on Apr 02, 2021 9:14:47 AM

What is a Homeowner's Association and what are the benefits?

The number of homeowners associations (HOA) continues to grow in the United States with more than 344,500 associations nationwide. There's no doubt that COVID has had an impact on the HOA business and day-to-day practices. 
But what exactly does an association do and what is it that makes an HOA a great place to live?

HOA Offerings
  • Depending on the type of association in which you live, a homeowners association will offer a variety of goods and services. Generally, responsibilities include:
  • Providing solutions for managing assets, homes and helping to increase property values
  • Completing work orders and budgets in a timely and efficient manner
  • Assisting in creating beautiful spaces and aesthetic appeal by providing common area maintenance, art spaces and useable community areas like trails, parks and playgrounds.
  • Offering partnership opportunities to local businesses and trades and setting the bar for quality of services in a community
  • Finding unique ways to cultivate neighborhood connections and a sense of pride in the community

According to the Community Associations Institute, homeowners associations account for about 51-55 percent of the total types of associations. Condos account for 42-45 percent with cooperatives rounding out the smallest totals with 3-4 percent of the market.

Like rental property managers, community association managers have been working as a go-between for homeowners and associations, helping residents figure out how to make the most of their association dollars. In some cases, association dues may increase year-to-year to cover needed community maintenance or to build up emergency funds should anything need attention. 

Why Live in an HOA?
There are a few widely accepted reasons that explain the benefits of living in an HOA.

  • Community Appearance. By delivering services, maintaining common areas and setting standards, an HOA preserves the integrity and beauty of your neighborhood.
  • Property Values. You won't have to worry about the value of your home taking a hit because a neighbor has turned his lawn into a junkyard for old cars. HOA regulations protect against community degradation. In many cases, it takes the neighborhood to hold other neighbors accountable through notifications of violators and issuance of violations. While this is not a regular occurrence, it does happen in order to keep the community looking its best. 
  • Amenities and Options. HOAs offer homeowners a variety of facilities and living options you might not otherwise be able to afford. Whether it's a swimming pool, walking trails, native prairie or snow removal services, an association can make life that much more enjoyable.
  • Professional Management. With an HOA, preserve your neighborly relationship and ask the management company to handle any issues with a barking dog, loud parties or a dispute over a tree.
  • Sense of Community. HOAs help bring people together to strengthen your neighborhood bond. They promote a sense of belonging and encourage you to be involved in the happenings in your community.

HOA's Post COVID-19 
The pandemic has put a stronger focus on how HOA's, like Hubbell Community Management, interact with residents and handle day-to-day maintenance. Community safety, maintenance, and governance are three of the biggest areas that CAMs have had to revamp.

  • Community Safety. Community space closures and additional cleaning procedures were implemented over the last year due to COVID-19. From sanitizing high-traffic areas regularly, creating HOA documents and sign up forms online with E-signature options to increasing communications surrounding ongoing decisions, community safety takes the front seat. We're hopeful that 2021 will be a much better year for the community amenities and resident's ability to use them.
  • Maintenance. When the pandemic first hit, in addition to closures, many HOA's had to suspend non-emergency maintenance projects until we could do so safely. While our work orders are back to normal, our teams are still equipped with proper PPE outerwear to wear anytime they interact with residents. 
  • Amending Documents and Meetings. The covenants and documents which were once required to be signed in person are now all digital and available online - in most cases. Many associations have revised their documents to allow for virtual meetings (more on that in the next section). Others have had to rethink what a quorum looks like if members are ill. Still others have had to create new procedures and protocols to handle emergencies, whether that be an emergency repair or an outbreak of sickness among residents. Those revised documents will continue to govern associations for years to come.

Above all, an HOA should add value to your neighborhood that goes beyond what's written in the management contract. With 40-plus neighborhood associations and more than 5,000 homes in its portfolio, Hubbell Community Management has a presence in nearly every community in central Iowa. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about HCM, contact us!