HOA End-of-Year Checklist (9 Must-Dos)
As we approach the end of the year, it's the perfect time to celebrate your homeowners' association (HOA) and the progress you've made. Community leaders should reflect on achievements and eagerly review all the financial, legal, and operational facets of the HOA, keeping in mind opportunities for improvement. Read on to learn what aspects of your HOA you should check at the year's end to stay on top of your game and prepare for a strong future.
Budget & finances
Your HOA's budget serves as a foundational component for community activities throughout the year. Take the time to examine the budget and where and how the HOA distributes funds. Residents trust board members to budget responsibly, spend funds wisely, and prioritize their needs. You can set your association up for financial success by:
- Scheduling the following year’s budget approval date.
- Making a timeline of budget development, homeowner input, budget discussion at board meetings, budget approval, and member notification of the finalized budget.
- Reviewing all financial statements, expenses, reserve funds, historical trends, and other factors.
- Checking for price changes from utilities, insurance, or vendors.
- Addressing shortfalls and potentially increasing income, reducing spending, or both.
Need some ideas on what you should be budgeting for? Check out these 10 Things Your Homeowners Association Should Budget For.
Rules and regulations
You should review the rules and regulations in your HOA community annually. Ask residents for feedback and identify which policies are working and whether additional HOA regulations should be enacted. Aim to publish these new regulations before the end of the year and communicate details about when the rules will go into effect. Implementing feedback, making updates, and informing residents about changes demonstrates your respect for them and your appreciation of their input.
Essential to all HOAs, governing documents lay out the precise framework for how the association operates both in broader terms and in day-to-day operations. These governing documents are important for board members and residents to understand and follow.
To encourage compliance, focus on revising outdated communication requirements, ambiguous or missing information, and vague language. Work with an attorney for guidance on the necessary changes for better and more precise results. Update any new rules and make everything easily accessible to all relevant parties.
The community management industry landscape is constantly evolving. Educate yourself on any changes and updates to your community's laws and ordinances, and consult your association's lawyer for guidance on applying them. Ensuring compliance with new legislation now will save your association from issues down the road and keep your community up to date.
Insurance often ranks among the most substantial expenses for a community. Consequently, it's crucial to schedule regular meetings with your insurance agent to conduct policy reviews, especially at the end of the year. Although your governing documents may set a minimum requirement for your HOA insurance policy, it's wise to explore the option of additional coverage to confirm comprehensive protection for your community.
Audit & tax plans
As tax season follows the end of a fiscal year for nonprofit organizations like HOAs, it’s recommended to get ahead and adequately plan before your official tax filing date. You can do this by:
- Noting the next year’s corporate tax filing dates.
- Scheduling a time in February with your association’s CPA to complete your taxes.
- Completing an annual audit of your HOA’s financial records.
Year-end maintenance and repairs
Maintenance and repairs may demand attention as the year draws to a close. Take this opportunity to search areas of your community that need some love or a little cleanup. Believe it or not, your community’s appearance and functionality can be the driving factor in higher resident satisfaction. Here's a breakdown of key areas you should focus on:
- Walls and foundations
- Exterior paint
- Exterior vents
- Window condition
- Electrical supply boxes
- Roof and gutters
- Pest control
- Wooden decks
- Attic vents and screens
- Roof (leaks)
- Indoor vents
- Interior walls
- A/C units
- Furnace and heating systems
- Water lines
- Phone lines
- Gas lines
- Electrical lines
- Yard and lawns
- Landscaping (debris & weeds)
- Gates and fences
- Security cameras
Emergency action plan
Whether it’s a tornado, earthquake, hurricane, or any other disaster, a thoughtfully developed emergency action plan is vital to helping your community effectively respond to and handle emergencies. Gather a committee to review your current emergency plan and search for ways to enhance it. And don’t set it and forget it—your emergency action plan is a dynamic document that should undergo annual review to make improvements tailored to your community’s needs. Seek input from residents and experts and use their insights to elevate and fortify your response strategies.
You may also want to assess essential details like:
- Response times
- Team effectiveness
- Residents who require special assistance
- Contractor performance
Goals for the following year
As your HOA gears up for the next year, reflect on the achievements and challenges faced throughout the past year. This introspection provides a moment to acknowledge what has worked well and where adjustments are needed.
Also, solicit feedback so your community goals are meaningful and in-tune with residents' desires. Engage with residents and gather their insights on community initiatives and events.
With this feedback, your HOA can move forward to set clear and achievable goals and resolutions for the upcoming year. These goals should be specific, measurable, and aligned with the community's vision.
For example, you can aim to:
- Boost community participation by using technology to stay connected to residents.
- Increase neighborhood safety by providing emergency training for residents.
- Modernize your operations by protecting sensitive information and documents with HOA software.
- Encourage Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R) compliance by addressing infractions directly before imposing consequences.
Keep everyone in the loop with TownSq
By assessing these nine items, your association will be prepared to tackle the year ahead with confidence and ease. Make sure everyone in the community is on the same page and promptly communicate any updates and new information with residents.
With TownSq, the all-in-one HOA management tool, communication between board members, committees, community managers, and residents is seamless. Our communications suite minimizes miscommunication and streamlines processes, fostering a more positive community living experience and a successful year ahead.
Click here to request your complimentary demo of TownSq today!