Having a healthy and strong support system promotes a healthier life. Particularly, people with an excellent support system find ways to improve themselves for the better. A support system can consist of anyone that you trust and respect. While your family is the best support system that you can have at home, many people overlook the value of neighborhoods and communities.
Living in the same neighborhood means having the responsibility of looking out for each other. Communities with unhealthy traits and toxic citizens are the perfect recipe for disaster. Building a healthy and supportive neighborhood should be every community’s goal, as it will benefit all of its members in the long run.
Importance Of Healthy And Vibrant Neighborhoods
Your community has a significant impact on your overall life from childhood to adulthood. Since you’ll be spending a good chunk of time in your neighborhood, it’s paramount to develop and maintain healthy relationships with everyone. Most importantly, vibrant neighborhoods encourage a better quality of life.
But how exactly does a healthy neighborhood affect one’s life? With an organized, healthy, and functional community, members can attain the following advantages:
· Excellent level of safety
· Better access to essential resources, such as healthcare, wellness amenities, and food
· A resilient economy with wide career opportunities
· Clean environment
· Strong social support ideal for raising children
Initiating self-governance and imposing friendly community rules and guidelines to its constituents are great steps in achieving a healthy and organized community. A homeowner association does precisely that.
A Look At Homeowner Associations
A homeowner association (HOA) is an organization established within a group of people living in the same location. Essentially, an HOA encompasses planned communities, subdivisions, and condominium buildings, as explained by this video: https://youtu.be/DPxXKEactAE.
As the name implies, HOAs are composed of and operated only by its residents.
Upon purchasing a residential property within the HOA’s jurisdiction, you’ll automatically become a member of the organization. Therefore, you’ll be subjected to the rules and regulations you should follow as long as you’re an association member. Also, most HOAs collect monthly fees allotted for the community’s maintenance and improvement.
Generally, the structures of HOAs aim to keep a clean and organized system within the neighborhood. You might encounter that most HOAs have a ‘planned development’ program embedded on their ultimate goals.
Monthly HOA fees typically range from USD$100 to USD$700 depending on the amenities, services, and costs of living within your area. These fees go to the association’s planned development for the following purposes:
· Upkeep and maintenance of communal areas, shared establishments, and exteriors
· Civic services and amenities, including sewage maintenance and trash removal
· Pest prevention and control services
· Lawn care and gardening of common areas
· Fees for services and amenities such as fitness centers, swimming pools, event halls, and more
· Reserve funds assigned for unanticipated and irregular expenses
The Challenge With HOAs
A homeowner’s association may be set and ready to go, but every journey doesn’t promise a smooth sailing experience. Despite the organized structure and plans that most HOAs have, one of the biggest challenges lies within its members. As community members have their own lives and jobs, the objective can be difficult when attempting to maintain regular communication and social connections.
To address this issue, HOAs must also prioritize improving community relations. If you have essential roles and responsibilities in your HOA management, here are six ways and tips to boost healthy relationships within your community:
1. Seek Assistance from HOA Management Services
As homeowner associations only involve its members, particular committees and officers are also composed of your fellow homeowners. While it has advantages for the community’s welfare, these board members may not be adequately equipped with the right specialties and skills for the responsibility.
In order to achieve better plans and approaches in management, your association can consider hiring management experts. If your HOA is located around Washington and Oregon, AMS Northwest specializes in dedicated management services for homeowner associations. Whether you have a single-family or multifamily community, these professionals curate specific approaches for effective management.
Meaningful community relations start from attaining proper management. Association members are more likely to cooperate in organizational endeavors if they recognize the presence of experts handling essential operations.
As management companies specialize in this niche, they’re advantageous in improving social connections not only from the inside, but also the outside, which gives the association wider opportunities.
Upon seeking help from management companies, you can achieve the following large-scale advantages:
· Sustain aesthetic community appeal
· Receive assistance for managing financial transactions
· Provide legal expertise to guide crucial board decisions
· Help in widening connections outside
2. Encourage Participation, Accountability, And Responsibility
Every improvement or failure of the HOA is the responsibility of each homeowner. Therefore, each person needs to share the rewards or consequences of the organization’s actions. Ranging from your association’s newcomers to long-standing members, encourage each one to participate to let them feel valued and involved.
