Category Archives: HOA Board

communication in meetings

4 Ways to Improve Communication Within Your HOA

As an HOA board, staying connected to your community is important. Good communication is essential for maintaining a sense of unity and trust among owners. If one of your 2023 resolutions was to grow your community members, communication is critical.

Here are 4 tips to help ensure that communication lines are open and running smoothly and how a property management team can help year-round.

Make Meetings Accessible 

Holding regular meetings is a great way for HOA boards to keep their members up-to-date on important issues and decisions. 

But if access to these meetings is limited, not everyone can attend or stay informed. To improve accessibility, consider hosting online meetings or providing recordings of past meetings so members can watch them at their convenience. This will allow everyone in the community to stay up-to-date on HOA news and discussions regardless of their ability to attend physical meetings. 

Utilize Multiple Communication Channels 

When communicating with members, it’s important to use multiple channels such as email, phone calls, text messages, social media platforms, and newsletters to reach people who may prefer one platform over another. 

By utilizing multiple channels, you can ensure that no one misses out on important information from the board or other members of the community. An HOA management team like Goodwin & Company can help you create and distribute messages for multiple channels. All your Board has to do is provide us with the key information.

When everyone is kept in the loop, your community begins to thrive and make decisions that improve its value for owners.

Encourage Open Dialogue 

Open dialogue is key for building trust between community members and the board and fostering a vibrant community atmosphere. 

Create forums or discussion groups where people can openly share ideas and ask questions about various topics related to the HOA so that everyone feels like they have a voice in the community. Outside of more structured meetings, open forums will give you valuable insight into what people want from their HOA experience, which can be used for future planning purposes.            

Keep Things Transparent 

Transparency is vital for successful communication. So, it’s important that all decisions are made openly and clearly communicated with everyone in the community when appropriate. 

Provide regular updates on financials and upcoming projects or events so that owners feel like they are kept in the know when it comes to matters concerning their home environment.

Making sure people understand how decisions are made within their community will help foster a sense of unity among members, which is essential for any successful HOA organization. 

Create Community Events 

Organizing community events is an effective way for HOA boards to build connections with homeowners and encourage them to get involved in the community. 

These events include holiday parties or potlucks to movie nights or game days. 

It’s also a great opportunity for new community members to meet their neighbors and become more familiar with the area. 

Send Out Surveys  

Surveys are another effective tool that HOA boards can use when communicating with homeowners. Surveys provide an opportunity for HOAs to gain valuable feedback from residents and better understand how they feel about certain topics related to their neighborhood’s operations, such as policies and services provided by the board. It’s important that surveys are distributed regularly so that current board members and HOA management remain aware of any changes in resident sentiment over time.  

Foster Your Community’s Trust With Goodwin & Company

It is essential for HOA boards to maintain good relationships with their residents in order to effectively manage their communities and ensure everyone’s needs are being met properly. Establishing clear lines of communication between board members and homeowners will help ensure that all parties are kept informed and involved in the decision-making process for their neighborhood’s operations. 

Not every board member has the time to improve communication from the inside. So, letting a qualified HOA management group handle communication improvements makes getting to know your constituent needs a breeze. At Goodwin & Company, we put our decades of experience to work for the communities we serve. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can make your HOA the best it can be.

 

How to Create an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Plan

People frequently avoid dealing with uncomfortable problems because they are unsure of what to do. Although few people relish conflict, your HOA’s Board of Directors must prepare for problems.

No community escapes unpleasant issues forever. A dispute of some type will eventually afflict even the sweetest community. What you and your HOA Board can do is develop an alternative dispute resolution plan. Then, you are ready to respond in a rational, predefined way when a problem erupts.

ADR Supports Compliance With Texas Law

Texas law calls upon HOA management to engage with parties subject to many types of enforcement actions prior to filing a lawsuit. An alternative dispute resolution plan fits neatly into regulations that an HOA management team should observe prior to going to court.

Resolving Conflicts With Mediation and Arbitration

Alternative dispute resolution typically involves mediation or arbitration. Your plan will specify one or both as the route to resolving conflicts.

Mediation

You hire a professional mediator who acts as a neutral third party. The mediator meets with the parties in dispute and manages the conversation so that both sides may present their complaints and propose remedies. The role of a mediator is to uncover common ground and guide both sides toward a mutually acceptable resolution.

