Property Maintenance for HOAs – A Consistent Management Challenge
Homeowners associations are between a rock and a hard place. The rock is the required maintenance and management fees.
The hard place is trying to meet the high expectations the community residence hold.
The balancing act of providing good property maintenance and effective property management, while holding down costs, requires skill, experience and a bit of ingenuity.
Property Maintenance for HOAs – The Costliest Line Items
For most Homeowners Associations and professional management companies, property maintenance represents the bulk of the maintenance fees…and these fees increase at the community ages.
There are two issues that are challenges for most homeowners associations, management costs and maintenance costs.
PPROPERTY MANAGEMENT COSTS
Many homeowners associations consistently focus on how to lower management costs. This usually leads to one of two things, either less effective service providers or reduced services.
Ultimately the result is unhappy residents who are dissatisfied with the level of property maintenance…and complain about it.
Rather than spending time and energy on squeezing blood from a stone (cost cutting can only go so far until it begins to affect the value of the homes in the community), we recommend that Homeowners Associations encourage management professionals to look for ways to generate revenue rather than reduce cost.
Here are some revenue generation examples:
Sell ads in the community newspaper – reach out to specific service providers who can benefit from a relationship with community and invite them to purchase low-cost ads. You would be surprised to discover how many residents actually have home based businesses could benefit from community based advertising.
Sell banner ads in the website – Similar to the above suggestion and more consistent since billing can be automated.
Reduce paper by using electronic channels – this is cost-cutting, however it’s a sensible one since electronic media is readily available and electronic payment systems are very reliable.
Use property amenities for rentals – if the community has Clubhouse then providing the clubhouse for low maintenance groups such as corporate meetings or trainings can actually be very lucrative. Avoid party rentals because these types of events generate more “wear and tear” on the propeerty and require additional property maintenance.
Share amenities with other communities – if the community has a pool or Clubhouse that’s underutilized, invite other nearby communities without these amenities to share them for a fee. Also charge additional fees to residents who over-utilized the amenities (additional guests, multiple grandchildren, etc.).
PROPERTY MAINTENANCE COSTS
Most HOA’s and Management companies still want to keep property maintenance costs in check. Here are some ideas that don’t impact services:
Consolidate vendors – contract with vendors who can supply multiple services. For example a lawn service that also provides tree maintenance.
A street sweeping company can also provide pavement, concrete and other property management services. Having separate contractors for each different type of property management also creates additional administrative burden.
Review The Reserve Fund – and verify that the funds collected are neither too high nor too low for effective community property maintenance.
Please note that we do not recommend reducing or eliminating Property Maintenance services as a way to manage costs.
Certainly we think this is a bad idea because of the nature of our company, however we have found in our experience that deferred maintenance can result and very expensive special assessments.
Very few things make Community residence more upset than the special assessment for emergency property maintenance services.
Property Maintenance for HOAs – Tapping Into Experience
Are you involved with a Homeowners Association Board? Would you like to discuss ways to improve your community’s property maintenance?
C & L Services is a third generation family owned property maintenance company. We have been providing property maintenance services to real estate developers, commercial property owners and communities in New Jersey for over forty years.
We can give your property the attention needs and keep your residents happy.
If you’re in North Jersey, Contact us at 908-730-7884. If you’re in Central New Jersey call us at 732-886-1940 to arrange for HOA property maintenance.