Category Archives: HOA Management

senior citizens feel comfortabe

How Your Association Can Make Senior Citizens Feel Comfortable

Your association is a beautiful community full of families from different walks of life. It’s important to remember that while everyone wants to feel safe and comfortable in your neighborhood, some of your fellow owners may require a little extra assistance.

Let’s focus on senior citizens aged 65+ in your community, and what you can do to ensure their time in your association makes them truly feel at home.

Gather Emergency Contact Information

Your HOA should gather emergency contact information for every member of its community. However, if this isn’t already a practice, we say start gaining information from your senior members of the neighborhood.

Disaster can strike at any time for anyone, but those in the 65+ range are especially vulnerable to incidents that may require emergency assistance and important decisions made on behalf of emergency contacts on file.

Schedule Welfare Checks

Not everyone has a local family to check in on them. So, when it comes to the elderly members of your community, take some time to organize a check-in schedule.

This can be as simple as calling to say “hi” once a week or as detailed as actually scheduled visits.

Ensuring your elderly neighbors are safe and comfortable in your association is critical. Trust us when we say that welfare checks are a win-win for everyone involved.

Stay Up-to-Date on Local and State Laws

Every state has laws that focus on what an association must do to accommodate its senior members.

At least twice a year, your association’s Board should review these laws and look out for any policy changes that they need to catch up on. Also, having planned reviews, allows your Board to anticipate any financial additions to your budget and properly forecast these needs during annual budget planning with your association management’s financial team.

Not only does remaining compliant keep your aging members safe, but these actions also keep your HOA out of serious legal trouble if a bad situation arises.

Update Community Areas

As people age, physical and neurological conditions are likely to develop. Inclusivity is key to owner retention. Therefore, make sure that your shared community areas are all designed and updated to accommodate for physical difficulties.

Accommodations should be approached within reason for your budget, but some of the most common updates we’ve seen HOAs make are:

  • Improved lighting
  • Ramps
  • New handrails

Alter Policies Where Appropriate

Uniformity is something that all associations strive to achieve. However, physical limitations can hamper an owner’s ability to keep up with essential maintenance like landscaping.

Rather than punish those with disabilities or physical constraints, take some time to examine your HOA’s policies and make adjustments where applicable. For example, perhaps your association could find room in the budget to plan for exterior paint maintenance when needed, or regular landscaping services for those in need.

Keep Your Association Inclusive With Goodwin & Company

If you know your association could step up with its actions towards the elderly, let the professionals of Goodwin & Company help. We’ve helped HOAs across Dallas improve their association management and ensure that everyone in the community feels welcome.

Contact us today to learn more about 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 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.

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 Craft a Winning HOA Snow Removal Policy

Although Dallas and Fort Worth recently experienced their first snow of the year, it’s always best to keep in mind that Texas winter weather can be unexpected, and more snow can easily be in the near future.

While snow days are fun, snow can also prove to be a slip and fall problem or accident hazard when left unattended throughout an HOA community.

Your association should always have a snow removal policy prepared. However, if you know your policy needs revisions, this post is your first chance at creating a policy that works hard to keep your residents safe.

Here’s a closer look at how you should review your current snow removal policy, how owners can get involved, and what specifics to look out for when hiring a third-party snow removal service.

Review Your Current Snow Removal Policy

Before the next snow falls, you want to make sure that your association’s snow removal guidelines are clear. Some snow removal policies have the association heavily involved with removal while others have a more hands-off approach when winter weather strikes.

If your current snow removal policy isn’t up-to-date and the current sitting board is ready to make changes, some of the biggest items for members to consider are:

  • Determining if a snow plowing service is necessary
  • Which parts of the community the HOA is responsible for clearing
  • Where does owner responsibility begin and end

As with all policy changes, make sure that your association owners remain informed. After all, if changes are made without proper communication, policies won’t be properly carried out and your HOA could be held liable for any incidents that occur.

Defining Owner Snow Removal Responsibilities

When it comes to figuring out what your owners are responsible are during a snowfall, the best way to approach it is by focusing directly on their property.

Most associations hold owners responsible for clearing out:

  • Their driveways
  • Personal parking spaces
  • Walkways leading to their home

When defining homeowner responsibilities, it’s also beneficial to encourage homeowners to help out around the community where they can by keeping well-used pathways clear and assisting older neighbors with their snow removal needs.

Hiring a Snow Removal Service

If your association decides that it needs to hire a third-party snow removal company, your management team can easily help you find the right vendor for your needs.

However, it’s also important to keep these three factors in mind when selecting the right vendor for the job.

Gather Cost Information

Your association’s annual budget is limited, so make sure anyone you hire is ready to work within your means.

One of the biggest aspects of the decision is finding out if they charge by the hour or a flat rate. Also, before signing any contract, always review it for any small print additional fees that could go unnoticed.

Document Their Services

Always go with a company that offers your association proof that they’ve efficiently completed their services. These records are not only great for your confidence in the safety of your community but can also serve as evidence if an injury occurs on your property and a lawsuit ensues.

Ensure They Are Insured

Finally, you always want to make sure that any vendor you hire is insured. Liability is something you don’t want on your hands, especially when it comes to something as slick as snow removal.

Always double-check that your contract relieves your association of any liability if a snow removal employee slips and hurts themselves on your property.

Craft a Winning Snow Removal Policy With the Help of Goodwin & Company

If you are a member of your association’s Board and know that your team needs help perfecting its snow removal policy, you need advice from HOA management professionals.