Arbitration

You hire a professional arbitrator who acts as a neutral third party and presides over the dispute discussion. An arbitrator differs substantially from a mediator in that the person has the authority to decide the outcome. Your alternative dispute resolution plan would need to clarify that arbitration results in a binding decision. Arbitration often removes the parties’ ability to take the case to court.

When Would an HOA Need ADR?

Ideally, an HOA’s board has a plan before a problem flares up. Your board should communicate the plan to property owners to know their rights and what steps to take when they have disputes.

As you might already know, disputes can arise from almost anything. They could emerge between a property owner and the HOA or between two or more property owners. Many people will immediately assume they have to take their complaints to court, but alternative dispute resolution will divert them away from costly and often damaging litigation.

Reasons an HOA Board Should Embrace ADR

Even when your lawyer tells you that the law is firmly on your side, this does not mean that a lawsuit will produce the outcome you expect. Success in court comes at a high cost, not only in terms of time and money but also because it eliminates the chance of a useful compromise.

On the other hand, mediation or arbitration can resolve a problem quickly and for much less money than litigation. You can hire a mediator or arbitrator faster than you can get a court date. These professionals can encourage complainants to fix a problem. The process possesses a collaborative nature that cannot be found in the court system and that is antagonistic by design.

Explore the Benefits of Professional HOA Management

In addition to adopting an alternative dispute resolution plan, your board might reduce conflicts by working with a professional HOA management company like Goodwin & Company. Reach us today to see how your community could benefit from our services.

5 Ways to Improve Owner Retention in Your Association

Bringing new owners into your association is excellent, but keeping them around for years is critical. Owner retention in an HOA can be difficult. Yet, when approached with the correct Board and HOA management team, it can lead to:

  • A more efficient association
  • Even more new owners
  • A more robust Board of Directors
  • Happier homeowners

Your Board should have all of these goals in mind regarding managing the community. If your association needs help with member retention, here are 5 things your Board can do to keep your community full and thriving.

Create HOA Membership Benefits

How your association stands out from the competition directly results in how it retains its members. One of the best ways to stand out is through unique membership benefits.

Everyone wants something special out of their HOA. So, meet with your Board and management team to find out what you can do to make your association unique.

Some of the best association benefits include:

  • Regularly sponsored social events
  • An online portal that simplifies membership
  • Customized communication based on member preference
  • Updated swimming pool and other shared association amenities

Build Actual Relationships With Your Owners

A monthly bill and newsletter aren’t enough to say you’ve put in an effort to get to know your owners. People love when they get extra positive attention. Take some time out of your Board’s schedule to reach out and get to know your constituents.

Simple communication like a personalized birthday message or postcard thanking them for a recent volunteer effort can help your owners feel seen, respected, and eager to live within your association.

Plan Interactive Activities

Activities are one of the cornerstones of a successful association. Planning social gatherings around current association topics like a greener initiative or noise reduction directly involves owner input and building rapport.

If your owners feel like they’ve helped create an initiative, they’ll be more inclined to stay and possibly become future members of the Board itself!

Find Out Why Members Leave

If you’ve experienced a string of members leaving in the past, there is likely an issue on the association’s end you need to address. While you may be unable to reach out to former members, you can still survey current members and learn where you can improve.

Getting answers now and resolving issues as soon as possible helps you maintain expectations and keep your community’s population high.

Ask Property Management About Membership Management Software

Membership management software is an excellent way to simplify overall management through technology. Management software keeps your efforts organized, helps track owner activity, and makes event creation and promotion easier.

Goodwin & Company can help you use management software to create an online portal that eases your management burdens and lets you focus on immediate improvements that keep your members happy.

Start Your Retention Journey Today, With Goodwin & Company

If your association is on a growth trajectory or has had past troubles with owner retention, it’s time to put your membership in the hands of professionals. At Goodwin & Company, we’ve helped associations of all sizes earn new owners, keep them, and grow a thriving community over the years.

Let our management professionals help you create an attractive association. Contact us today to learn more about becoming a member of the Goodwin family!

Top Reasons Why You Should Join your Association’s Board

Serving on your HOA’s board comes with immense responsibility but can be one of the most rewarding things you could do as a homeowner owner. You can improve your experience as a property owner, but you can also make some long-term positive changes that benefit future property owners.

