA is to ask around. Talk to your real estate agent, friends, or family members who might live in the area. You can also try searching online for the name of the community + HOA. If there’s an HOA, you should be able to find contact information for it easily. Once you find that information, give them a call or send them an email and ask about membership dues, what kinds of rules and regulations they have, and what services they provide. That way, you can decide for yourself whether living in that Nashville, Brentwood, or Franklin community is the right fit for you.

Responsibilities of Homeowner Association Management

HOAs are usually run by volunteer board members who are elected by the community’s residents. Serving on the board of an HOA can be a rewarding experience, but it also comes with a great deal of responsibility. Board members are typically responsible for managing the budget, enforcing the community’s rules, and organizing social events. They also serve as a liaison between the residents and the management company that handles the day-to-day operations of the community, if they have one. While serving on the board of an HOA has its challenges, it is also an opportunity to make a positive impact on your community.

How to Start an HOA in Your Community

Many neighborhoods and communities don’t have a homeowner association in place, but this doesn’t mean that one can’t be started. In fact, it might be just what the community needs to come together and improve the overall quality of life for all residents. Here’s how to start a homeowner association in your community.

How to start an HOA community in four steps infographic

Legal Requirements

Homeowner associations are a type of common interest community, which is defined as a collection of privately owned homes and property that are subject to a set of rules and regulations. To start an HOA, a few legal requirements must be met. First, the organizers must develop a set of bylaws that outlines the organization’s purpose and describes its rules and regulations.

Second, the bylaws must be approved by a majority of the community’s members. Once the bylaws are in place, the HOA can apply for incorporation as a non-profit organization. Once incorporated, the HOA will have access to certain benefits, such as tax-exempt status and liability protection. Lastly, the HOA must obtain a business license from the state in which it is located. Once these legal requirements have been met, the HOA can begin operating. A homeowner association management company can help you handle the paperwork to get things up and running.

Responsibilities of Various Officers

Most HOAs are led by a board of directors that are responsible for setting policy and overseeing the association’s management. The board typically consists of several officers, including a president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer.

In some cases, the board may also appoint a property manager to handle day-to-day operations. The specific roles and responsibilities of each officer can vary from one association to the next, but they all work together to create a safe and enjoyable environment for all residents.

Fee Determination

There are many different factors that go into determining the HOA monthly or yearly fee that community members will have to pay. These can include the number of homes in the community and the amenities offered. Additionally, the HOA may also consider residents’ average monthly income and the overall needs of the community.

This allows them to set a fee that is fair and reasonable for everyone. Ultimately, the HOA monthly fee is designed to help cover the costs of maintaining and operating the community and ensuring it remains a great place to live.

Handling Disputes and Violations

No one likes to deal with a dispute, especially with a neighbor. But at some point, it’s inevitable that there will be disagreements among the people who live in any shared area. That’s where HOAs come in. The role of an HOA is to provide guidelines for how residents should behave and act with one another.

When disputes arise, or rules are broken, HOAs are responsible for mediating the situation and coming up with a resolution that is fair for all parties involved. In some cases, this may mean issuing a warning or giving a financial penalty. In other cases, it may mean taking more serious disciplinary action, such as asking the offender to move out of the community. A homeowner association management company like Westwood Property Management can be an invaluable resource in a situation like this.

Challenges of Maintaining an HOA

One of the challenges of maintaining an HOA in Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, or anywhere else is dealing with residents who don’t follow the community guidelines. It can be difficult to get everyone to pay their dues on time, and you may have to deal with people who are constantly breaking the rules. This can be frustrating, but you need to remember that ultimately you’re there to help the community and not to make everyone happy.

Another challenge is dealing with repairs and maintenance. Things always seem to break when you least expect it, and it can be expensive to fix them, especially when you’re responsible for repairing all the shared amenities in the community. Finally, you also have to deal with the financial aspects of running an HOA. This includes budgeting for expenses and making sure there is enough money in the fund to cover unexpected costs. 

Want Help Managing Homeowner Association Services?

While maintaining an HOA can be challenging, it is also rewarding because you get to help make your community a better place to live. At Westwood Property Management, we understand the challenges of managing an HOA. That’s why we offer homeowner association management services in Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, and the surrounding areas. 

By taking advantage of our HOA management services, you can remove the burden of dues collection and dispute resolution from your shoulders so you can focus on what’s important – your community. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help make managing your HOA easier for everyone involved.

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