The team at Goodwin & Company has decades of experience helping the associations we serve to become the safest, most appealing neighborhoods within their local communities.

Trust us to be your behind-the-scenes support, while your Board of Directors helps its community move into a brighter future. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with a member of our team.

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.

5 Ways Your HOA Can Go Greener in the New Year

An HOA serves as a pillar of the community it resides in. So, while it should always strive to provide the best owner experience for its residents, it should also do everything in its power to reduce its environmental footprint and improve the immediate environments around it.

Fortunately, going greener doesn’t have to be an expensive initiative, and there are several ways that your community can help make the planet a better place.

Here are 5 green tips your HOA should enforce in 2022!

Go Digital for Your Notices and Announcements

Paper is one of the most often used materials in an HOA. From general announcements to late notices, many associations find themselves printing sheet after sheet, knowing that it’s all eventually going to make its way to a landfill.

As technology advances, the need for paper notices is becoming ever more null and void. An association management team can help create an online portal that connects your board and your community members to everything important with your community.

Going digital means saying goodbye to paper calendars and saying hello to easy online payments. It’s the simplest way to go greener and is also one of the most innovative steps your community can take towards improving its general practices.

Create Recycling Opportunities for Your Owners

Whether your HOA invests in recycling bins for the community or starts a weekly recycling pickup for your owners, making recycling opportunities available is excellent for the community.

Most of your homeowners already want to make the world a better place but just don’t have the time to get to a recycling center to drop off their recyclable goods. A community-wide recycling effort puts the hard work in your community management team and vendor’s hands and makes recycling an easier option for eco-conscious owners.

Enforce Management Company Green Initiatives

Most management companies already have a list of green initiatives that they follow for each of the communities they serve. Make sure to review your management company’s green practices they have in place and ensure that any you aren’t already practicing are implemented within your community.

Reduce Water Use Where Possible

One great way to save the environment and save money is to reduce water use throughout the community wherever you can. Aside from educating your owners about the importance of water conservation and creating a community watering schedule, your HOA can invest in water-saving technologies like smart sprinkler systems that can detect recent rainfalls and reduce the waste of one of our planet’s most precious resources.

Go Solar

Although it may be an initial investment to go solar with your community lighting, we guarantee that it’s an investment that will save your association money in the long run. Solar-powered lights eventually pay for themselves and are something that your community can gradually introduce if a full solar effort isn’t currently available in the budget. Even buying a light at a time makes a difference in the environmental big picture.

Take Steps Into a Greener New Year With Goodwin & Company

If your association is ready to go green this year, it’s time to work with an association management company that has similar priorities in mind. At Goodwin & Company, we help get our associations connected to an online portal, find eco-friendly vendors in their area, and ensure that other green initiatives are enforced.

Trust us to be your partner on your journey to becoming a better association for the environment and your community members alike. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how to become a member of the Goodwin family.

6 New Year’s Resolutions for Your HOA

2021 is headed out the door and it’s time for your association to start making some new year’s resolutions that benefit the greater good of your community.

While all HOA board members know that budgetary planning is essential for a new year, there are several other promises you can keep and make for your board and community that will make the next year happier and more efficient.

Review and Make Any Potential New Rules

Although your association’s CC&Rs may be extensive, there is always room to add more rules and regulations. Over the last year, your board may have experienced some issues that it didn’t have a concrete rule for.

From the ordinary home update requests to adjusting your rules to any new laws that were passed in your jurisdiction, you want your Board to be prepared to answer any request.

We suggest meeting as a Board and discussing the issues you’ve faced in the last year and considering what could be around the bend for 2022. Making revisions now will make answering your constituents easier in the future.

Step Away From Personal Disputes

If you are a board member who has a dispute with an owner that is bleeding into the new year, take a step back and examine your situation. Is the HOA resolution going nowhere because you genuinely can’t come up with a viable solution or are your personal feelings about the community member clouding your judgment?

If you realize that your personal bias is holding back a peaceful resolution, it’s time to hand over the reins to another board member that isn’t connected to the individual or the problem.

Create Some Committees

As board members, you lead busy lives on top of your responsibilities to your community. As much as you’d like to be able to do it all for your association, the truth is that you can’t!

Creating committees to handle different aspects of your leadership can help lighten the load off of your shoulders and get other promising community members involved in important decisions.

Get Collections Under Control

Collecting funds from owners is one of the biggest ways that your association makes its money. When money comes in late, that deficit directly affects the ability to meet the annual goals you’ve created for the community.

Meet with your community management team and put a collections plan in place. Delinquencies have no place in your community management, and it may require some aggressive action on your part to get the message across to some owners.

Whether you set stricter deadlines or hire more legal help for the collections process, having a plan in place can help you set up your community for long-term financial success.

Review Your Contracts

Saving money should be the ultimate new year’s resolution for your association. So, start saving at the source; your vendor contracts.

Take some time to review your contracts and make sure that your vendors are offering you the best bang for your budget. Don’t be afraid to renegotiate contract lengths if you find that your current vendors aren’t giving you fair rates for your services.

In fact, when approached with the idea of contract length negotiations, your long-term vendors may be willing to work with your contract needs in order to retain you as a customer.

Get Association Management Help From Goodwin & Company!
Finally, even with committees on board, your board members should never try to travel the road to success alone. An association management team like Goodwin & Company makes being a board member a smoother and more rewarding experience.

We have worked with associations of all sizes for decades and excel in being the driving behind-the-scenes force that allows board members to put on their best face and get out from behind the desk and into direct community involvement.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how your association can excel with our management team!