Here are some of the biggest reasons you should consider joining your association’s board.

You Can Help Correct Problems

If you know that your homeowner’s association has recurring problems like noisy neighbors or not enough parking for visitors, joining your association’s board can help you correct any problems in your community.

As an HOA board member, you will also be the person other owners come to with their problems. So, if you are a natural problem-solver, a position on the Board may be the right volunteer opportunity for you.

Help Your Community Meet Overall Expectations

You likely volunteered for your Board because you were unsatisfied with how the community has met your expectations. You want your association to live up to the expectations owners have when they buy into your community.

As an association board member, you have the power to work hand-in-hand with your neighbors and create the utopia your community set out to be.

Learn About Association Laws and Finances

Volunteering for your HOA board allows you to work closely with local laws and finances. Approaching these items with an open mind and willingness to learn will make you a better leader.

With an association management company at your side, you have direct access to legal and financial counsel. They will guide you through essential processes that give you a greater understanding of managing an association’s legal and financial hurdles.

Elevate Your Community With a Team

Working with your association Board means improving your community as a team. Everyone on the Board brings unique skills to the table to make your association better.

As a Board member, you aren’t on this journey alone. Working together will ensure the right improvements and decisions are made at the right time for your community.

Build Your Leadership Skills

Finally, volunteering for your association’s Board can help you build your personal leadership skills.

As a board member, you’ll have to lead your fellow property owners and guide them toward making the right choices for your community.

From speaking at town hall meetings to approaching an owner face to face to discuss a regulatory issue, your experience on the Board will give you the knowledge and confidence you need to approach any responsibilities in your life with an air of leadership.

Achieve Community Greatness With Goodwin & Company

If your association board needs help onboarding new members or helping volunteers find their place, Goodwin & Company can help. We are a team of HOA management professionals that have improved associations of all sizes.

From advising your board members to being the face of the community for your association, Goodwin has the experience to push you forward.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how your community could join forces with Goodwin & Company.

Top 5 Things to Consider Before Hiring an HOA Management Company

An HOA management company can quickly help your association meet its annual goals and rise to the top of exclusive communities in your area.

Selecting a management company that’s the right fit for your HOA isn’t as easy as selecting the first local listing on Google. There are many qualities to weigh out before determining whether a management team is capable of pushing you towards success.

Here are some examples of what you must consider when choosing the best HOA management company for your association.

Your Association’s Actual Needs Vs Their Services

Take a moment to look around your HOA and discover what your actual needs are. Do you have a lot of unfinished or unplanned projects? Are your owners constantly falling behind on their dues? Do you need help with your community’s budget?

Uncovering your community’s needs and comparing them to the services an association management team offers can quickly help you narrow down a shortlist of prospective management companies to help you get your association back in shape.

Most Common HOA Management Services

  • Vendor contract renewals
  • Project management
  • Maintenance
  • Financial services
  • Legal services
  • Community outreach

An HOA Management Team’s Communication Skills

Pay attention to your prospective management team and how they communicate with you during the initial interview process. Goodwinlent communication skills are a must because your management team will be the face of your organization and be in constant communication with owners regarding dues payments, rules violations, and general questions about the direction your association takes.

With great communication on your side, your HOA board members can focus on the major decisions that shape the long-term success of your private community.

They Share Your Community Values

Your community’s culture and values matter for the happiness and comfort of your owners. So, when selecting a management team to work with side-by-side, remember that their mission and values must align with yours in order to avoid conflicting situations and put your community on the fast track to eutopia.

Customer Service Must Be a Priority

Yes, it’s important to pay attention to the price a management team offers you. However, what’s even more important is finding a team that prioritizes their customer service towards your community over the amount of money they collect from your Board every month.

Before you judge a company based on its fees, make sure to examine what they offer separately, and remember, you can never put a price on your community’s happiness.

When looking for top customer service, be on the lookout for:

  • Full insurance that protects your community from liability
  • Flexible contracts
  • Experienced HOA managers with excellent reviews to boot
  • Availability to answer calls and respond to owner maintenance requests

They can Handle the Financials of Your Association

Although your Board may have fiscally savvy leaders, the financials of an association run deep and can easily become complex.