By giving everyone a chance to participate, they can contribute in organizing, planning, decision-making, and executing relevant activities for the betterment of the group. During these activities, your members can get to know each other better and spend a great time working together.
Furthermore, practice encouraging your fellow homeowners to be accountable, especially board members who are tasked with certain responsibilities. As you encourage your members to observe accountability and responsibility, they’ll be more open to share their insights and cooperate in finalizing agreements in every agenda.
3. Host Fun Events And Celebrations
No matter how hectic and preoccupied your life is, you should always try to find ways to entertain yourself and break free from work or school-related stress. Since citizens in your neighborhood experience the same issues, plan and organize events that they’ll be interested to participate in. Hosting these events is the best opportunity to make great memories with your neighbors.
However, you shouldn’t plan and organize these events alone. Ideally, invite your board members for a meeting and start brainstorming and formulating your plan. Ensure that the event is friendly for all ages, as everyone should be invited.
Check out these celebration ideas and inspirations that you can try, and don’t be afraid to tweak them into your own:
· HOA founding anniversary celebrations
· Arts and crafts event for children
· BBQ parties and karaoke during weekends
· Talent shows
· Cooking and baking competitions
· Outdoor movie showing
If your neighborhood has excellent amenities for accommodating these events, you can easily set them up in places including the event hall, garden, indoor court, and more. Since your participants have varying free time, it would be better to schedule these celebrations on weekends when more people can attend.
4. Stay Connected Digitally
As technology continues to advance today, people should keep up and maintain relationships not only face-to-face, but also through digital means. After all, online platforms fill the gap between lack of physical connections, whether it be issues with distance or time. Utilizing online connections for your homeowner association is a great way of keeping in touch despite the unavailability of seeing each other physically.
During this pandemic, communicating online with your fellow homeowners allows you to maintain connection and understanding. In particular, you can use online communication platforms to update one another about the COVID-19 situation within your community. For instance, post updates and announcements if there are any cases within your neighborhood.
Aside from gathering the members in a platform, you can build a website dedicated to your HOA, which is extremely advantageous for HOAs with extensive members. In this website, you can compile everything that members should know and keep updated of, as well as brief guides for those interested to move in.
Another digital way is through sending out scheduled newsletters to your constituents. In this well-crafted newsletter, you can inform your members of the latest news, projects, events and celebrations, payment schedules, maintenance schedules, meetings, and more.
5. Schedule Team-Building Homeowner Activities
In the workplace setting, employees must keep good relationships with one another to work seamlessly together and boost their motivation and productivity. The same goes for your community, but a notable difference is that your bond with one another tends to be weaker. Each homeowner has their own life with their family, friends, work, and school.
Performing team-building activities, like what most workplaces do, can benefit your neighborhood, but make sure that these activities are tailored for your community. Also, take note that these team-building activities are different from events and celebrations. While celebrations focus on a single individual’s well-being, team-building events establish unity and cooperation within the neighborhood.
Some homeowners, especially newcomers, prefer to follow community policies to keep the HOA off their back. However, this is a great opportunity to build unity as an organization. Instead of letting homeowners improve and renovate their homes on their own, you can schedule home-related activities that you can do together.
For example, gardening activities can be performed on Saturday mornings. Homeowners can maintain, reorganize, and decorate their gardens together, while also taking care of plants around common areas.
6. Educate Newcomers Before Moving In
HOAs are indeed a growing family. How association members welcome their new homeowners greatly reflect how much they value homeowners and their organization in general. As an association, you should take part in ensuring a good quality of life for newcomers. Therefore, welcome new homeowners warmly, and educate them about the organization and life within the community.
Some newcomers might have no experience with HOAs, while some have recently left one. Whichever the case, you should allow them to visualize their life inside the neighborhood.
Homeowner associations have its perks and drawbacks. However, leaders and members can outweigh its disadvantages if they know how to manage the community efficiently and enhance social relationships with one another through these tips discussed.