Author: Benjamin Lee
Homeowner Associations or HOAs have unfortunately often been stereotyped as controlling, power-hungry organizations that bring about no discernible benefit. With the many horror stories floating around about HOAs, it’s no surprise that such associations have a bad rep.
However, we believe that a well-organized committee with the right intentions can turn any community into a family. Just like an organized board, aligned with a great coach, can make a football team be part of America’s line NFL. All pieces must be aligned in order to turn a neighborhood into a community that works for the benefit of each other.
From organizing activities to helping new neighbors break the ice, a decent HOA will be able to work wonders in any community.
While keeping up appearances are all well and good, getting along with your neighbors is also equally important. After all, you wouldn’t want to end up featured on an episode of Fear Thy Neighbor would you?
To help you get started on the right track, we’ve prepared a handy guide that lists down the ways in which a HOA can bring the community together.
- Maintain designated common areas
Neighborhood common areas should be the heart of the community. From parks where children can play to clubhouses for get-togethers, the HOA should take an active role in ensuring the upkeep of designated common areas.
These common areas help bring residents together and encourages them to mingle and interact with one another. From here, friendships can be formed which is the basis of any healthy community.
Ensuring that common areas are essential in order to discourage the broken window effect; a phenomenon where apparent signs of anti-social and criminal behavior encourages further crime and disorder.
Also, keeping the common areas of a neighborhood or apartment in good shape are great for improving property values.
- Encourage open discussions
In some cases, HOAs have been described as high-school cliques for adults. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. This is because, HOAs are responsible for ensuring that the best interests of all residents are kept in mind.
Rather than keeping meetings in-house and behind closed doors, your HOA should encourage all residents to participate. For maximum participation, residents should be provided with an easy-to-use channel to provide their feedback. By doing so, this passes on a clear message that the voice of each and every single homeowner is valued by the committee.
This can range from online survey sites to a simple suggestion box. Prior to the actual meeting, ensure that all the required details are communicated to all residents.
- Organize fun events
Sadly, most suburbanites have little-to-no contact with their neighbors. Some may be too busy with work, whereas others are simply shy. Instead of encouraging this sense of isolation, the HOA should organize events that will bring all neighbors together.
These can range from a simple barbeque and get-together to more elaborate affairs such as Christmas carnivals. Simply giving folks a reason to come together and enjoy live is one of the easiest ways to get neighbors to bond with one another.
Alongside this, bad neighbors can have a negative effect on your property valuations. In contrast, living in a family-like community with great neighbors is a huge selling point.
- Have a welcome wagon
Moving into a new home can be a daunting prospect for anyone. The stress of moving to a new house is further exacerbated by the unfamiliarity of your new surroundings. However, being greeted by a few friendly faces when you move in can make all the difference.
HOAs can help new neighbors feel welcomed by sending over a welcoming committee. This can be an informal affair, consisting of a few volunteers who will introduce themselves and provide a helping hand if needed.
Such a simple gesture will go a long way to create goodwill amongst neighbors. Also, this helps to accustom the new arrival to his/her new community. On the long-term, they may even be inclined to join the HOA.
- Start a newsletter
Publishing a newsletter allows residents to catch up with events happening in the neighborhood. It allows for information to be communicated clearly and can even allow residents to provide their own feedback. The newsletter can be sent via email or distributed from house to house and helps foster a sense of community.
From holding events to ensuring the maintenance of facilities and common areas, HOAs are a crucial part of any community.