From keeping track of current and late dues payments to planning out an entire year’s worth of a budget, your Board will need a financial expert on its side.

A team with an experience like Goodwin & Company has developed professional relationships with some of the best accountants in the industry and can ensure you have the financial help you need when you need it.

Goodwin & Company is Ready to Exceed Your Expectations

If your association needs help behind the scenes, it’s time to reach out to Goodwin & Company. We are a team of professional HOA managers with decades of experience on our resume and are confident that we have the expertise to make your association the best in your local area.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and schedule a meeting with a member of our team.

Does Your HOA Need Workers’ Comp Insurance?

Workers’ compensation is a common form of insurance that many businesses employ to protect their leadership and reputation. Although workers’ compensation is required in many states across the nation, Texas allows it’s business owners the choice to enact this type of insurance.

Associations are part of an industry that makes money from owners, therefore making them a business. Business protection from all is paramount. So, let’s take a deeper look at workers comp insurance and whether or not it’s an expense your association should adopt.

What is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

You are legally required to keep your association a safe place for volunteer and employment purposes. However, accidents happen, and when they do, your association could easily be held liable.

If a board member, volunteer, or vendor is injured while performing any HOA duties your association’s finances and reputation are at stake if the injured person pursues a lawsuit. Workers’ comp essentially serves as security insurance that stops lawsuits in their tracks and prevents your association from paying compensation to injured parties out of its annual budget.

Why Would an Association Need Workers’ Comp Insurance?

Although an HOA isn’t the total standard business that has full-time employees performing its daily duties, it’s still recommended that a responsible association invests in a reliable workers’ compensation insurance plan.

Let’s get into why.

Not All Would-Be Vendors Are Honest

Just because a vendor says they are insured and provides “proof” of insurance, doesn’t mean their coverage is in effect.

Therefore, if something were to happen to a vendor that injured them on the job, your association would be held liable. Workers’ comp insurance helps your association avoid any legal troubles and serves as protection against any vendors that attempt to pull the insurance wool over your board’s eyes.

Workers’ Comp Covers Board Members and Volunteers

The community members that bring an association together are mainly a collective of local volunteers. If someone were to get injured while carrying out any association tasks, your workers’ comp insurance would ensure their medical/financial needs are met and that your association is thoroughly covered.

How Much Coverage Does an Association Need?

While there really isn’t a general average for coverage, it’s safe to say that the amount of coverage necessary depends on the size of the association and the level of work required to maintain it.

Your association management team can help your Board make an educated decision about how much workers comp coverage your organization needs. Keep in mind that if you are working with an association management company, that organization’s workers’ compensation coverage does not apply to your HOA in the event that something goes wrong.

Cover Your Association’s Insurance Needs With Goodwin & Company

If you have questions about the different types of insurance your association needs for security, the team at Goodwin & Company can help! We have experienced association management professionals that can give your Board the assistance it needs to create a successful and pleasant association for its members.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help improve your association from behind the scenes.

Tips for Handling Your HOA Noise Issues

Noisy neighbors don’t typically make for a happy association. Even though you may have noise ordinances in place, there is always the possibility of an owner or their tenant slipping up and disturbing the peace of those around them.

As association board members, you want to ensure every violation in your HOA is handled with organization, patience, and neutrality. Here’s a closer look at what you can do to reduce noise complaints within your community.

Make Sure Your Rules Are for a Specific Audience

There are always federal, state, and even city-wide noise ordinances in place. When establishing your own noise bylaws, it’s important to take these rules into account.

Some federal and city noise regulations may not be well-established for residential use and could leave your community open for noise violations that make it through legal loopholes.

Even after you’ve studied federal noise regulation and established your community noise ordinances, it’s essential that you ensure your rules clearly apply to the residents that live within your community.

Remind Members About Your Noise Guidelines

Some members of the community may not even be aware that their level of noise is breaking your community guidelines. Before jumping straight into fines and other regulatory action, it’s only polite to approach the neighbor with a gentle reminder of your association’s noise bylaws.

If your board’s verbal request goes ignored, make the request in writing as the next official step towards HOA board resolution. From there, if the noise violations continue, fines and further HOA action will be necessary from your Board.

Prepare to Mediate When Necessary

As board members, it’s your responsibility to ensure that all homeowner disputes are resolved with peace and fairness. If a noise issue between neighbors goes far enough that a civil suit begins to loom, your Board must be prepared to serve as a forum for mediation that helps owners avoid a lengthy and costly lawsuit.

Your HOA management team can help you prepare to serve as a neutral party that guides neighbors at odds through the alternative dispute resolution process that typically results in the common ground without legal consequences.

Remind Owners That Tenants Are Their Responsibility

If you have owners that rent out their property, they aren’t off the hook for noise complaints their tenants bring in. As owners of the home, they are likely going to be the first ones that receive notice of the noise violation.

It’s then their responsibility to address the issue with their renter and get to the bottom of the incident. If it results in a one-time occurrence, the problem is solved. However, if your tenant continues to create repeat noise complaints, not only are you liable for any fines or other action, but it may be time to start looking for a more reliable tenant.

Settle Your HOA Noise Ordinances With the Help of Goodwin & Company

If you are a board member for your association and know that you need help getting noise ordinances and regulatory actions in place, it’s time to turn to a trusted association manager for help.

At Goodwin & Company, we have experience working with and improving the inner workings of associations large and small. We bring a unique management approach and perspective to every community we serve and know we can help make a difference with yours.

Contact us today to learn more about our services.

How to Properly Create an HOA Board Resolution

HOA resolutions are set in place to ensure that a community Board effectively manages a community and makes all of the right decisions during board meetings. Essentially, resolutions are governing documents that bring validation to a board’s actions for a community.

Since resolutions go beyond the standard rules and regulations that can easily change to meet new state, federal, and local requirements, there is definitely a process a Board should follow when its members decide a new resolution is best for the community.

Here’s a closer look at the proper steps a Board and HOA management team should take to ensure that a new resolution is enacted with essential due diligence.

How Should Your Board Approach a New Resolution?

Since resolutions usually involve subject matter like policies, procedures, and special individual situations that impact a community, they can’t simply be created and enacted on a whim. Here are the appropriate steps a Board should take when attempting to create a new HOA Board resolution.

Review State Laws

Before any action can be taken to create a new resolution, it’s essential that the board reviews the legality of their decision. State and local laws typically trump any changes an association makes in its operations.

A quick chat with your association management team or legal advisors should easily clear up the legalities of the resolution. If all is clear, move forward with the following steps. If not, it’s unfortunately, back to the drawing board.

Know the Authority of Your Board of Directors

Not all governing documents are drafted in the same language. So, before moving on with the creation of a resolution, consult your association governing documents. Only then will you know if your board is legally able to make new resolutions within the community.

Understand Why This Resolution is Necessary

Before you really dig into pushing a new resolution onto your community, do your research and answer the following questions:

  • Why does your community need this resolution?
  • How would it impact owners?
  • How will the board enforce this resolution?
  • Are all board members in agreement with the resolution?
  • Does the resolution create a long-term solution to a current problem?

Once you’ve answered these questions and others that fellow HOA board members may pose, you should have all of the research necessary to begin drafting and filling out the details of your resolution.

Create a Draft

At this point, create a rough draft of your resolution that details the full extent of the resolution, what it resolves, and the specific bylaws that allow the board to complete the resolution.

Try to make this draft as close to the final resolution as possible, because the next step towards resolution creation involves bringing your ideas to your fellow owners.

Obtain Feedback From Owners

Circulate the draft of your resolution throughout the community and across your online portal’s community boards. Ask for feedback from those the resolution will impact the most. If owners know that their voices have been heard, the transition into the new resolution is less likely to be a contested effort.

Make Any Decisions With the Whole Board Involved

Once the details of your resolution are ironed out, it’s time for the Board to take a final vote. In order for a resolution to be passed, board members must vote based on all community voting procedures.

If the resolution is passed, the president and secretary of the Board will sign and date the document.

Create Resolutions With Experience Through Goodwin & Company

If you are a member of a community’s Board of Directors and know that your team needs help from a property management firm, Goodwin & Company is ready to speak with you.

We are an association management team that has experience with resolution changes and other behind-the-scenes essentials that dictate the path for a community’s success. We’ve helped associations of all sizes make the best decisions for their owners, and know that we can help you.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how you can become a part of the Goodwin & Company family.